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F.C.W. Kuehn Papers

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Collection Summary


MA 4


F.C.W. Kuehn papers


F. C. W. (Frank Charles William) Kuehn




1.05 linear feet (3 boxes) photographs, oversize material




South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . F.C.W. Kuehn papers. MA 4. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


F.C.W. Kuehn, a leading Midwestern architect, is known primarily for the 175 public schools he designed for the South Dakota Department of Public Instruction between 1912 and 1953. Composed of architectural drawings created for various projects including rural school plans and county highway maps, and bids and plans for projects.

Biographical Note

Frank Charles William Kuehn was born on September 4, 1884 in LeMars, Iowa. His family moved to Dakota Territory when he was 7 months old. They settled on a claim in Jackson Township, Sanborn County, Dakota Territory on March 1, 1885. The family lived in a sod shanty amid an extended family of Kuehn's grandfather and the brothers and sisters of Elizabeth and Frank Theodore Kuehn, Kuehn's parents. On March 1, 1903, the family moved northwest 18 miles to Huron, South Dakota, which continued to be Kuehn's home for the next 67 years. Kuehn married Amelia Johanna Wagner on June 3, 1914. They had three daughters; Jeannette, Lois and Margaret. In October 1950, Amelia died of a heart attack. Kuehn remarried on August 15, 1954 to Florence Dokken Hanson.

Before the age of 21, Kuehn knew he wanted to be an architect. He registered for classes with the International Correspondence Schools in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1907, he began working in the office of Huron architect, George Issenhuth. He continued to work for Mr. Issenhuth throughout all of 1908 and 1909 while he continued his studies with the correspondence school.

On September 9, 1909, Kuehn opened his own office in Huron, SD. He established himself as an architect of schools with a plan submitted for a two-story brick school for Frankfort, SD. With this school, a good example of Prairie-School Style of architecture, Kuehn began a long association with the State Department of Public Instruction, which lasted for 41 years.

In 1918, Kuehn began writing insurance to supplement his income, possibly a result of World War I, which caused a decline of building in SD. He would continue to write insurance in addition to being an architect to the end of his life. In the early 1920s, Kuehn planned a number of homes and several impressive buildings for downtown Huron. He also began drawing county maps for SD, ND, and MN. In the 1930s, he began producing blueprints and created the Huron Blue Print Co. This helped provide for his family during the Depression. He also worked for Home Owners Loan Corp., inspecting homes for financing and writing reports. In the 1940s, Kuehn began to be recognized outside of SD for his Standard Rural School Plans.

During the 1950s, Kuehn worked almost exclusively on his growing county map business. In the 1960s, he expanded to include highway maps for Minnesota counties. He also combined SD, ND, and MN. County maps into books, which sold well.

Kuehn died following an illness in 1970. He had designed and built many projects; too numerous to mention. For more information see F.C.W. Kuehn Prairie Architect which was written by his daughters in 1984. This details his life as an architect and notes many of the projects he worked on throughout his career.


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series 1. Architectural drawings

Series 2. General material

Series 3. Random specifications

Materials within each series are arranged in alphabetical order with the exception of the architectural drawing, which are arranged by type of material.

Contents Note

Composed of architectural drawings by F.W.C. Kuehn created for various projects. Included are rural school plans and county highway maps designed by Kuehn as well as bids and plans for projects.

The architectural drawings include work from both Kuehn's years enrolled in the International Correspondence Schools and his career as an architect.

The general items are composed of miscellaneous items related to Kuehn.

The random specifications are composed of construction specifications for projects Kuehn worked on.

Related Resources

Kinyon, Jeannette, with Lois Johnson, Margaret Voels, and Harry E. Voels, Prairie architect: F.C.W. Kuehn, his life and work
Sioux Falls, SD, The Center for western Studies, c1984.
Call number: SD Collection: NA 737.K72 K5

Key Words

Architects -- South Dakota -- Huron

Kinyon, Frank I.

