McClain’s Architech, William B. Ittner

The story of McClain High School is a story of a wealthy industrialist, Edward Lee McClain, and many talented people he enlisted to create his lasting gift to the community of Greenfield. One such talent was William B. Ittner, the architect. Ittner (1864-1936) was from St. Louis, Missouri and is credited with the design of more than 430 schools nationwide, 35 of which are on the National Register of Historical Places.

Mr. McClain sought out the best talent available for his project, which led him to Mr. Ittner, who by 1913 had designed more than 20 schools. No doubt the reputation of the McClain High School led to more calls, as it appears that most of the schools he designed up to that time were in Missouri. By the time the architect retired he was credited with designing schools in 28 states.

Ittner was widely known for his development of the “open-type plan” in school buildings, the majority of them being high schools and colleges. Ittner served as president of the Architectural League of America and has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. A Google search of the architect’s name leads to photos of some very impressive buildings.

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Submitted by Ron Coffey


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