Connor, Thomas J.
Thomas James Connor was born in Pittsburgh, PA on November 30, 1924. He received his formal architectural training at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Upon graduation from the private engineering school, he taught for a short time at the Western Pennsylvania Institute of Technology before joining the international consulting-engineering firm of Michael Baker Jr. Inc.
After studying the feasibility of opening an architectural practice in the Pacific Northwest, Connor moved his family to Seattle in 1954. Seeing a need and niche market, he opened an architectural model building business, which quickly gained favor with a number of high profile clients. Notable projects include building an 80’ long model of the freeway system in Seattle for the State Highway Department; a model of the General Engineering Building at the University of Washington; a scale model of the City of Al Kkarj for the King of Saudi Arabia; and a scale model of Jordan-Israel Valley for the Point Four Program to study the feasibility of irrigation.
By the early 1960s, Connor had transitioned his business into a full-blown architectural firm. He specialized in builder duplexes and small apartment houses, many associated with builder R.W. Wines and developers K.L. Strandberg and E.T. Hinrichs. Known Seattle projects include the Pali Apartments (1962); Yalecrest Apartments (1962); Casa Nova Apartments (1962); 11429 & 11425 Military Rd. S. Apartments (1962); The Columbian Apartments (1963); Caravelle/Caravilla Apartments (1963); 2832 14th Ave. W Apartments (1963); Hillside House Apartment (1964); Duplex at 1515 15th Ave S. (1964); 2224 Franklin Ave E. (1964); 707 E Roy Apartments (1964); the Summit Apartments (1964); Harvard House Apartments (1964); Corliss Court (1964); Delta Vista Apartments (1964); the Carriage House/Seventeen 07 Apartments (1965); the Cirque Apartments (1965); 4400 Linden Ave N Apartments (1965); the Iliad Apartments (1965); the Beverly/Bella Vista Apartments (1967); and an apartment at 44401 8th Ave SW (1967) in Burien.
With business booming by the mid-1960s, Connor designed a new office for himself at 113 First Ave in the New Formalism style (1965).
By the late 1970s Connor had moved his firm to Lynwood. While he continued with apartment development he proposed constructing a 17 story, 110 unit high-rise condominium tower to be built at the NE corner of Boylston and Denny Way (1981, unbuilt). The project was the first such vision for the redevelopment of south Capitol Hill in Seattle.
In 1982 Connor moved to Anchorage, Alaska to take a job as the director of Alaska State Housing Authority. While in that position he oversaw the construction of senior housing facilities in Fairbanks, Sitka, Wasilla and Juneau.
Connor passed away in Anchorage in September of 1985.
-Michael C. Houser