Architect Ernest Flagg

Ernest Flagg (2/7/1857-4/10/1947) New York NY (F.A.I.A)

Active in practice for half a century and a distinguished member of the profession, he was born and educated in Brooklyn, son of the Reverend Jared Flagg, Rector of Grace Church in New York. On the maternal side, he was related to Cornelius Vanderbilt, grandson of Commodore Vanderbilt, and with his assistance was enabled to acquire architectural training in France. At the Ecole des Beaus Arts in Paris he completed a course of study under Blondel, and was graduated in 1888, but due to his age (thirty-one) was not awarded the grand prize, although his work entitled him to it.

Following his return to New York, Mr. Flagg established practice in 1891 and continued to maintain an office in the city until 1940. One of his first important works were the new St. Luke's Hospital, Amsterdam Avenue and 113th Street, a commission won against eighty contestants. Early in the century he designed the Naval Academy at Annapolis Maryland, followed by later units which form an impressive ensemble, an outstanding achievement which brought him wide recognition. Other buildings of note planned and completed under Mr. Flagg's direction include the forty-one story Singer Office Building, an early skyscraper on lower Broadway completed in 1908; the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington DC, an earlier work, opened in 1897; Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Building, Hartford Connecticut; Bourne Building, New York; the Scribner Building on Fifth Avenue below 50th Street, and the Scribner Printing Plant; the Automobile Club of America in the fifties west of Broadway; and the Sheldon Library at St. Paul's School, Concord NH.

Mr. Flagg also designed several distinctive urban residences, among them the Charles Scribner home at 9 East 66th Street, a home for Mrs. Gouveneur Morris on Park Avenue at 85th Street, the Fulton Cutting residence, Madison Avenue and 62nd Street; and Oliver Jennings house on 72nd Street near Fifth Avenue. In contrast to these fine homes, he also planned a number of model tenements, and was architect of the Mills Hotels in New York and other cities. For low salaried white collar workers he designed and built in 1933, the 560-family Flagg Court Apartments in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, one of the largest of such buildings in greater New York; also built the first co-operative apartment house in Manhattan at Madison Avenue and 28th Street. In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Flagg was interest in civic affairs, particularly New York's traffic problem and City Planning.

He had been a member of the New York Chapter A.I.A. since 1912 and was elected to Institute Fellowship in 1926. After fifty years of continuous practice, he retired in 1940s to his home at 109 East 40th Street where seven years later he passed away at the age of ninety. He was a brother of Montague Flagg and Charles Noel Flagg, the latter a portrait painter, who founded the Connecticut League of Art Students which became the Flagg Night School of Drawing for Men.