About This Item
remarkably intact and original mid-1930’s american depression era hard to find oliver p. morton exterior school building facade terra cotta pier capital designed by notable architect george grant elmslie. the exceptional terra cotta panel was modeled by fritz albert and fabricated by the midland terra cotta company, chicago, il. the intact pier capital or endcap features a lightly mottled salt glazed finish throughout. the rich organic floral design coalescing with abstract geometric forms was the signature of both elmslie and his mentor (and former employer), louis h. sullivan. the rear portion of the freestanding capital retains the original cavities or “webbing” that are free from damage. george grant elmslie was a prominent architect who worked with louis sullivan and later with william gray purcell. the architectural firm or practice he was most widely known for was that of elmslie and purcell. over the course of the partnership, purcell & elmslie became one of the most commissioned firms among the prairie school architects, second only to frank lloyd wright. following the dissolution of his partnership with purcell, elmslie worked occasionally with various other architects, including lawrence a. fournier, william s. hutton, hermann v. von holst and william eugene drummond, and produced a number of residential structures, banks, train stations, commercial, and institutional buildings during the early 20th century through the 1930′s. the schools, with the thomas a. edison included, were all located in northwestern indiana. they have since been demolished. elmslie’s contribution, in the form of the terra cotta and metal ornament adorning these schools, would be his last commissioned work shortly before his death.