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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community

Maintaining a Certain Character and Dignity: Architect Frederick Weaver, Jr.

James Logan Abell, FAIA

Fred Weaver established an architectural firm in Phoenix in 1949 that grew into one of the most prolific and respected firms in the metropolitan area. Dozens of prominent Arizona architects can trace their professional roots back to the firm of Weaver and Drover Architects, later known as Drover, Welch & Lindlan, and finally, as it exists today, DWL Architects and Planners.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, Terminal 1, 1964

One of the firm’s most noteworthy early assignments occurred in 1955 when the State of Arizona selected Weaver and Drover along with a prominent Tempe-based firm, Kemper Goodwin Architects, to undertake master-planning efforts for the Arizona Capitol Mall. This partnership would lead to more significant projects of landmark status, representing the best of current technology and construction to serve the people of Arizona.

Why were Weaver and Drover successful in mentoring architects and creating impressive buildings? Weaver was a great speaker and marketing genius. "To present a big project to a client, we needed Fred’s skills to talk about it, although he might not have known all the details,” says Hermann Jacobi, a longtime draftsman with the firm. “He would have been able to talk about matchsticks for an hour without knowing their fine details.”

Born on August 30, 1912, in Carlsbad, New Mexico, Frederick Penn Weaver, Jr.'s interest in building likely began with his father. The latter was a construction foreman and water master for the U.S. Reclamation Service in New Mexico. Fred Weaver, Sr. moved his family to Phoenix in 1921 and continued his career in water management with the Salt River Water Users Association as a “zanjero,” ditch rider, and water master. Fred Weaver Jr. acquired a keen appreciation for what water resources represented in the development of a young, expanding city.

ASU's Hayden Library

Weaver exhibited a gift for drawing and watercolor paintings in elementary school and began looking for a career that might mesh with his creative interests while attending Phoenix Union High School. In high school, he also met his future wife, Lois Ann (Maffeo) Weaver.

Lois Ann’s brother, John Maffeo, remembers Weaver as being serious and creative while participating on the debate team and playing coronet in the high school band. After graduating in 1930, Weaver studied engineering and liberal arts at Phoenix College, also participating in band, boxing team, and theater club.

Weaver graduated from Phoenix College in 1932 with an Associate of Arts degree and enrolled in architecture school at the University of Southern California. He was a member of Alpha Rho Chi, the national architectural fraternity, and completed his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1936.

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This article originally appeared in the bimonthly Arizona Contractor & Community magazine, Jan/Feb 2023 issue, Vol. 12, No. 1.


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