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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
L. Rodman Nichols

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 529-530 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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L. Rodman Nichols is a leading architect of Schenectady whose handiwork is seen in many of the large and substantial structures of the city and whose professional services are in constant demand. He was born in Wickford, Rhode Island, in April, 1875, his parents being Philogne M. and Elvira (Pierce) Nichols, both of whom were natives of Wickford, Rhode Island. The father, who was long identified with industrial interests in Providence and Wickford, Rhode Island, as a manufacturer, passed away in the year 1917. His surviving widow still resides in Wickford.

In the acquirement of an education L. Rodman Nichols attended the grade and high schools of Wickford and subsequently pursued a course of study in Rhode Island College, from which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1893. He then entered the Rhode Island School of Design, in which he completed a course by graduation in 1897. At the same time he familiarized himself with the carpenter's trade. After spending one year in the profession of architecture at Wickford, he was associated for eighteen months with the Flint Construction Company as engineer on the Plymouth Cordage Works at Plymouth, Massachusetts. He afterward worked for eight months with C. R. Makepeace in Providence and through the succeeding period of six and one-half years had charge of the drafting room of the firm of Horton & Hemingway of Providence and Boston. It was in 1905 that Mr. Nichols came to Schenectady and took charge of the architectural office of A. G. Lindley, whom he joined as a partner at the end of a year, continuing in association with him for two years. On the 1st of January, 1908, he embarked upon an independent venture, opening an office for the practice of the profession of architecture at No. 458 State street in Schenectady, where he has remained active to the present time. He opened a branch office in Albany on the 1st of January, 1912, and later became associated with W. J. Obenaus of that city, with whom he, was connected from 1913 until 1921. During this period he also maintained his Schenectady office, with the exception of the year 1917, which he spent in the government employ as chief draftsman in the government warehouse at South Schenectady. In 1921 he discontinued his work at the Albany office. He has designed more than eighteen hundred buildings in Schenectady and Albany, including the Schenectady high school [Editorial note: probably Schenectady High School which became Nott Terrace High School], the Hough building and the Buell & McDonald building, while many important structures in Albany also stand as monuments to his architectural skill and ability. Mr. Nichols is the president of the Schenectady Cast Stone Company and also has farming interests in this section. A man of excellent business ability and sound judgment, a well merited measure of success has attended his undertakings.

In August, 1905, Mr. Nichols was united in marriage to Miss Bertha May Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Erasmus D. Smith, both of whom were natives of Albany, and both have passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols make their home at No. 1739 Union street in Schenectady and are widely and favorably known throughout the city. The former is a republican in politics and has membership in the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, the Schenectady Automobile Club, the Kiwanis Club and the Schenectady Boat Club. He served for four years as president of the Niskayuna Improvement Association. His name is likewise on the membership rolls of the Albany Architectural and Engineering Club and the State Society of Architects. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order, belonging to Washington Lodge, No. 5, A. F. & A. M., of Wickford, Rhode Island; St. George's Chapter, R. A. M., of Schenectady; St. George's Commandery, K. T., of Schenectady; and Oriental Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Troy. He also belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and to the Young Men's Christian Association and in religious faith is a Baptist. He is interested in all those forces which have to do with civic righteousness and upbuilding, and his cooperation and support can be counted upon to further all plans and measures for Schenectady's improvement.

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