1907 in Lake Charles, Louisiana|
December 12, 2003 in Lake Charles, Louisiana|
||December 15, 2003 in Goos
Cemetery, Lake Charles, Louisiana (Map
||January 16, 1941
in The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Lake
Marks, Sonny, Lake Charles
American Press, April 26, 1998, p. B1:
The place you sit
may be one of theirs
12-year-old boy who lives on Clarence Street. He builds rabbit
huts. Five feet long, 3 feet deep, 3 feet high, with
He builds two or three of
them. Then his parents make him quit because he doesn't want
to feed the rabbits. All he wants to do is build the
The boy is now 90. When he drives
around town, he sees bigger huts that he built. City hall.
LaGrange High School. First National Bank building downtown.
St. Margaret Church.
The man is
architect Lewis Dunn. His partner was engineer Gus Quinn. For
more than 60 years, they did nearly 2,000 jobs on some of the
most well-known buildings in Southwest
They called themselves
country architects. There was the time roughly 55 years ago
that some New York City architects came to Sulphur to build
the Maplewood community. They met Dunn and Quinn in their
office on Hodges Street.
two gentlemen, strictly New Yorkers, well-groomed characters,
came into the office. We had these nice little French windows
opening out into the side yard," Dunn
"I know that they had done a
50-story building in New York. All of a sudden, the old cow in
the back yard slipped the rope and she stuck her head in the
window. I thought those guys were going to have a
Dunn and Quinn laughed about that
one for years. But when it came time to tell a client how much
a job would cost and then keep it at or under that figure,
they stopped laughing.
their firm during the Great Depression. They valued simple,
functional designs at simple, functional
The built Lake Charles High
School (now Lake Charles-Boston). They built DeRidder Junior
High and the Sulphur High gym. The built Pearl Watson
Elementary, Immaculate Conception Cathedral School and the
McNeese School of Business. They built Henning Memorial United
Methodist Church in Sulphur, First United Methodist in
Jennings and St. Luke-Simpson United Methodist in Lake
And it all began with a
friendship that started when they were Boy Scouts. As adults,
Quinn kept the business organized with his knack for
"Gus could handle that stuff.
It would have driven me crazy," Dunn laughs. "I could go out
and check these jobs and see what needed to be done on
They never retired. Dunn had a
heart attack in 1981, slowed down but never quit. Quinn
celebrated his 90th birthday, then built the First Federal
Savings & Loan building in Moss Bluff two years
Quinn went to his office on Ryan
Street up until a few days before he died at age 92 four
"When Gus died, I could
hardly talk about it," Dunn says in an audible whisper. "It
just, it just... he was a good man."
Dunn still sketches some plans and advises friends on a few
jobs. In his spare time, he talks about building materials and
what they once cost.
The first school he
and Quinn built was English Bayou, where Molo Middle is now.
They built it before World War II, when materials were $3.87 a
"If you start building that
today, it would cost you $65 a square foot," Dunn mutters.
"The price changes. It's ridiculous. The price
Ross, Nola Mae,
Lagniappe, January 19, 2000, pp 30-31:
A Conversation With
Lake Charles Architect Lewis Dunn
At 92, He's
Standing The Test Of Time... Just Like Many Of His Lake Area
He helped shape the
historical face of our city .. and at age 92, he's not "Dunn"
source of wisdom, knowledge and experience, Lake Charles
architect Lewis Dunn has been a light in the life of his many
friends and associates. In 1931, during the height of the
Great Depression, Dunn earned his bachelor of architecture
degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He came back
to Lake Charles to work.
"There was no
work," he reflects. "As far as we could tell, there was only
one house built that year.
"So I took a
trip to Europe via a 'work-a-way' job on a freighter. I was
hired by Lykes Brothers and paid $1.50 per month, plus my food
and bunk, while I worked in the engine room. After three
weeks, we finally reached Germany."
While there, Dunn notes, he was able to view some famous
architecture, especially two outstanding Lutheran cathedrals.
"Then we worked our way to England, where I saw Westminster
Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral.
got home, Lake Charles was still suffering from the
Depression, and I experienced it firsthand. Each day, the Lake
Charles Police Department would send someone to meet trains
loaded with homeless hobos. I was usually that someone, and I
would direct the boxcar travelers to an abandoned brickyard
where they could bed down and keep warm in empty
"I also witnessed read compassion
at work there. My aunt, Mable King Kelly, belonged to a
women's civilian relief organization that fed these men each
day and saw that emergencies were taken care of. Later, the
town furnished a brick building near the courthouse, filled
with bunks of hay, where the men could
"It was certainly not a
prosperous time to start out as an architect. But Gus Quinn
Sr. and I defied the odds by forming an architect and
engineering partnership which lasted 60 years. At first it was
called Dunn and Quinn, until Pat Gallaugher and Gus Quinn Jr.
later joined us.
