Harry Satterlee Bill


Harry Satterlee Bill

By Linda Keown

1876 – 1946

Harry Satterlee Bill was born 22 May 1876 to Hibbard Dennison Bill and Charlotte Elizabeth Marshall Bill in Easthampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts.  Hibbard Bill was born in Connecticut and Charlotte Elizabeth was born in England. (US census report 1880, 1900 and MO Death Certificate #29518). Harry died in Columbia, Boone County, Missouri on 22 September 1946 from coronary thrombosis at his home on Bingham Road.  Harry’s body was cremated and he was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. There is a marker on his gravesite.

In early records (US census reports 1880, 1900 and a passport application from 31 May 1901) he gives his name as Harrie Satterlee De Bill.  His signature on the passport application confirms his usage of this name. His destination was France where he studied in Paris. His occupation in the 1900 census is ‘architect’ and his father is listed as a jewelry salesman.  In 1901, a Lynn, Massachusetts Business Directory states that Harry had ‘removed to Paris, France.’ Harry apparently chose to normalize his name to Harry Satterlee Bill prior to his marriage to Florence Dorothy Harrison, a wealthy St. Louis heiress, in June of 1910.  Florence was the daughter of John William Harrison, a native of Glasgow, Howard CO, Missouri who had made a fortune in the iron industry in St. Louis. Florence was the youngest child of John’s first marriage to Laura Harrison. (St. Louis, History of the Fourth City, volume III, pg. 250-252). The wedding of Florence and Harry took place at the family mansion on 7 June 1910 in St. Louis, 28 Kingsbury Place, with 400 invited guests and was officiated by an Episcopal priest.  (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7 June 1910)  Harry and Florence had no children.  Florence died at her home in Columbia on 3 July 1958 and is buried with Harry in St. Louis.

After their wedding, Harry and Florence took a honeymoon back east and eventually resided in Kansas City at 4 West 37th Street. (Kansas City Municipal Directory).  

According to the University of Missouri Bulletin volume 20, #7 and volume 36, #7, Harry was first hired as an instructor in Theory and Practice of Art in 1918.  He was appointed to Associate Professor of Art in 1931. While at the University, he was a faculty sponsor of the Acacia Fraternity (1920) and vice-president of the Comedy Club in 1919 serving under the club president Jesse Wrench.  In addition to fulfilling his academic duties at the University, Harry also co-founded the Missouri Association of Architects and established the architectural firm of Bill and Wallace. He was among the earliest architects licensed in Missouri and worked throughout his Missouri years to standardize architectural licensing procedures. He organized a mid-Missouri chapter of the American Institute of Architects as well. (Preservation Issues, Volume 3, #4, July-August 1993, includes article Missouri Architects and Builders, author Karen Grace.)

The first recorded address for Harry and Florence Bill was 701 Maryland Avenue where they entertained frequently (articles from the Columbia Missourian archives 1920 and the US census of 1920).  The Missouri death certificate states that Harry lived in Columbia for 28 years which would indicate that he moved from Kansas City to Columbia in 1918 as verified by the University Bulletin volume 36, #7.  By the 1930 US census, Harry and Florence were residing on Bingham Road in the Grasslands neighborhood of Columbia.  There are numerous houses designed by Harry still in the Grasslands on Bingham and Wayne Roads. Harry and Florence made a trip to Europe in 1930 to France.

While working as an architect in Columbia, Harry designed several homes and downtown buildings.  Among those buildings in central Columbia are the Central Dairy Building and the Municipal Building, both on Broadway.  He also worked on renovations to the Elks Club House in 1921 and a parish house for the Calvary Episcopal Church in 1920.  Several articles from the Columbia Missourian in the 1920s discuss his building theories and concerns for proper building materials.  One of the more interesting architectural endeavors of Mr. Bill was his construction of the Warwick Village in Jefferson City complete with Tudor designs imitating European small towns, a fad that was made popular by the 1934 World’s Fair in Chicago.  In addition to Jefferson City, Harry Bill designed buildings in Mexico and Boonville, Missouri. (. (Preservation Issues, Volume 3, #4, July-August 1993, includes article Missouri Architects and Builders, author Karen Grace.). Harry returned to work on Warwick Village post-World War II in 1945.  He suffered a heart attack and never recovered.