Capital from the Thomas A. Edison School, Hammond, Indiana


George Grant Elmslie ( American, 1871 - 1952 )


William S. Hutton ( American, 1890 - 1975 )


Midland Terra Cotta Company ( American, 1881 )


Fritz Albert

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General Description

In the mid 1930s, the town of Hammond, Indiana, commissioned architects George Grant Elmslie and William Hutton to design three school complexes, Elmslie's last major project. Elmslie designed elaborate programs of terracotta ornament for each of the three complexes, distinguished by unique, yet related motifs and executed in different colored clays. This red-orange ornamental capital was originally installed in the Thomas A. Edison School, constructed between 1935 and 1937 and ultimately demolished in 1991. Its combination of naturalistic leaves and geometric plant forms is closely associated with the ornamental theories of Louis Sullivan, Elmslie's former employer. Like Sullivan, Elmslie created organic and geometric designs that appear to form, divide, and subdivide before one's eyes.

Adapted from

Charles Venable, DMA unpublished material, 2002.

Web Resources

Victoria and Albert Museum

View another example of architectural ornament from the Thomas A. Edison School.