Henry Frazier

The Architecture of Henry F. Frazier

Henry Frazier

Nappanee, Indiana 46550, United States

Created By: Nappanee Public Library


Henry Francis Frazier was born on January 8, 1849, in Starke County, Ohio. His mother was only fifteen when she had him so when he was very young his mother and grandparents moved to Hilldale, Michigan. They only stayed there for a year and then they moved to Elkhart County and lived near the old Pippenger farm in Union Township near the school, cemetery, and church. Henry continued to live with his grandparents even after his mother was married.

After completing country school with good grades, Henry began attending a normal school in Goshen during the summer and was teaching during the rest of the year in Union Township schools. He eventually attended a normal school in Terre Haute, IN but did not qualify to graduate because he would not study Latin. He was a man of many talents and had learned how to play the fiddle and would call and play at many country dances in his neighborhood. When he was 27, he traveled to Philadelphia to attend the Centennial Exposition and remained there for a year, and worked in a combined grocery store and meat market.

Henry worked as a teacher and eventually a principal in the Nappanee schools for 18 years. He had served 5 years as the principal. He worked the carpenter trade early in life and had served a regular apprenticeship and worked as one during periods of vacation from school. While Henry had been working on a contractor on the building of the First Methodist Church, he caught sight of his first architectural plans. At the age of 37, he stopped teaching and gave his entire time to carpentry, contracting, and the study of architecture. As time went on his services as an estimator, architect and contractor increased in demand.

In 1890, Coppes brothers were manufacturing veranda and gables. They were making their business on offering special features of furnishing building materials. Henry Frazier furnished many of the designs that were added to their line. The designs added some neat and tastefully finished houses that were being built in Nappanee. In 1892, contractors – Coppes Brothers and Zook and Henry Frazier, the architect and builder worked on the Evangelical- Mennonite Union Church. It has a capacity of 300 and a gothic style architecture with a steeple and belfry and a stained-glass window. It was a total cost of $2620. In 1902, Henry was accepting bids to erect a schoolhouse in Nappanee and he was designing an addition of the I-XL factory in Goshen and furnished plans to build a home for the Goshen Mayor.

A little-known fact about Henry Frazier is that was for a time he and his son Clarence (Dick) carried on a few years in medicine. There was this old “distemper remedy” that had been in the Frazier family for many years and Henry happened to know the recipe. Henry and Clarence planned to patent and manufacture it. They secured Emma Frazier Mishler’s husband (Henry’s Uncle) to make the distemper. They then went ahead and applied for a patent using the name Sulpho-Tri-Terpenes and arranged for the bottling and labeling of it. They soon discovered that the recipe was stolen by the Binkley’s and sold as Frazier’s Distemper Cure.

Henry Frazier designed many of the homes in Nappanee. These included the Historic John Hartman House, Claude Stoops, Albert Mutschler, and his own at the corner of Hartman and VanBuren streets. He also designed the Fred Freese home that showed off his monumental skill as an architect. It featured both wood and stone. He also designed homes in Bremen and Goshen. In 1891, he had 10 houses underway.

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Architecture of Henry F. Frazier


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