Cummings, Harry L. Jr.
Kirkland architect Harry Lee Cummings Jr. was born on July 10, 1924 in Conway, Arkansas, but grew up in Iowa. His formal architectural education began in 1942 but was quickly cut short due to WWII. After serving in the US Air Force (1943-1945) he returned to school in 1946 and graduated with a BA in Architecture from Iowa State College in 1949. Immediately thereafter he continued his education, receiving a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1950. Cummings holds the distinction of being one of the only architects in Washington State to hold a degree from this prestigious school.
Upon graduation, he gained valuable practical experience by working with Michigan architect Alden B. Dow (1950-1954). For reasons unknown, Cummings moved to Seattle and took a job as a draftsman/designer with Paul Thiry (1954-1955).
After gaining his architectural license in Washington State in 1955, he established his own independent practice in Kirkland in 1956. Within a year, Eugene G. Martenson, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, joined him as a partner and the firm was renamed Cummings & Martenson. Together, the two made a significant impact on the built environment on the Eastside (of Lake Washington) over the next 10+ years (1957-70)
Notable projects included the Les Connolly House (1958) in Kirkland; the Rosehill Fire Station No. 3 in Kirkland (with Landscape architect Richard Haag) (1961); Lakeshore Appliance Co. in Bellevue (1960); Redmond State Bank; Eastside YMCA & Teen center in Bellevue; Administration Building for King County Water District No. 81; several buildings for Kodiak Naval Air Station & Ault Field on Whidbey Island; and the King Co. Forward Thrust Swimming Pool in Enumclaw (1973).
The firm also designed several religious structures including Inglewood Presbyterian Church (1959) in Bothell; Kirkland Congregational Church; First Church of Christ Scientist in Kirkland; and an administration building & educational wing for St. Johnís Episcopal Church in Kirkland.
The firm gained notoriety by designing several medical and dental clinics in the Kirkland area including Lakeshore Medical Clinic in Kirkland (1962), which received a National AIA Award of Merit; and the Anderson Medical Clinic in Bothell.
They also completed several notable projects for the Lake Washington School District #414 in Kirkland including Mark Twain Elementary School; Horace Mann Elementary School (1967) in Redmond; Benjamin Franklin Elementary School (1966), additions to Lockwood Elementary School; the district transportation terminal; and Carl Sandburg Elementary School (1969). Outside of the Kirkland area they designed Lincoln Elementary School in Hoquiam.
During the mid-to-late 1970s, Cummings was a frequent lecturer at the University of Washington Department of Architecture. He was also very active in the Kirkland Rotary Club and served as President of the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce (1962-1963). Other volunteer work included serving as an elder in the Presbyterian Church; Scoutmaster and/or Committeeman for the Boy Scouts of America (1951-1965); and was a member of the Washington Environmental Council and King County Environmental Development Commission.
After Martensen departed, the firm was renamed Cummings & Associates (ca. 1972). The initial associated partners included William Ostheimer and Carl Easters. Today Cummings is semi-retired, and still resides in Kirkland while maintaining a limited practice.
-Michael C. Houser