While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Christopher Long

SMITH, HARVEY PARTRIDGE (1889–1964). Harvey Partridge Smith, architect and preservationist, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 2, 1889, the son of Harvey Jay and Carrie (Barnum) Smith. He received his education at the Evanston Academy, Northwestern University, the University of Arizona, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1906–07 he was employed as a draftsman by the Minneapolis firm of Kees and Coburn, one of the city's most progressive architectural offices, and in 1912–13 he worked for Oakland, California, architect John J. Donovan. Smith moved to San Antonio in 1915 and was hired by Atlee B. Ayres. He worked for Ayres until 1916, when he moved to the office of Ralph H. Cameron. In 1919 he formed a partnership with Robert B. Kelly, under the name Smith and Kelly, which lasted until 1924, when Smith opened his own office. Among his best-known works are the residence for the Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton (since demolished), the Joske Boy Scout Training Center (1926), and the Sunken Garden Theater in Brackenridge Park (1937), which he designed in association with George R. Willis and Charles Boelhauwe. Smith, however, is best remembered for his work in the area of historic preservation. In 1928 he was selected as restoration architect for the Spanish Governor's Palace in San Antonio. His long experience with the history of early Spanish missions in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas enabled him to repair the damage done to the building over the centuries. He also aided in locating colonial period furnishings for the interior.

Smith's work on the Governor's Palace led to his selection in 1933 to oversee the restoration project on San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission in San Antonio. Using historic plans and clues provided by archeological excavations done in the 1930s, he reconstructed the collapsed bell tower of the mission and the nave roof and masonry dome of the church. He also reconstructed much of the mission's larger compound, including the friars' cells, the Indian quarters, and the granary. In addition to his work on San José, Smith was involved in the restoration of San Francisco de la Espada Mission and in preparing drawings of other surviving colonial structures in San Antonio. Smith was the author of Romantic San Antonio (1918) and contributed articles to numerous professional journals, including California Arts and Architecture, The Monograph, Arts and Archeology, and American Architecture. He married Mary Stone on April 5, 1916. The couple had one son, Harvey Partridge Smith, Jr., who joined his father's practice in 1946. Smith was a Presbyterian and a Kiwanian. He died in San Antonio on January 19, 1964, and was buried in Mission Burial Park there.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Esse Forrester-O'Brien, Art and Artists of Texas (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). San Antonio Express, January 20, 1964. Harvey P. Smith Collection, Architecture and Planning Library, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Vol. 2.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Christopher Long, "SMITH, HARVEY PARTRIDGE," accessed May 26, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsm69.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...