Copper Country Architects

Claude & Starck
Louis W. Claude
Edward F. Starck

by Chase Sturos




The Wisconsin-based architects Louis W. Claude (1868-1951) and Edward F. Starck (1868-1947) produced a wide range of buildings, but specialized in institutional structures. Among them were more than thirty public libraries throughout Wisconsin and its surrounding states, including the Houghton Public Library (Portage Lake District Library).


Louis W. Claude was born in 1868 in Devils Lake, Wisconsin. He attended the public schools of Baraboo and Madison as a child and in 1891 graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in civil engineering. Before beginning his partnership with Starck, Claude worked with firms such as Schlacks & Ottenheimer, Adler & Sullivan, and Burnham & Root.1

Edward F. Starck was born in 1868 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended the public schools of Madison as a child. Starck received no formal education after high school, but he was an accomplished draftsman. He worked in the offices of D. R. Jones in Madison, E. Townsend Mix in Milwaukee, and Handy & Cady in Chicago before beginning his partnership with Claude.2

It is not known how Claude and Stark became acquainted, but in 1896, when Claude returned to Madison, they started the firm Claude & Starck. Their practice included dozens of libraries throughout the upper Midwest, as well as the Mineral Point (WI) Municipal Building, Opera House, and Library of 1914-15.3  They continued in partnership until 1929, when the firm was dissolved by mutual consent. Starck passed away in October 1947 and Claude in August 1951, both in Madison.