William H. McElfatrick

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William H. McElfatrick


Person Item Type Metadata

Birth Date



Fort Wayne, Indiana

Death Date

29 September 1922



Biographical Text

Son of the theater architect John Bailey McElfatrick. He learned architecture from his father. He moved to Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and joined the William W. Boyington company. By 1880 he moved to New York and was working with his father in J. B. McElfatrick & Son. His brother John M. McElfatrick (1853-1891) also joined the family firm.

McElfatrick remained in New York after his father died in 1906, and continued to specialize in theaters. He moved the office to Brooklyn. The McElfatrick firm designed many theaters, and introduced innovations that included better floor layouts and sight lines, multiple exits and fire sprinkler systems.

McElfatrick became known as the "father of the American theater architecture."

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