Kuehn, F. C. W. (Frank Charles William), 1884-1970

Road maps -- South Dakota

Rural schools -- South Dakota -- Designs and plans

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

F.C.W. Kuehn Papers Container List. MA 4

1. Architectural drawings11Blueprints1907-1954
1. Architectural drawings12Drawings (linen)1907-1908
1. Architectural drawings13Drawings (paper)1906-1938
1. Architectural drawings14Drawings (parchment)undated
2. General15Christmas cardundated
2. General16Composite poster: Sixty-years-in-business Celebration1964
2. General17Diploma: International Correspondence Schools1909
2. General18Green visorundated
2. General19Kuehn's County Highway Maps [blue binder ; 70 p.]1955-1970
2. General110Kuehn's Standard Approved Elementary School Plansundated
2. General111Letter of Criticism Accompanying Grecian Doric1908
2. General112Microfilm: Map of Yankton, SDundated
2. General113Photographs: F.C.W. Kuehn1956
2. General114Print: Pen drawing of Huron, SD1883
2. General115Redwing Sewer Pipe Corp. pamphletundated
3. Random specifications116Addition : Huron Corps : Huron S.D. : Plan No. 2/3/48-11948
3. Random specifications117Brick Addition : Huron Light and Power Company : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. E 3-26-31924
3. Random specifications118Brick and Tile Auditorium-Gymnasium : Board of Trustees : Lebanon, S.D. : Plan No. Q 12-12-5 : Docket 1036-D1936
3. Random specifications119Brick and Tile Building : Northwestern Public Service Company : Highmore, S.D. : Plan No. 3-24-48-31948
3. Random specifications120Brick School Building : Raymond Independent School : Raymond, S.D. : Plan No. Q 11-30-10 : Docket 1178-D1936
3. Random specifications121Field House : Municipal Field House : Wessington Springs, S.D. : Plan No. P 7-27-21935
3. Random specifications122Fireproof Store Building : Habicht and Habicht : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. K 5-4-41930
3. Random specifications123Frame Addition : Logan Consolidated School : Raymond, S.D. : Plan No. V 3-14-41941
3. Random specifications124Frame Band Shell with Basement : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. 8 U-28-21940
3. Random specifications125Frame Church Building : Methodist Church : Woonsocket, S.D. : Plan No. V 6-3-31941
3. Random specifications126Frame Dwelling : L. C. Fullerton : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. 20-28-41940
3. Random specifications127Frame Service Station : H. J. Kurth : Rapid City, S.D. : Plan No. V 6-4-21941
3. Random specifications128Frame Stucco Dwelling : George Costain : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. 44451921
3. Random specifications129Heat Tunnel and Jail Addition : Kingsbury County Courthouse : De Smet, S.D. : Plan No. V 8-16-41941
3. Random specifications130Heating, Plumbing and Wiring : Community Church : Geddes, S.D. : Plan No. E 8-4-31924
3. Random specifications131Heating, Plumbing, Gas Piping and Wiring : F. D. Kinyon : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. H 4-4-31927
3. Random specifications132Labor and Material Required : Power Plant Addition State College : Brookings, S.D. : Plan No. L-11-10-41931
3. Random specifications133Light Fixtures, Furniture and Equipment : Raymond Independent School : Raymond, S.D. : Plan No. Q 11-30-10 : Docket 1178-D1937
3. Random specifications134Mechanical Equipment : Independent District : Wolsey, S.D. : Plan No. V 5-5-11941
3. Random specifications21One Room Frame School Building : American School District No. 22 : Bijou Hills, S.D. : Plan No. R 2-31937
3. Random specifications22One Room Frame School Building : Media Township School District No. 8 : Wessington Springs, S.D. : Plan No. 10/28/48/21948
3. Random specifications23One Room Frame School Building with Basement : American School District No. 22 : Bijou Hills, S.D. : Plan No. R 1-31937
3. Random specifications24One Room Frame School Building with Basement : Beulah Common School District : Hanson County, S.D. : Plan No. R 1-31944
3. Random specifications25One Room Frame School Building with Basement : Board of Education : Marvin, S.D. : Plan No. R 1-3, 1944 July 261944
3. Random specifications26One Room Frame School Building with Basement : Crow Township School District No. 6 : Wessington Springs, S.D. : Plan No. S 2-7-3,1940
3. Random specifications27One Room Frame School Building with Basement : District No. 3 Roberts County : Milbank, S.D. : Plan No. 5-1-52-31952
3. Random specifications28One Room Frame School Building with Basement : District No. 33 : Henry, S.D. : Plan No. S 2-7-31944
3. Random specifications29One Story and Basement Brick Building : Huron Dairy Products Company : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. G 2-24-41926
3. Random specifications210One Story and Basement Frame School Building : Kuehn's Standard Approved Elementary School Plan : Design No. 2-A1939
