Edgar Marks Lazarus, Jr.: Jewish Architect of the State of Oregon

Edgar Lazarus

Edgar Lazarus, photo courtesy of Oregon Historical Society

Edgar Marks Lazarus, Jr.

Values Codes I – H – E – L – P


Edgar Marks Lazarus, Jr. was born in 1868 in Baltimore, Maryland.

His parents, Edgar Lazarus, Sr. and Minnie Mordecai Lazarus, were members of the Sephardic Jewish community in Charleston, South Carolina.


Along the way . . . 

In 1888, Edgar Lazarus, Jr. graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art & Design.

He then went to Washington, DC, where he worked as an architect for the US Army Quartermaster Corps.


Portland, Oregon

In 1891, Edgar Lazarus moved west to Portland, Oregon.

With fellow architect, William Ellicot, Lazarus founded the architectural firm Ellicot & Lazarus.

They designed buildings such as the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club, the Oregon Institute of the Blind, and the University Hospital of Baltimore.

In 1896, Edgar Lazarus became a Superintendent of Construction of Public Works.

Managing small construction projects like post offices led to bigger jobs, such as supervising architect for the US Customhouse.

US Customhouse, Portland, Oregon

Lazarus also designed early buildings of Eastern Oregon State Normal School in Weston, Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis, and University of Oregon in Eugene.

In 1901, he designed the Morrow County Courthouse and clock tower, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985.

In 1903, Lazarus worked on the design and construction of Pioneer Courthouse.

In 1904, he resigned from his government position due to a law that did not allow civil servants to work in private practice.

In 1905, Lazarus built the Palace of Agriculture for the Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition in Portland, Oregon. The design included a large, gold dome.

Palace of Agriculture, Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland

Palace of Agriculture, Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland, OR, Photo Courtesy of the University of Oregon Libraries

In 1906, Lazarus worked for the Portland Country Club & Livestock Association to create a complex that would house their organizations as well as the Portland Hunt Club, the Automobile Club, and the Kennel Club. The complex is called the Rose City Racetrack.

In 1909, Lazarus formed a partnership with Morris Whitehouse and J. Andres Fouilhoux.

Lazarus, Whitehouse & Fouilhoux designed the State Hospital in Salem, the Mann Old People’s Home in Portland, and the Wickersham Apartments.

In 1910, Edgar Lazarus, Jr. left the partnership and went to Europe for a year.

In 1911, Lazarus and Frank Logan formed the firm of Lazarus & Logan.

They designed the South Wing of the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

In 1915, Lazarus accepted a commission to design Vista House, a memorial to Oregon pioneers, as well as a comfort station and observatory. The Vista House was completed in 1918. In 1971, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Vista House, Vintage Postcard

Vista House, vintage postcard


Edgar Lazarus, Jr. designed the first Neighborhood House in Portland around 1904.

In 1904, he designed the Ahavai Shalom Synagogue (now Neveh Shalom Synagogue).

Lazarus also designed homes for wealthy Jews in the community.

Ahavai Shalom Synagogue, built 1904

Ahavai Shalom Synagogue, built 1904, photo courtesy of the University of Oregon Libraries


Edgar Lazarus, Jr. founded the Oregon Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1911. He served as president in 1913.

Lazarus was also a member of the Portland Architectural Club.



In 1921, Edgar Lazarus, Jr. married Fanny Hendricks.


Edgar Lazarus, Jr. died in 1939.

Fanny Hendricks Lazarus died in 1966.

They are buried in the Oheb Shalom Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.



  • Eugene Normand, “Edgar M. Lazarus, Jr. 1868-1939: Early Jewish Architect of Portland, Oregon,” Western States Jewish History 48/1.
  • Edward Teague, “Edgar M. Lazarus, Architect: Life and Legacy,” http://pages.uoregon.edu/ehteague/lazarus/

Samantha Silver is curator for this Edgar Lazarus, Jr. exhibit.