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COBURN & BARNUM

COBURN & BARNUM was an architectural firm active in Cleveland from 1878-97. Forrest A. Coburn (1848-l Dec. 1897) and FRANK SEYMOUR BARNUM formed a partnership in 1878. The Furniture Block and the Blackstone Bldg. were 2 of their most important commercial buildings, built in 1881-82. The Blackstone in particular was a superior example of fire-resistant mill construction with a remarkable 4-story interior light court. Coburn & Barnum's churches included the First Congregational on Franklin Ave. and EUCLID AVE. CONGREGATIONAL. Their residential commissions included homes for Wm. J. Morgan and Geo. Howe (later the VIXSEBOXSE GALLERY) on Euclid Ave., and the spectacular Washington H. Lawrence mansion (Bay View Hospital) in 1898. The firm's institutional and cultural buildings included the Medical School (1885-87) and Guilford College (1892) for Western Reserve Univ. and the OLNEY ART GALLERY on W. 14th St. (1893).

Joined by W. DOMINICK BENES and BENJAMIN S. HUBBELL, the firm was named Coburn, Barnum, Benes & Hubbell for 1 year; Hubbell and Benes left in 1897 to establish their own partnership (see HUBBELL & BENES). Upon their departure and Coburn's death, Barnum formed F. S. Barnum & Co., in association with Albert Skeel, Harry S. Nelson, Herbert Briggs, and Wilbur M. Hall. In 1895 Barnum had been appointed consulting architect to the Cleveland Board of Education. Between that date and his retirement in 1915, the office planned and constructed more than 75 school buildings. Barnum also designed the CAXTON BLDG. (1903) and the Park Bldg. on PUBLIC SQUARE (1904), said to be one of the first office buildings in Cleveland to utilize floor slabs of reinforced concrete. After Barnum retired, the firm continued under the name of Briggs & Nelson.