William Pryor

by Scott Hager.

William Pryor (1869-1899), is the only architect practicing during the boom period who was born in the Copper Country, but his career was cut short by an early death.


Pryor was born December 27, 1869.1 After becoming an architect, he resided with his father, James Pryor, on Main Street, which is now College Ave, four houses east of Franklin Avenue, in Houghton, until 1896.2 In 1897 William Pryor lived with his brother, Reginald C. Pryor, a civil engineer who lived at the southeast corner of Ruby and Pearl Streets in Houghton.3

Only two buildings are definitively attributed to Pryor: Grace Methodist Church and the Roehm House. Besides those, the only other architectural venture Pryor is known to have undertaken was in 1898, when he submitted plans for a village hall and engine house to Hancock. His plans were rejected because they were incomplete.4 Pryor appears to have been a “gentleman architect,” pursuing architecture as an avocation; his obituary did not mention his architectural work.  Pryor died of cerebro-sprinal meningitis at the age of 29 on April 4, 1899.5



  1. Benjamin D. Noetzel, A Century of Service 1854-1954 / A History of Grace Methodist Church, Houghton, MI(Houghton, MI: Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, 1955).
  2. Polk Directory, 1895-1896.
  3. Polk Directory, 1897-1898.
  4. Eckert, Sandstone Architecture, 159.
  5. Polk Directory, 1899-1900. Noetzel, A Century of Service.