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Kenneth H. Childers Architectural Drawings (MS-00851)

Abstract

The Kenneth H. Childers Architectural Drawings (1968, approximately 1981-1995) contain the work of Childers and his Las Vegas, Nevada architectural firm, Kenneth H. Childers Architect. The drawings depict both residential and commercial structures built primarily in Las Vegas.

Finding Aid PDF
Date
1968
1981 to 1995
Extent
28.04 Cubic Feet (121 rolls, 1 shared box)
31.25 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Records
Related People/Corporations
Access Note

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents Note

The Kenneth H. Childers Architectural Drawings (1968, approximately 1981-1995) contain the work of Childers and his Las Vegas, Nevada architectural firm, Kenneth H. Childers Architect. The drawings depict both residential and commercial structures built primarily in Las Vegas including custom residences, commercial and business plazas, condominiums and apartment complexes. The majority of the drawings are pencil and ink on vellum, blue-line prints, and sepia prints.

This collection includes drawings prepared by the following firms:

Home Design Services Inc.; Arco Petroleum Products Company (architect); Cesar Bautista (architect); Alan Stromberg (AIA Architect); Baughman and Turner (surveyor); Swisher and Hall, Limited (architect); City of Las Vegas (architect); L. R. Nelson Consulting Engineers (engineer); Jett Engineering; ESI Engineers and Surveyors Incorporated (engineer); Robert Ballew (architect); John Williams AIA and Associates (architect); Lamb Architect (architect); Irwin Seating Company (manufacturer); J.P. Copoulos (architect); EPD BBA (architect); Brechler & Bell Consulting Engineers Inc.; Thompson+Merrill (architect); VTN Nevada engineering; Michael E. Craddock Architect; MBA Architects; Margarita Correa (designer); Sigma Development Consultants; Deltech Architectural Planning (architect); Deznan Development Corp; ALCA Engineering & Surveying Inc; Mendenhall Smith, Inc.; Jas Cashdan Engineering; and Design Basics, Inc. (residential designers).

Biographical / Historical Note

Kenneth H. Childers AIA (1931-1997) was a successful architect in Chicago, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1969, his firm KHC Architect, received the first commission given directly to an African-American to design a fire station on the South Side of Chicago. Childers was born on September 11, 1931 in Chicago. As a child he participated in the radio game show “Quiz Kids.” He dropped out of high school his sophomore year and later joined the United States Air Force. He earned his high school degree while in the service. The Air Force stationed him in Europe and North Africa, and a visit to the Taj Mahal inspired him to pursue a career in architecture.

After his discharge from the Air Force in 1954, Childers began to work in an entry-level position in a Chicago architectural firm. He worked his way up to draftsman and later passed the State Board Examination for Architecture, despite no higher education or degree in architecture. He married Clara “Jean” Austin on March 18, 1955, and she worked with him as he developed his business.

Childers believed there was a “black architecture” and his firm designed in this style. He felt that “black architecture must be re-established and brought back from the days of the Egyptian pyramids. It must be and can be an extension of today’s growing era of black pride.” His firm designed many buildings including shopping centers, apartments, motels, and commercial complexes. He made an effort to hire African American contractors and sub-contractors for his projects. He collaborated with other firms to design projects for the city of Chicago. He lived in the suburb of Harvey on the South Side of Chicago and served on the Harvey Planning Commission.

Childers and his wife moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1978 in order to care for his widowed mother. He acquired his architecture license for Nevada, California, and Arizona, and worked for Anthony Campano from 1978 to 1981. He re-established his firm, Kenneth H. Childers Architect, and with his wife, continued to develop and design properties. Childers passed away on May 19, 1997.

Sources:

“Architect Seeks Minority Group Contractors,” Chicago Tribune, October 15, 1970.

“Bare Plans for School in Park,” Chicago Daily Defender, October 1, 1970.

“Commission Self-Taught Architect,” Chicago Daily Defender, June 14, 1969.

“New Motel Site,” Chicago Defender, February 14, 1974.

Conversation with family member.

Arrangement

Drawings are arranged in alphabetical order by project name. Project names were transcribed from the title blocks of the drawings.

Preferred Citation

Kenneth H. Childers Architectural Drawings, 1968, approximately 1981-1995. MS-00851. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00851-001
Acquisition Note

Materials were donated in 2017 by the Childers family; accession number 2017-097.

Processing Note

Materials were arranged, described, and re-housed by Tyler Stanger and Pardis Shaabani in 2017. Pardis Shaabani entered the data into ArchivesSpace. In 2018, Angela Moor revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2020, added additional materials and enhanced the collection description.

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