Leary, Samuel Linton

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Philadelphia architect Samuel Linton Leary is little recognized - he shot to prominence in Durham after coming to town around 1890. The impetus seems to have been design of the Washington Duke Building (main building) at Trinity College, and the Dukes seem to have been the patrons who involved Leary.

In a short period of time, Leary designed multiple other buildings, including St. Joseph's AME, the original Fire Station #1, the First (white) Graded School (later Morehead School), his own house on Cleveland St., and the Foushee House (now Camelot Academy on Proctor St.)

Per Jean Anderson, he was also brought to Durham to design "tobacco warehouses." If Leary had a hand in any of our tobacco warehouses (for which the architect(s) are, generally unknown) the extent of his involvement and/or with which warehouses is unknown. There is some speculation that he may have had a hand in the design of the Watts and Yuille warehouses, now known as Brightleaf Square.

Leary suffered a significant setback to - perhaps even the destruction of - his career when the main tower of the Washington Duke building collapsed immediately prior to its intended opening in 1892. Perhaps this is why Leary's name appears to disappear from the historical record after the 1890s, despite so many important local commissions in just a few years. He appears to have left Durham by the late 1890s.

There is no other online record of Leary or his work  - curiously, not associated with Philadelphia either.  I find him a very interesting mystery.

.....I, too, am interested in the fate of my possibly infamous namesake....

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