William John Thomas was born in 1906 in Idaho and did not attend college. Thomas appears to have been one of the few architects in California to take and pass the state licensing board examination without a college education. Based on Thomas’s apprenticeships, he appears to have been more of a journeyman architect. He first apprenticed with Charles Biggar in 1925, and in 1928 was promoted to draftsman, and in 1934 Chief Draftsman in Biggar’s firm (AIA Membership File for WJ Thomas). During WWII, Thomas worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, he, Alford, and Biggar went into business together until 1949, when Biggar left (AIA Membership File for WJ Thomas). Thomas did not apply to join the AIA until 1958, well within his career, and AIA accepted his application (AIA Membership File for WJ Thomas). In the 1970s, Thomas had moved on to Morro Bay, where he applied for emeritus status within AIA, and stated in 1973 that he no longer practiced architecture (AIA Membership File for WJ Thomas).
The firm of Alford and Thomas immediately benefited from the 1952 earthquake with the awarding of a contract from the Kern County Board of Supervisors to assess damage and needed repairs to the Kern County General Hospital (Architect and Engineer, Volume 192, page 46, 1953). Related to this contract, Alford and Thomas were awarded a contract for work on the Kern County General Hospital complex and structures later in the year (Architect and Engineer, Volume 195, page 44, 1953). More contracts for schools came to the firm in the 1950s in Bakersfield and Wasco in particular, as well as more contract work for the Kern General Hospital. They also designed the Wasco Veterans Memorial Building in the 1950s.
Alford and Thomas Architectural Blueprints at HRC
- Kern General Hospital Rehab Service Wing, 1953
- Kern General Hospital Rehab Service Building, 1953
- Wasco Veterans Memorial Building, Wasco, 1952 and 1957
- Lamont County Building, Lamont, 1952