Edwin Symmes was somewhat of an ephemeral presence in Bakersfield architecture—his work was present and he partnered or worked with other Bakersfield architects, but his legacy has been largely forgotten. Little is known about his origins. He was born in California in 1885 and attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 1909. His AIA membership application notes that he had worked for Bliss and Faville for five years and for William C. Harp as a draftsman.
Symmes appears to have begun practicing professional architecture in 1920 in Alameda. The October 1920 issue of Architect and Engineer profiled his personal residence that he designed as part of an article on small homes in East Bay cities (Architect and Engineer, Volume 63, No. 1, October 1920). In 1927, the Architect and Engineer reported that Symmes was moving his practice to Bakersfield from Alameda, and will partner with Clarence Cullimore Sr., noting they were both in the same graduating class at the University of California (Architect and Engineer, Volume 91, November 1927, p. 106). Symmes’ most frequent collaborator was Stanton Willard, who continued the practiced after his death in 1935. After his death, his wife continued with his work, partnering with Stanton Willard in Bakersfield (Architect and Engineer, Volume 129, April 1937, p. 61).
Edwin Symmes and Stanton Willard Architectural Blueprints in the HRC
- Taft Fire Station
- Kern General Hospital (various)
- Kern County Fairgrounds Improvements