Edgar Lazarus II, whose ancestors were among the early Sephardic arrivals in the United States, made important contributions to Portland life as an architect and in the city’s sports community.

According to a biography by Edward H. Teague, head of the University of Oregon’s Architecture & Allied Arts Library, Lazarus said that his family, longtime residents of Charleston, SC, came to the Americas from Spain in the 16th century with the explorer Hernando de Soto.

Lazarus was born in Baltimore, MD, in 1868, and graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art and Design in 1888. After briefly working for the military in Washington, D.C., he moved to Portland in 1891, where he at times was a partner in several prominent architectural firms as well as being a solo practitioner.

He is perhaps most noted for his design of the Vista House at Crown Point, but he also designed the Clatsop and Morrow County courthouses, a 1903-04 extension of Portland Pioneer Courthouse and the Palace of Architecture at the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. He also was supervising architect for the Portland Customs House and designed numerous private homes.

In the Jewish community, Lazarus designed the first Neighborhood House and the Ahavai Sholom synagogue on Southwest Park Avenue.
He was a founding member of the Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects, also serving as chapter president. He also was a founder of the Portland Hunt Club and designed the first Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club building.

Lazarus died in Portland on Oct. 2, 1939, at the age of 71. Carl Gohs, a Portland architectural writer, said in a 1969 article in The Oregonian that Lazarus “is among the least known of major architects to have practiced in Oregon.”

For more information about Edgar Lazarus, see a biography by Edward H. Teague, head of the University of Oregon’s Architecture & Allied Arts Library: pages.uoregon.edu/ehteague/lazarus

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