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Elson H. Norris Architectural Drawings and Plans

Identifier: SWA-Norris-Drawings

Scope and Content

The Elson H. Norris collection contains architectural drawings and plans for commercial, institutional and residential buildings in New Mexico, 1913-1927. Some significant projects in the collection include: buildings for the Methodist Sanitarium, NM 1919-1923; the Harwood Girl’s School Albuquerque, NM 1925; and public school buildings in Mountainair, Mountainview, Estancia, Cedarville and Gallup, NM.


  • 1913-1927


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Elson Harvey Norris practiced architecture in New Mexico from 1913 to 1931. Born May 24, 1865 in Ohio, Norris died August 21, 1931 in Riverside, California. Married to Hattie Lovella Butcher, they had one daughter, Merriam Norris Shigley. No records have been found regarding Norris’ professional education or career prior to 1913.

Norris served as the supervising architect for Gallup High School (1913) for Jack Head, Architect, and worked as a foreman for J. A. Harlan & Son Construction Company from 1913 to 1915. In 1915 Norris opened his one-man architectural office in Albuquerque and designed new buildings, and remodels and additions.

Norris’ standard approach to architecture was to design a structure symmetrical in plan, elevation and detail, and sheath it in a period or style suitable to the client’s needs. The best known example of his symmetrical design was the old Library Building (1926) at the University of New Mexico. Its symmetrical design utilizes a projecting central mass with flanking wings, sheathed with plastered walls, tall windows, a flat roof, and abstract high relief ornaments on the roof beams. Reminiscent of the formal Spanish Pueblo Revival Style, its design harmonized with other Spanish Revival and Mayan Revival styles on campus. Norris specialized in similarly-designed school buildings that reflected a variety of styles, including the Longfellow School (1927), the Harwood Girls’ School (1925), and school buildings in Estancia and Mountainair. Norris built additions to numerous schools and other institutions in New Mexico, including: Santa Barbara School and Padillo School, Bernalillo County; Belen Grade School; Mountainview School; Washington Jr. High; St. Anthony’s Orphanage (Albuquerque); Maternity Hospital (Albuquerque); Women and Children’s Hospital; St. Mary’s Hospital, (Gallup); North 4th Street Gospel Hall; the Woman’s Club Building; and Lincoln Jr. High, (Albuquerque). Norris’ apartment houses and commercial buildings retained his symmetrical design. His residential designs utilized more variety including the Mediterranean Style of the Meyer Osoff residence (1927) and John Milne residence (1916). Norris designed and remodeled several buildings for the Methodist Sanitarium (1920, Albuquerque), most of them in the California Mission Revival Style. Norris’ churches include the Spanish M.E. Church (Albuquerque), a California Mission Revival Style building, considered his freest design.

In 1930 E. H. Norris and Co. expanded to include Joseph B. Burwinkle and William S. McMahon, becoming Burwinkle and McMahon in 1931. Norris moved to Riverside, California, in 1931, where he died three months later.

Source: Pratt, Boyd C., Lazzell, Carleen and Chris Wilson, Directory of Historic New Mexico Architects. Unpublished manuscript, 1988.


4 drawers (0.85 linear feet)


The Elson H. Norris Architectural Drawings and Plans collection includes architectural drawings and plans for private residences and commercial buildings in the cities of Albuquerque, Belen, Casa Colorada (Turn), Cedarvale, Estancia, Gallup, Mountainair, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, completed between the years 1913-1927.

Related Archival Materials

Joseph B. Burwinkle Drawings and Plans Collection, University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research HABS Photographs and Documentation of St. Anthony’s Orphanage Classroom-Dormitory, Auditorium, and Chapel, University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
Finding Aid of the Elson H. Norris Architectural Drawings and Plans, 1913-1927
Julie McGilvray
© 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131