Architect Elmer Forrest Jacobs died in Morgantown on October 9, 1945, at age 79.
The Preston County native attended West Virginia University and the Carnegie Institute of Technology before he began designing fire-resistant factories in Pittsburgh. In 1894, Jacobs set up his architectural practice in Morgantown.
Jacobs designed homes, factories, banks, mills, churches, post offices, and schools in northern West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In particular, his work can be seen in downtown Morgantown, including two wings of WVU’s historic Woodburn Hall. He also redesigned the Seneca Glass building on Beechurst Avenue after a fire, and designed the nearby Union Stopper Company building, later known as Beaumont Glass.
Jacobs’s career coincided with Morgantown’s growth in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the city increased in population from 2,000 to 10,000, thanks largely to the expansion of WVU, the development of the glass industry and other industries, and the arrival of European immigrants. As a result, the demand for housing, education buildings, and commercial structures was critical.
Most of Elmer Jacobs’s buildings that still stand in Morgantown are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.