"We designed nearly
2,000 structures in South Louisiana, and almost 1,000 of them
were schools. The old English Bayou School, in 1938, was our
fist school," Dunn continues. "We actually found three or four
people considering building that first year, and soon, we
designed the renovation of the old Rigmaiden Hotel on Ryan
Street, plus some theaters. Eventually, in 1947, we did (Lake
Charles) City Hall, with the Magnolia Building in 1968, plus
First Federal, Bank One, Chateau DuLac, and many high rise
buildings downtown. We also designed the electrical
engineering building at Louisiana State University and many
houses across Louisiana."
A tall, quiet
and gentle man, Dunn in unassuming and humble, secure in
knowing that he has made his mark in life. He is one of the
luck people who has excelled in a career that God gave him the
talent for. Within the past several years, he lost his
partner, Gus Quinn Sr., who was well into his 90s. Gus Quinn
Jr. also died two years ago, but the remaining two partners,
Dunn and Pat Gallaugher, remain very close
After a heart attack 10 years
ago, Dunn began going to a cardiac rehab facility three times
a week. Today, even though he has passed his 1,000th session,
he still goes there.
Dunn has also had
other health problems, including the loss of one eye in an
unexpected accident during a retina operation. But this has
not dampened his spirit or his enthusiasm for
"I take one day at a time," he
And, despite the loss of his one
eye, Dunn is still able to sketch house and school plans, as
he has for a new book I'm writing about the Dunn, Quinn,
Gallaugher and Quinn architectural firm. The book, called A
Louisiana Blueprint, is due out in
While working on A Louisiana
Blueprint, I've had more fun with Lewis Dunn than I had
while writing any of my other 13 books. I've spent many
enjoyable hours trying to absorb some of his wisdom, and
listening to his humorous use of "un-architectural" terms like
"Alpine schools," "finger schools" or "Grand Dukes mixtures"
has shown me his true humility and humor. Just being around
Lewis Dunn has inspired a real change in my outlook on
Lake Charles American Press, Sunday, December 14, 2003, p. A2:
G. Lewis Dunn
G. Lewis Dunn, 95, architect and founding partner of Dunn, Quinn, Gallaugher and Quinn, Architects and Engineers, died Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, in a local hospital.
A lifelong resident of Lake Charles, he was born on Dec. 21, 1907, the son of William Payne Dunn, originally from Harrodsburg, Ken., and Edna King Dunn, originally from Augusta, Maine.
A graduate of Lake Charles High School, Dunn attended Southwest
Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana
Lafayette) and received his bachelor's of architecture degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1931.
He was an active architect in Southwest Louisiana for 60 years, and his firm designed nearly 2000 structures before it closed in the mid-1990s. Some of these buildings included the Pioneer Building (now City Hall), the Magnolia, Bank One and First Federal buildings on Lakeshore Drive and LaGrange and Sulphur high schools, the main science building and dormitories at McNeese State University, the electrical engineering building at LSU, and many other school, commercial and residential structures in Calcasieu, Jeff Davis,
Beauregard, Allen and other south Louisiana parishes.
Dunn was past president of both the Central and Southwest chapters of the Louisiana Architects Association, and was honored by the association for his contributions to architecture in the state. He was past vice president and member of the executive board of the Calcasieu Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and a holder of the Silver Beaver award for his many years of service to the Boy Scouts. He was a leader and supporter of the Lake Charles Charity Horse Show, worked with the youth group, the Lake Charles Equestrian Association, and was a member of the Dixie Jubilee Horse Show Inc. of Baton Rouge. His family has shown horses for many years throughout the South, and he loved his horses and every aspect of the sport. He was an active and devoted member of Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish and a member of the American Institute of Architects and of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
He was a staunch believer in the future of Louisiana, particularly of Lake Charles. He spoke passionately about Southwest Louisiana, its resources and its people to all who would listen. He was a dedicated football fan, and a person had to be serious about football to watch a game with him.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Katherine Gallaugher Dunn, and is survived by three daughters, E. Anne Dunn of Baton Rouge, Barbara Mooney of New Orleans and Patsy Moore of Lake Charles; sons-in-law Rex O. Mooney and Charles L. Moore; and three grandchildren, Dunn Moore, Griffin Moore and Katherine Mooney.
His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15, from Immaculate Conception Cathedral. The Rev. Aubrey Guilbeau will officiate. Burial will be in Goos Cemetery under the direction of Hixson Funeral Home of Lake Charles. Visitation is 4-8 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. Monday in the funeral home. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be sent to Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Lake Charles, or Carnegie Mellon University, Memorial Giving, Alumni House, 2nd Floor, 5017 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.mem.com.