Proudfoot & Bird, et al. was considered the foremost architecture firm in the state. They had approximately 660 commissions in Iowa from 1885 to 1940; half of which were in Des Moines. With projects in 117 communities in 64 counties; 15 cites had more than five projects with its border. They also had 88 projects in 11 other states. Today there are 25 Proudfoot & Bird buildings standing in Des Moines alone, and 54 examples of their work nationwide are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Only the barest of facts are known about W. T. Proudfoot and G. W. Bird. Proudfoot was born in 1860 in Indianola, Iowa, working for the architecture firm of Foster & Liebbe in Des Moines from 1880 to 1882. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Tech (MIT) in the fall of 1884, but attended for only one semester. G.W. Bird was born in NJ and lived in Philadelphia. He developed his sense of detail by working for a woodworking mill, and also received some training at  the T-Square Club in Philadelphia, a Beaux-Arts styled club of architecture.

The two men moved to Wichita, where after some success, they suffered bankruptcy during the financial panic of 1880. They then moved to Salt Lake City, following the work available at the time. They settled in Des Moines in 1896, and arrived as accomplished and mature architects. They were successful due to their combination of talents. Their competence in design was coupled with their success in getting contracts and working with clients, and their reputation for listening to their clients and staying within budgets made them popular. The partners of the firm changed over the years. The firm produced 135 buildings, many of them major civic or educational buildings – in many diverse styles. Many of the firms’ historic drawings are in the archives at their successor firm of BBS Architects + Engineers in Des Moines.

William T. Proudfoot (1860-1928)
Born in Indianola, IA
Trained at MIT

George W. Bird (1854-1953)
Born in New Jersey

Harry D. Rawson (1872-1934)
Born in Des Moines, IA
Apprenticed with George E. Hallett


Proudfoot & Bird (1882-1910)

Wichita, Kansas from 1885-1889

Salt Lake City, Utah 1890-1895

Des Moines 1895+

  • 1898 Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa
  • 1900 Auditorium Building, University of Northern Iowa
  • 1901-02 Dallas County Courthouse, Adel
  • 1902-06 Polk County Courthouse
  • 1906 Central Building (Beardshear Hall), Iowa State University
  • 1906 Flynn Building Addition
  • 1910-9 Des Moines Coliseum (destroyed by fire 1949)
  • 1910 Des Moines Municipal Building (in association with Liebbe, Nourse & Rasmussen, Hallett and Rawson, and Wetherell and Gage)


Proudfoot, Bird & Rawson (1910-1925)

  • 1909-11 Jasper County Courthouse, Newton
  • 1909 Warfield Pratt Howell Warehouse (100 Court)
  • 1910-11 Northwestern Hotel
  • 1912 East High School
  • 1912 Masonic Temple (Temple for Performing Arts)
  • 1912 YMCA (Iowa Dept for the Blind)
  • 1913 Hubbell Building (Hubbell Tower Apartments)
  • 1913 Foster Building
  • 1913 Des Moines Club (Suites of 800 Locust)
  • 1914 Teachout Building
  • 1917 Greene County Courthouse, Jefferson
  • 1918 Hotel Pattee, Perry
  • 1919 Hotel Fort Des Moines
  • 1920-23 Pocahontas County Courthouse, Pocahontas
  • 1923 Equitable Building
  • 1923 Lincoln High School
  • 1924 Liberty Building
  • 1924 Roosevelt High School


Proudfoot, Rawson & Souers (1925-1928)

  • 1926-27 State Fish and Game Pavilion, Iowa State Fairgrounds


Proudfoot, Rawson, Souers & Thomas (1928-1933)

  • 1930 Burton (Des Moines) Building
  • 1931 First Church of Christ Scientist 3750 Grand Ave
  • 1932 Iowa Des Moines National Bank Building (US Bank)


Proudfoot, Rawson. Brooks & Borg (c. 1933-1945)

  • 1937 Fire Station Headquarters (DM Social Club)


Brooks – Borg Architects – Engineers (1945-1966)

  • 1964 Federal Office Building (Neal Smith Federal Building) (in association with 3 additional firms: Savage-Ver Ploeg, Brooks Borg and Wetherell Harrison Wagner))


Brooks Borg and Skiles Architects Engineers (1966-1995)

  • 1970 EMC Home Office Building
  • 1979 Fourth and Grand Parking Garage
  • 1980 Elsie Mason Manor
  • 1976 Federal Home Loan Bank (DMPS Downtown School & Office Building)
  • 1986 Polk County Convention Center (YMCA)
  • 1993 Court Ave Parking Garage (3rd and Court)


Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture Engineering LLP (1995 – present)

  • 1997 EMC East Tower
  • 2006 EMC / City of Des Moines Parking Garage
  • 2016 EMC 219 8th Street