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MYERS, ELIJAH E.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

MYERS, ELIJAH E. (1832–1909). Elijah E. Myers, architect, was born on December 22, 1832, in Philadelphia. He studied for the bar but left school to become a carpenter and joiner; he may have studied architecture at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Myers was also said to have been employed by the construction department for the United States Army during the Civil War. In 1871 he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he established a successful practice.

In 1881, under the pseudonym Tuebor, he won the competition for the best design for the new state Capitol to be built in Austin, Texas. He was hired as the project's architect for $12,000. Myers made several major revisions of his original plans, including a change from a square dome to a round one. However, his slow follow-up and his feigned and psychosomatic illnesses made him very difficult to deal with. The Capitol Board, which was overseeing the project, fired him in 1886, two years before the Capitol was completed. Gustav Wilke completed the project using Myers's plans. Extensive renovations of the Texas Capitol were undertaken in the late 1980s, with much attention given to Myers's plans.

In addition to the Texas Capitol, Myers designed capitol buildings for Michigan in the 1870s and for Colorado in the 1890s. Both of these buildings underwent considerable renovation in the 1980s. Myers also designed the Idaho territorial capitol (now demolished) and a Utah capitol building that was never built. His other works included the parliament buildings in Rio de Janeiro, the asylum building in Mexico City, and numerous courthouses, hospitals, churches, and city halls throughout the United States. In 1890 Myers was commissioned by the United States government to inspect the buildings at the Chicago World's Fair. He died at his home in Detroit on March 5, 1909, and was survived by his wife and four children.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Austin American-Statesman, July 2, November 17, 1989. Paul Goeldner, "The Designing Architect: Elijah E. Myers," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 92 (October 1988). Vertical Files, Austin History Center.

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, "MYERS, ELIJAH E.," accessed October 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmy02.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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