Hurst John

1911 – 1979

Hurst John was born in Broadway, Missouri, on August 31, 1911, the youngest of the six children of Edward Lee and Ollie (Travis) John. He began his education in the Star Rural School, a log cabin near his home in Maries County. While he was still in elementary school he moved with his family to Columbia, Missouri. Although he began high school in Columbia, he graduated in 1929 from St. James High School in Phelps County. He later attended the University of Missouri from 1930 to 1932.

In 1932 he took a job as a maintenance man at Stephens College where he was in daily contact with landscape and construction work. His work at Stephens helped clarify his early ambitions to become a landscape architect. Later, from 1937 to 1940, John worked as a draftsman and apprentice for University of Missouri architecture professor, Harry Satterlee Bill. From 1941 to 1943 he worked as resident architect on the expansion program at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He joined the United States Army in 1943 and for the next three years served at Camp Adair, Oregon, and at Fort Leonard Wood. On April 30, 1946, after receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to Columbia where he opened the architectural firm of Hurst John and Associates. In 1947 John registered as an architect in the state of Missouri. After World War II Hurst John and Associates met post-war construction demands for new houses, subdivisions, commercial and public buildings. John designed and remodeled structures in Columbia and Boone County and in other small towns and cities throughout the state. Some of his principal projects were Stephens College Health Center; library and dormitories for William Woods College in Fulton; an apartment house and medical office building in Jefferson City; plans for the Boone Electric Cooperative; Central Plaza Development for St. James, and remodeling of the Fredendall and Wilkins Department Store in Mexico, Missouri. His firm served as project architects for the Southwest Bell Telephone building in Fayette and Station KIRX in Kirksville. By 1962 his firm had designed the Gallagher and Kent Building in Mexico, Southern Hills Subdivision in Boonville, the Chariton Valley Telephone office building, Meader Funeral Home in Centralia, the Farmers Stock Bank in Blackwater, and a number of private residences. Later in the 1960s and 1970s, his firm designed the Samaritan Hospital addition in Macon; the Missouri Store Company (Missouri Book Store) addition in Columbia; the Hawkeye Book Store in Boulder, Colorado; a new building for the United Bank of Macon; and the Central Electric Power Cooperative offices in Jefferson City.

Hurst John was active in social and civic affairs. He was a member of the Columbia School Board and the Great Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1949 he became an honorary member of Cosmopolitan International. He organized and became the first president of the United Cerebral Palsy of Missouri organization in central Missouri. He was president of the Missouri Council of the American Society of Registered Architects; a member of the Missouri Association of Registered Architects; regional vice president of the Society of Registered Architects; and president of the Architects and Engineers of Columbia, Inc.  John’s other interests included serving as president of Boonville Southern Hills, Inc. and as trustee and chairman of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds for Kemper Military Academy in Boonville. In addition, he was a member of the Public Library Architectural Committee of the American Library Association. John’s architectural career spanned nearly three decades from the late 1940s until his untimely death after a brief illness on February 3, 1979. He was buried in Broadway Cemetery near St. James, Missouri.

Source: John, Hurst (1911-1979), Papers, 1946-1979, State Historical Society of Missouri