Horner Architectural Photography Collection, MS 110
Benjamin Bean Horner (1893-1971) was an architect who practiced in Southern California, primarily Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
He was born in Michigan to William C. Horner, a drafter for a furniture factory, and his wife, Emily, both natives of England. The family also lived in Indiana when Benjamin was a teen. He graduated from Purdue University and belonged to the Tau Beta Pi Association, a national engineering honor society. Horner then served in World War I with the Army Engineering Corps.
By 1920, he was single and living in Los Angeles, listing his occupation in the federal census as a "technical engineer" in the machine manufacturing industry. The 1930 census finds him still living in Los Angeles and married to his first wife, Adelaide (1897-193?), with his occupation now described as a civil engineer. Passenger list records show that the couple spent time overseas, sailing to and from New York and England in the fall of 1926. Horner's second wife, Esther Ruth Vanrossum (1901-1985), was from his home state of Michigan. They were married in the 1930s, with three sons born to them (William, Benjamin Harold, and Peter). The Horners lived in Santa Barbara until 1948 when they moved to Ojai.
While abroad visiting England and the Continent during the 1920s, Horner photographed the historic buildings, manor houses, and villages found in this collection. The images include elevations as well as close-ups; his keen eye for architectural detail is reflected in these photographic studies.
Back in the U. S., Horner's travels throughout California during the 1920s led him to explore the state's romantic past. His photos of historic adobe structures from the Spanish and Mexican periods of history strongly evoke this bygone era.
Among his documented architectural commissions is the Croyden House, built in 1928 at 165 Middle Road, Montecito, California. This house was supposedly originally designed for his one-time business partner, a Mr. Hawkins. Other clients included silent film stars Noah Beery, Carol Dempster and Jack Mulhall.
Benjamin Bean Horner died on May 21,1971 at the age of 77 while traveling abroad.
- "Benjamin Horner." [Obituary] The Ojai Valley News. 26 May 1971: n.pag.
- California Death Index (1940-1997), Ancestry.com
- "Church Prayer Chapel Chosen as Memorial." Los Angeles Times 26 March 1940: n.pag.
- 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 U. S. Census, Ancestry.com
- Santa Barbara Photo Tours: Listing Information, 165 Middlefield Road.< http://www.sbphototours.com/Preview/default.php?ListingID=3160&AgentID=703&branded=1 >.
- Social Security Death Index, Ancestry.com
- World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.com