firm active: 1907-1921

minneapolis, minnesota :: chicago, illinois
philadelphia, pennsylvania :: portland, oregon

Navigation :: Home :: Commission List :: Parabiographies
Palmer-Cantini residence, project
Purcell and Elmslie
Location unknown  1914

Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1910
Text by William Gray Purcell
for 1914

Job Date (in Parabiography): May 14, 1914


This is a project where we failed to serve a most deserving and appreciative client.  I am really ashamed of myself.  However, they suffered no loss except time and disappointment through our efforts, as I gave them a receipt in full for our fee, against which they had made no payments.

We became so much interested in the mechanical and architectural solution of this small house, essentially a study in housing for persons of very limited income that we entirely missed the basic economic problem.  While we produced an exceedingly interesting, compact, and efficient little dwelling of novel arrangement and design, the detail of construction and finish ran into so much expense that the cost of producing it was simply miles outside of anything that the client could finance.

We fell into the hole which we always tried so hard to avoid and actually produced a paper project which could not have any reality in that world which the client had to face.  It deserved not to be built.  One of the contractors who bid on it, Mr. _______, a chubby boy of a builder, took up the matter where we left off and produced for them a conventional little square frame house with front porch, which he was able to produce for a sum they could afford to spend and which he could easily have financed at a St. Paul bank.  There they have lived ever since lacking only the doubtful thrill of a highly aesthetic home.

   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d1.8]
research courtesy mark hammons