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Edwin A. Keeble

An important twentieth-century architect, Edwin A. Keeble was born in Monteagle Assembly, the fourth of six children of John Bell and Emmie Frazer Keeble. His father was a Nashville attorney and later the dean of the Vanderbilt University Law School. Consequently, Keeble's early education took place in Nashville, where he attended Montgomery Bell Academy before entering Vanderbilt to study engineering at the age of sixteen. Keeble completed his Vanderbilt engineering degree in 1924, and that fall he entered the University of Pennsylvania for training in architecture. After two years there, Keeble spent the summer of 1926 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Artistiques at Fontainebleau and then used the next year to study under Georges Gromort at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.

Keeble returned to the United States and completed his architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1928. He practiced privately in Nashville before entering into an association with engineer and architect Francis B. Warfield. This firm operated for the next fifteen years, producing a series of distinguished buildings for both private and public clients, including a series of Tennessee National Guard armories funded by the Works Progress Administration during the late 1930s.

Keeble was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Navy in 1944. In 1946 he reopened a private practice in Nashville, completing numerous projects in Tennessee and across the nation until his retirement in 1970. Important Tennessee buildings associated with either Keeble, or the firm of Warfield and Keeble, are Nashville's Westminister Presbyterian Church, Woodmont Christian Church, and Vine Street Christian Church; several buildings at the University of the South; facilities at Vanderbilt University; and the landmark Life and Casualty Tower, Nashville's and the state's best extant example of a 1950s modern skyscraper.

In addition to his prominence as a designer, Keeble also educated promising students and young architects. He taught briefly at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt and helped to organize the Nashville Architectural Studio during the late 1920s and early 1930s. He died in Sewanee in 1979.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010