Rapp, Cornelius Ward

RAPP, Cornelius Ward (1861-1927) and his brother George Leslie Rapp (1878-1941) were born in Carbondale, Ill. C.W. Rapp formed a partnership in 1889 with the Canadian-born Cyrus P. Thomas and they practiced together in Chicago until 1895. From 1896 C.W. Rapp operated his own office and later formed a partnership with his brother G.L. Rapp in 1906. The firm of Rapp & Rapp soon developed a reputation for their elaborate designs for silent film theatres in the Chicago area. Drawing on rich French classical architecture from the 18th and 19th Centuries, they carried out designs for nearly four hundred theatres in the United States between 1906 and 1926, and with other leading theatre designers such as Thomas Lamb and Marcus Priteca, they exercised a sustained influence on North American movie house architecture for more than two decades. In Canada they designed the Orpheum Theatre, Victoria Avenue, FORT WILLIAM, ONT., 1911-12, an elaborate Beaux-Arts scheme decorated in a 'modified Louis XIV style' (C.R., xxv, 7 June 1911, 60; Daily Times-Journal [Fort William], 3 Feb. 1912, 11, descrip.). In 1922 the Rapp Brothers carried out an extensive remodelling of the Lyric Theatre, Mary Street at King Street East, HAMILTON, ONT. (C.R., xxxvi, 14 June 1922, 55). C.W. Rapp died in 1926, but his brother continued the practise until after 1940. (biog. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects, 1982, iii, 532; biog. in H. Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, 1956, 497; biog. Richard E. Ritz, Architects of Oregon, 2002, 328). A list of theatres designed by Rapp & Rapp can be found in D. Naylor, American Picture Palaces, 1981, 215-19)