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Biography of Edmund B. Funston
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Wisconsin | No Comments
Edmund B. Funston, organizer and president of Edmund B. Funston Company Architects of Racine, has been identified in large and important measure with the improvement of the city along building lines, for on all sides are seen monuments to his handiwork. He was born in Champaign County, Illinois, May 19, 1868, a son of John H. and Elizabeth E. (Bailey) Funston, both of whom were natives of Ohio, whence they removed to Illinois in early life. The father there followed the occupation of farming and both he and his wife have now passed away.
Edmund B. Funston supplemented his district school education by a year’s study in the high school at Mahomet, Illinois, and five years in the University of Illinois, in which he pursued a course in architecture and was graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree with the class of 1892. Afterwards he taught in a manual training school in Colorado for two years and later was engaged in architectural work in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Atlanta, Georgia, for one year. Subsequently he was employed as superintendent of construction by Jos. C. Llewellyn, architect, of Chicago, with whom he continued for five years, having charge of much work done over Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, including the erection of five buildings of the University of Illinois. He also superintended the rebuilding of the Plant for the Advance Threshing Machine Company of Battle Creek, Michigan, and various other large undertakings.
In 1903 Mr. Funston came to Racine and was associated with A. Arthur Guilbert as a partner from 1905 until 1915. The firm of Guilbert & Funston, Architects, erected many fine buildings, among which were the Welsh Presbyterian church, the First Methodist church, the Grange Avenue Methodist church, the office building for the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company, the First National Bank building, the Commercial & Savings Bank building, the N. D. Fratt school, the Elks club house, the Racine Country Club and Fire engine houses Nos. 1 and 2. They also erected many other public buildings and fine residences. In 1915 they dissolved partnership and Mr. Funston organized the firm of Edmund B. Funston Company, architects, of Racine, since which time he has carried on business in this connection. In 1915-16 he erected the Badger office building, a four-story structure. He also erected the manufacturing plant of the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Company, has remodeled the Masonic temple and has put up various other important buildings, including the office building of David B. James S. Company. He is also accorded many important contracts outside of the city and he keeps a number of assistants. His business is well managed, all his commissions are most carefully executed and he ranks today as one of the prominent architects of southern Wisconsin, his broad study and practical experience gaining him comprehensive knowledge all the scientific phases of the business as well as of the actual work of designing and construction_ With his brother Jesse G. Funs-ton, he organized the Funston Long Distance Telephone Company and constructed a telephone toll line from St. Joseph, Missouri, extending east throughout the state. Later they acquired the control of the Missouri River Telephone Company and the Dakota Telephone & Electric Company, both owning and operating telephone systems in South Dakota, and Mr. Funston became president of all these concerns, so continuing for a number of years during the period of his residence in Racine. He thus gave proof of his capability to direct and control extensive and important interests. His business plans are always carefully thought out and promptly executed and he has the energy and determination which enables him to carry them forward to successful completion.
On the 23d of August, 1905, Mr. Funston was married to Miss Ella M. Kephart., of Ravenswood, a suburb of Chicago, and they have one child, Jeanette, born November 27, 1915. The parents are members of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Funston votes independently yet is never neglectful of the duties of citizenship, bending the weight of his moral influence for the advancement of many plans and measures for the general good. His worth is widely acknowledged by many friends and his professional ability by his colleagues and contemporaries.
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