Mifflin E. Bell

Mifflin Emlen Bell
Born (1847-10-20)October 20, 1847
East Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania
Died May 31, 1904(1904-05-31) (aged 56)
Chicago, IL
Nationality American
Occupation Architect
Buildings Several US Post Offices, Courthouses, and Customhouses

Mifflin Emlen Bell (October 20, 1847[1] – May 31, 1904[2]), often known as M.E. Bell, was an American architect who served from 1883 to 1886 as Supervising Architect of the US Treasury Department. Bell delegated design responsibilities to staff members, which resulted in a large variety of building styles, including Second Empire, Châteauesque, Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque.[3]

Life and career

Bell was born on a farm in East Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania to Chalhly Bell & Mary Emlen.[4] He married Addie Vanhoff on June 7, 1871, and by 1876 he was living in Springfield, Illinois with his wife and two children, working as Assistant Superintendent of the statehouse.[1] Bell's tenure as Supervising Architect for the US Treasury began on November 1, 1883, with an annual salary of $4,500 (equivalent to $114,477 today).[5] He was member of the Joint Commission to Complete the Washington Monument, and his name is engraved on the north face of the monument's capstone. Bell submitted his resignation from the position by mid-1887 and moved to Chicago. In Chicago, Bell was appointed as superintendent of repairs for the city's federal buildings, and was in charge of federal buildings at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.[6] He died in Chicago of pneumonia in 1904.[7]

Many of his works survive and a number of these are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).[8]



  1. 1 2 John Carroll Power; Sarah A. Power; Old Settlers' Society of Sangamon County (Ill.) (1876). History of the early settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois. Edwin A. Wilson & Co. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  2. "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922". FamilySearch. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  3. HCRS nomination form
  4. "United States Census, 1850". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  5. American almanac and treasury of facts, 1887
  6. Architects to the nation By Antoinette Josephine Lee
  7. "M.E. Bell, Architect, Dead.". Chicago Daily Tribune. 2 June 1904. p. 9. Retrieved 6 August 2014 via Newspapers.com.
  8. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "The American Architect and Building News". XX (560). 18 September 1886: 134. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  10. Maine Historic Preservation Commission (11 January 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form" (PDF). NPS.gov. National Park Service. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  11. NRHP nom with accompanying photos
  12. "Monroe County Courthouse". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-02-15.
Preceded by
James G. Hill
Office of the Supervising Architect
Succeeded by
William A. Freret
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