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John C. Norman Sr. Collection

Descriptive Summary

Title: John C. Norman Sr. Collection
Span Dates:
Bulk Dates:
ID No: Sc2012-046
Creator: John C. Norman Sr. (1892-1967)
Language: English
Repository: West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, West Virginia
Abstract: This collection contains architectural drawings of African American architect John C. Norman Sr.

Administrative Information

Provenance: The papers of John C. Norman Sr. were given to the West Virginia State Archives by his son John C. Norman Jr., M.D.


Preferred Citation: [item, collection number,] John C. Norman Sr. Collection, West Virginia State Archives, Charleston, WV

Biographical Note: John Clavon Norman Sr. was born in New Jersey in 1892 to Sandy and Sallie Hunt Norman and was raised in Oxford, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Institute (now University) and served in the U.S. Army Cavalry Engineers during World War I. After the war, John Norman took postgraduate courses in architecture and structural engineering at Carnegie Technical Institute (now Carnegie-Mellon) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before coming to Charleston, West Virginia, in 1919. He opened an office in the Knights of Pythias building. In 1922, Norman became a licensed architect in the State of West Virginia.

In the late 1920s, John Norman began a relationship with West Virginia State College (now University) at Institute. In addition to teaching part time at the school, during the late 1920s/early 1930s, he designed and oversaw the construction of ten faculty houses in a former apple orchard and a barn. In later years, Norman was the architect for several renovation projects at West Virginia State and construction of an auditorium/gymnasium at the West Virginia Colored Deaf and Blind School, also at Institute.

Norman designed houses and commercial buildings in various parts of the city of Charleston as well as throughout Kanawha and Fayette counties and in several other parts of the state. He also was the architect for Washington High School in London, West Virginia; theater and hotel for G. F. Ferguson and additions to Garnet High School, both in Charleston; Simmons High School in Montgomery and a theater and hotel in Gauley Bridge for C. A. Connelly; and the 16th Street Baptist Church in Huntington.

During World War II, John Norman spent almost three years working on classified construction projects related to the war effort.

Norman married Ruth Stephenson in 1924, and they had one son John C. Norman Jr., a well-known cardiovascular surgeon. John C. Norman Sr. died in 1967.

Scope and Content Note:


Kanawha County - Charleston / Kanawha County - Other / Fayette County / Other Locations and Unidentified

Special Collections

West Virginia Archives and History