Esley Hamilton, Hon. AIA

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Esley Hamilton, Hon. AIA | Notes of Interest

In 1969, with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin, Esley Hamilton took a job with the Office of City Planning in East St. Louis. Since 1980, he has served as preservation historian for the St. Louis County Parks Department. His title, however, doesn’t begin to tell the story of his passion for and dedication to raising the awareness of architecture in St. Louis and being an important voice nationally in the preservation of historic buildings. He has cataloged more than 4,000 county buildings and added 300 properties and eight historic districts to the National Register of Historic Places. He is also an adjunct professor at Washington University, where he teaches historic preservation and the history of landscape architecture.

When the AIA held its national convention in St. Louis in 1989, Hamilton prepared two exhibitions—St. Louis Modernism 1935–1945 and Building St. Louis—to help introduce architects to the rich architectural heritage of the city. Also, when AIA St. Louis celebrated its centennial in 1991, the chapter turned to Hamilton, along with Carolyn Toft and Mary Gass, to write its history. The Way We Came: A Century of the AIA in St. Louis is a treasured repository of the chapter’s history, brought to life by Hamilton’s skillful research and writing.

Hamilton’s broad contributions to Missouri and the St. Louis community in historic preservation and architectural design are unmatched. His influence reaches well beyond the local scene in such service as trustee of the National Association of Olmsted Parks and as editor and contributing author of the newsletter of the Society of Architectural Historians (Missouri chapter). He is an honorary member of AIA St. Louis and a recipient of the President’s Award of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. He is revered for his encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s architectural history and his generosity in sharing that knowledge with others.

Photo Credit

  • © Esley Hamilton, Hon. AIA

Esley Hamilton, Hon. AIA

    Location: University City, Missouri

Jury Comments

Through his tireless efforts in historic preservation and his selfless dedication to educating the public about the importance of preserving our history for future generations, Esley Hamilton has made our world—both locally and nationally—an infinitely better place.

More about Esley Hamilton, Hon. AIA.

2013 AIA Honorary Membership Jury

  • Douglas Benson, AIA, Chair
  • MCM Architects, PC
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Brenda Henderson, Hon. AIA
  • Temple Hills, Maryland
  • Jane Nylander, Hon. AIA
  • Residential Architecture Magazine
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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