Henry Wild Jones could have just as easily chosen the well-traveled path of his family and become a Baptist minister but he knew architecture was his calling and destiny. Born two years before the start of the Civil War Jones took his place on the American architectural stage in the late 1800s. His life spanned seventy-six years - a period of U.S. history that matched his exuberant spirited personality. The country's culture of unprecedented economic change fueled by a second wave in the Industrial Revolution and continued westward expansion offered exciting design opportunities and challenges for an up-and-coming architect like Jones.
Jones began his career as a draftsman in the office of design giant Henry Hobson Richardson. He and his bride Bertha left their Eastern roots and moved to Minneapolis Minnesota in 1883. Over the next fifty-two years Jones produced an impressive body of work from neoclassic to eclectic reflecting his unique brand of versatility and creativity. With a roster of clients including businessmen Emery Mapes (founder of the Cream of Wheat Company), Will Savage (whose name is synonymous with the winning racehorse Dan Patch), meatpacking mogul George Hormel and philanthropist T. B. Walker, Jones rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in Minneapolis history.
Using architecture as his vehicle for self-expression Jones brought a young turn-of-the-century American landscape to life. Today his portfolio - including such Minneapolis landmarks as Lakewood Cemetery Chapel and Butler Square - stands as a testament to the genius of his artistry and the devotion of his passion for design.
Liz Vandam moved to Minneapolis in 1997. She was introduced to the architectural achievements of Harry Wild Jones while writing her first book The Doors of Tangletown: A Historic Reflection of Washburn Park published in 2002.