The William C. Crowell Collection (1901-1981) includes a business ledger, plumbing catalogue, and three photograph albums
of construction projects.
William C. Crowell was born on a farm near Argyle in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, in 1871. He studied architecture at Puget Sound Business
College while apprenticed to his brother as a carpenter in Seattle, Washington. In 1894 he came to Pasadena, California as
a carpenter. The following year he went to Guatemala, where he founded his own contracting business in 1897. Later that year,
Crowell returned to Pasadena and ran the Wm. C. Crowell Company until 1939, when he turned the business over to his son, Robert A. Crowell, who operated it until 1971, when he was succeeded
as company president by Ron T. Aday at the newly formed Crowell Planning and Construction Corporation. The construction firm built many well-known commercial, public, and school buildings in Pasadena and surrounding cities,
many designed by notable architects such as Greene & Greene, Julia Morgan, Myron Hunt, and Gordon Kaufmann. Until 1938, the Crowell Company constructed all the buildings on the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) campus. The firm also built the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the Pasadena Public Library, the original Pasadena High School,
the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Pasadena YMCA and YWCA, and several University of Redlands Buildings.
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