Jump to Navigation

Seymour Davis

Architect. Born: February 4, 1863, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Died: September 4, 1923, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Son of Paul A. and Henrietta (Duy) Davis, Seymour Davis was born Februrary 4, 1863, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A letter from Frank Miles Day to Cass Gilbert written on July 3, 1896, provided some insight into Davis' expertise in architecture. Day described Davis’ training as beginning in the business of carpentry with some training in drawing from a school in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in 1880. 

Subsequently, Davis moved west as a draftsman for the office of an architect in Topeka, and later began practicing architecture independently in Topeka with commissions such as the Frost House, Crawford Building, and Curtis House.  Between 1886 and 1888 he designed a home for Erasmus Bennett, a breeder and importer of registered draft horses. The two-story red brick structure trimmed was trimmed in terra cotta and had a hint of Tudor style, with tall towers and turrets. The Bennett family lived in the home until 1901 when the state of Kansas purchased the residence for $26,000 to be used as the governor's mansion.

In 1893 Davis became the state architect of Kansas and retained the title through 1895. He supervised extensions to the state capitol, designed several buildings at the Kansas Normal School in Emporia, and designed several structures at other state institutions.  Finally, in 1895 or 1896 Davis returned to Philadelphia to practice architecture with his younger brother Paul. Seymour Davis died September 4, 1923, in Philadelphia and was  buried in Emporia, Kansas.

Seymour Davis designed buildings listed in the National Register.

Entry: Davis, Seymour

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: December 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.