The Story of our Name, "The El Paso Sketch Club"

The Chicago Architectural Sketch Club was formed in 1881, according to their 1890 event catalogue. It was an organization created to help young artists, sculptors, ornamental iron designers and architects to learn their trade and hone their skills in the presence of each other and older, established artists. During its first ten years of existence, as its name was shortened to the Chicago Architectural Club, it included as both sponsors and members some of the most renowned and influential Architects in American history.

Included in this list was Frank Lloyd Wright, Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, John W. Root and William Gibb. From this organization was borne the Chicago School and the Prairie School "offshoot" of the Arts & Crafts Movement, two architectural styles that dominate El Paso's skyline and neighborhoods.

The El Paso connection to the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club is astonishing. Members, or architects with direct connections to the CAC, included Charles Barglebaugh (designer of El Paso's One Texas Tower and YWCA); Daniel Burnham, who drew the plans for El Paso's Union Depot; George Robertson, 1/2 of the El Paso firm of Gibson & Robertson (designers of scores of El Paso residences and apartments, and my favorite local firm); John W. Root, who from his office in Trinidad, Colorado designed many buildings in northern and central New Mexico; and, most notably, Henry C. Trost, El Paso's most dominant and important early 1900s architect. is named "The El Paso Sketch Club" in honor of the Chicago club that helped design the Sun City.

Henry C. Trost listed as a member of the CAC in 1889


-- "Chicago Architectural Club", Princeton University Press 2017, staff writers

-- "Eighth Annual Exhibition Catalog", 1889, Chicago Architectural Club (CAC), via the Art Institute of Chicago (