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Hiram J. Nichols

From Bloomingpedia
100 N. Walnut Street circa 1910

Hiram Jackson ‘Jack’ Nichols was born November 17, 1824 in Shelby County, Kentucky. His family moved to Perry Township, Monroe County when he was two years old. In early adulthood Nichols worked as a farmer and carpenter. He moved to Bloomington in 1854, where he worked as a carpenter, building contractor and architect and also served as president of the town board. He was the father of six children with his first wife Rebecca Rogers. One child died in infancy. Rebecca died in 1868 and Nichols then married Catharine Bray. They had one child named Claude who died at five years of age. Catharine died in 1882 and he married Jennie McPhetridge in 1883.

Nichols died April 4, 1910, survived by his third wife and two sons John Lincoln Nichols and Leo Morton Nichols. John and Mort worked with their father in the building trade, doing business as Nichols and Sons. Mort found other employment and the firm continued as Nichols and Son. John would later do business as Nichols and Son with his son Bridge from 1905 until Bridge’s death from influenza in 1911. John and Mort did business as Nichols & Nichols from 1913 to 1914. These later firms appear to have engaged in architecture only. Towards the end of his career Jack Nichols appears to have limited his activities to the practice of architecture. There is, however, no evidence that any of the Nichols family had any formal training, having instead acquired all skills on the job.

‘Jack’ Nichols had a long and prolific career as a builder and architect, including jobs as far away as Arkansas. Documentation for which projects he was involved with and in what capacity is fragmentary. Nonetheless, the following projects can be attributed to him as builder:

  • Central School (Carpentry Contract) - South College Ave. - 1872 - Demolished
  • Wylie Hall (General Contract) - Indiana University campus - 1884 - Still Standing
  • Owen Hall (General Contract) - Indiana University campus - 1884 - Still Standing
  • First Christian Church (General Contract) - E. Kirkwood Ave. - 1884 - Destroyed by fire
  • Blair Residence (Carpentry Contract) - W. Kirkwood Ave. - 1884 - Demolished
  • Hurlburt C. and Maud E. Showers Residence (General Contract) - E. 6th St. - 1884 - Demolished
  • Nat U. Hill Residence (General Contract) - 526 N. College Ave. - 1884 - No longer standing
  • Aaron Rose Residence/ Elks Club/Harlos Building/Benckart Office Building - 205 S. Walnut St. - 1883 - Still Standing/Modified

The following projects can be attributed to him as architect:

Nichols also built the Monroe County poor farm which was designed by Wing & Mahurin.