Truscott, Arthur

Title

Truscott, Arthur

Description

While boarding at 415 Cooper Street, architect Arthur Truscott launched his career in Philadelphia.

Biographical Text

For at least twelve years, between 1876 and 1888, English immigrant Arthur Truscott boarded at 415 Cooper Street while establishing a career in architecture in Philadelphia. His work included notable buildings for Camden, including houses on Cooper Street and the New Jersey Safe Deposit & Trust Company building at Third and Market Streets.

Truscott arrived in the United States in 1875, at the age of 18, and by 1876 he appeared in Camden city directories as a boarder in the 415 Cooper Street home of Jerusha Browning, a member by marriage of the prominent Browning family of South Jersey. In addition to Arthur, the boarders at 415 Cooper included his two brothers, J. Lynn Truscott (four years older) and Millwood Truscott (two years younger). Arthur's brothers both established long-term, prosperous careers in the insurance industry, following in the footsteps of an uncle already in Camden: John W. Cheney. The Truscott brothers became active in the nearby St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, and Lynn Truscott eventually married into the extended Browning family.

While living at 415 Cooper Street, Arthur Truscott gained architectural training in a series of leading Philadelphia firms, including Wilson Bros. & Co. and Cope & Stewardson. By 1888, when he left Cooper Street, he had published house plans in Godey's Lady's Book, and he demonstrated his range in commercial as well as residential architecture with at least two buildings in Camden. For his brother Lynn, Truscott designed a double-lot gray stone home at 627 Cooper Street (later demolished for construction of the Walt Whitman Hotel). He also designed a four-story office building at Third and Market Streets for the New Jersey Safe Deposit & Trust Company. By 1990, when buildings associated with the banking, insurance, and legal professions in Camden were added to the National Register of Historic Places, Truscott's Victorian Eclectic building for New Jersey Trust was the oldest surviving structure designed for specific use as a bank.

Truscott left New Jersey for about two years, 1888-90, to serve as architect for a federal arsenal in Columbia, Tennessee (also later listed on the National Register). When he returned, he formed a partnership with Philadelphia architect William Lloyd Baily, and among many other commissions for residences and churches, Truscott & Baily added four houses to the 500 block of Cooper Street: three of them the trio of Chateauesque stone townhouses for Truscott's uncle, John W. Cheney, at 538-42 Cooper Street (built c. 1892). The facades were preserved as part of the buildings for the LEAP Academy Charter School. About a decade after the Cheney project, in 1903, Baily & Truscott produced the very different red-brick Colonial Revival home at 514 Cooper Street for William T. Read.

Truscott, meanwhile, married and designed a home for his family in Merchantville, then a suburban enclave attracting Philadelphia and South Jersey professionals, including a number of prominent architects. His household there, from the 1890s through the 1930s, included his wife, Alice, four children, his mother-in-law, and domestic servants. After the dissolution of the Baily partnership in 1904, Truscott became head of the architecture program at the Drexel Institute (later Drexel University); he was a supervising architect for Camden High School, built on Park Boulevard 1916-18, and late in his life, he worked as a draftsman for a Philadelphia firm specializing in church architecture, Charles Bolton & Son. At the time of his death in 1938, he was living in Blackwood, New Jersey; he is buried in Camden, in Harleigh Cemetery.

Find illustrations of Arthur Truscott's work and further biographical details in "Arthur Truscott" online at dvrbs.com.

Time period on Cooper Street

c. 1876-88 (boarding)
c. 1892, 1903 (buildings)

Location(s) - Cooper Street

415 Cooper Street
514 Cooper Street (designed by Baily & Truscott for William T. Read, 1903)
538-42 Cooper Street (designed by Baily & Truscott for John W. Cheney, c. 1892)
726 Cooper Street (designed by Arthur Truscott for Lynn Truscott, 1888)

Location(s) - Other

19 Springfield Avenue, Merchantville (Truscott family home, c. 1892-1930s)
New Jersey Trust and Safe Deposit Building, Third and Market Streets, Camden (designed by Arthur Truscott, 1888)
Baily & Truscott office, 138 S. Fourth Street, Philadelphia
Drexel University, Philadelphia
Blackwood, New Jersey
Columbia, Tennessee

Occupation

Architect

Birth Date

December 4, 1858

Birthplace

Cornwall, England

Death Date

September 12, 1938, in Blackwood, New Jersey. Buried in Harleigh Cemetery.

Associated Individuals

J. Lynn Truscott (brother); married Mary Cooper Paul Browning
Millwood Truscott (brother); married Carrie Weatherby
Jerusha Browning (head of household at 415 Cooper Street)
Margaret Browning (daughter of Jerusha Browning)
George Cole (also resident at 415 Cooper Street, 1885)
Anna Browning (also resident at 415 Cooper Street, 1885)
Kate Browning (also resident of 415 Cooper Street, 1885)
Edward P. Browning (also resident at 415 Cooper Street, 1888-89)
Alice Parry, wife (married 1889)
Arthur S. Truscott (son), served as aviator in British Royal Air Force during World War I; died from accidental gas inhalation at Truscott family home in 1935.
Alice Truscott (daughter)
W. Parry Truscott (son)
Catharine F. Truscott (daughter)
Anna G. Parry (mother-in-law)
Lolie Dangrigred (?), servant in 1900, African American born in Virginia
Dorinda Barrett, servant in 1910, African American born in Pennsylvania
William Lloyd Baily, business partner, 1890-1904
John W. Cheney, uncle (related through Cheney's wife Emily Cook; Truscott's mother was Susan Frances Matilda Cook); client, 538-42 Cooper Street
William T. Read, client, 514 Cooper Street

Sources

Banks, Insurance and Legal Buildings in Camden, New Jersey, 1873-1938, Nomination, National Register for Historic Places, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Berenson, Carol A., Merchantville, New Jersey: The Development, Architecture, and Preservation of a Victorian Commuter Suburb (Thesis, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, University of Pennsylvania), 1984.
Camden City Directories, New Jersey State Census, U.S. Census (Ancestry.com).
Camden Newspapers (Newspapers.com).
Cooper Street Historic District Nomination, National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Department of the Interior.
"Truscott, Arthur (1858-1938), Philadelphia Buildings and Architects, Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Research by

Charlene Mires and Lucy Davis

Posted by

Charlene Mires
Send corrections to cmires@camden.rutgers.edu

Collection

Citation

“Truscott, Arthur,” Learning From Cooper Street, accessed October 1, 2022, https://omeka.camden.rutgers.edu/items/show/47.

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