3. Random specifications211One Story and Basement Frame School Building : South Dakota Standard Rural School : Design No. 21-Aundated
3. Random specifications212One Story and Basement Frame School Building : Whitewood Township School : Lake Preston, S.D. : Design No. 2A1939
3. Random specifications213One Story and Basement Hollow Tile Church : first Methodist Episcopal Church : Doland, S.D. : Plan No. C-6-71922
3. Random specifications214One Story and Basement Tile Building : Wilmot City Auditorium : Wilmot, S.D. : Plan No. P 6-5-31935
3. Random specifications215One Story Brick Addition : The Independent Order of Odd Fellows : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. 438-61920
3. Random specifications216One Story Brick Creamery : Huron Dairy Products : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. F 7-9-41925
3. Random specifications217One Story Brick Laundry : Immaculate Conception Church : Stephan, Hyde County, S.D. : Plan No. F 5-21-21925
3. Random specifications218One Story Brick Store Building : Lampe Market Company : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. G 3-9-51926
3. Random specifications219One Story Concrete and Brick Shop : Volga School District : Volga, S.D. : Plan No. 4 V-30-11940
3. Random specifications220One Story Concrete Building : De Smet, S.D. : Plan No. T 9-30-21939
3. Random specifications221One Story Law Building : Warren and Eggen : De Smet, S.D. : Plan No. K 9-27-21930
3. Random specifications222Plumbing, Heating, and Electric Work : Huron Independent School District : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. P 11-15-41935
3. Random specifications223Plumbing, Heating, and Wiring : L. C. Fullerton : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. 30-15-11940
3. Random specifications224Remodeling a Frame School Building without Basement : Plummer School District No. 1 : Kimball, Brule County, S.D. : Plan No. 6-3-52-21952
3. Random specifications225Remodeling a Two Story School Building into a four Story and Basement Hospital : St. Teresa Hospital : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. V 6-30-111942
3. Random specifications226Remodeling North Part of Grade School Basement : Onida Independent School District : Onida, S.D. : Plan No. 1-2-45-11945
3. Random specifications227Repairing the Sauer Block Fire Loss : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. X 1-25-11943
3. Random specifications228Repairs of the Roof and Fire Wall of the Grade School Building : Onida Independent School District : Onida, S.D. : Plan No. 7-20-46-11946
3. Random specifications229Report on Pugsley's Apartments : Huron, S.D.1939
3. Random specifications230Re-roofing Masonic Temple : Huron, S.D.1947
3. Random specifications231Schedule of Labor Classifications and Wage Scales : Huron School : Huron, S.D. : Docket 11301933-1935
3. Random specifications232School Building : Stockholm, S.D. : Plan No. S 11-26-2 : Docket 1262-F1938
3. Random specifications233School Improvements : Ramona, S.D. : Plan No. S 11-25-1 : Docket 1277-Fundated
3. Random specifications234Shop Addition : Hoven Independent School District : Hoven, S.D. : Plan No. 6-2-49-21949
3. Random specifications235Structural Concrete Building : City Auditorium : Ree Heights, S.D. : Plan No. 5 U--31—41940
3. Random specifications236Super-Service Station : F. W. Schwenk : Yankton, S.D. : Plan No. S-9-16-31938
3. Random specifications237Tile Fire Station : Hoven, S. D. : Plan No. 5/16/49-21949
3. Random specifications238Two Story and Basement Brick Building : F. D. Kinyon : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. H 3-30-71927
3. Random specifications239Two Story Brick School Building : Tulare Independent School District No. 36 : Tulare, S.D. : Plan No. I 7-10-41928
3. Random specifications240Two Story Farm Elevator : State College - State Board of Regents : Brookings, S.D. : Plan No. C 5-41922
3. Random specifications241Two Story Fire Proof Building : Goethal and Leak Building : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. I 12-20-61928
3. Random specifications242Two Story Frame Stucco Dwelling : H. A. Dravis : Waukon, Iowa : Plan No. 434-61920
3. Random specifications243Two Story Tile Building : Faulkton, S.D. : Plan No. 8/23/48/21948
3. Random specifications244Ventilation, Heating, Plumbing and Wiring : Huron Independent School District : Huron, S.D. : Plan No. H 2-28-31927
3. Random specifications31One Story and Basement Frame School Building : Fairfield Township : Beadle County, S.D.1919
3. Random specifications32One Story Frame School Building : Theresa Township, Beadle County, S.D. : Plan No. 337-21917
3. Random specifications33Story and a Half Residence : De Smet, S.D. : Plan No. 426-5 

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Crystal J. Gamradt, Archivist, 1998 March 9. Additions were made 2012 March 31.