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Bruce Alonzo Goff

Born: June 8, 1904, Alton, Osborne County, Kansas. Died: August 4, 1982, Tyler, Texas.

Bruce Alonzo Goff was born June 8, 1904, in Alton, Kansas, to Corliss Arthur and Maude Furbeck Goff. The oldest of two children in his family, he was identified as a child prodigy. At the age of 12 he served an apprenticeship with the Tulsa, Oklahoma, architectural firm of Rush, Endacott, and Rush. He became a partner in the firm in 1930.

Largely self-taught, Goff was inspired by the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. He found later inspiration from architect Anton Gaudi, music of Bali, and the impressionist music of Claude Debussy. He chose recycled or unconventional materials for his work—cellophane, cake pans, gilded zebrawood and became known for his Imaginative Design. In 1942 Goff became the chair of the architecture department at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. In his private practice Goff applied his unique organic architecture to many houses in the Midwest.

Goff’s works include the Bavinger House in Norman, Oklahoma; the Ruth VanSickle Ford House in Aurora, Illinois; and the Boston Avenue Methodist Church, built in Tulsa in 1926, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. Many of Goff’s original designs are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Several of Goff’s buildings have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A few of his buildings are in Kansas: Hyde House, Prairie Village, 1965; Searing House, Prairie Village, 1965, Jacquart House, Sublette, 1966; and Mitchell House, Dodge City, 1968

Entry: Goff, Bruce Alonzo

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: June 2014

Date Modified: July 2014

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