Charles W. Lane papers: 1935-1997 (bulk 1958-1969)
Summary Information
Title: Charles W. Lane papers
Creator: Lane, Charles W. (Charles Wesley), 1919-
Dates: 1935-1997 (Majority of material found within 1958-1969)
Extent: 4.5 linear feet (in 6 boxes), 7 oversize folders
Abstract:
Architect based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Project files relate to work with George Brigham and his system of constructing prefabricated homes, 1944-1947; files relating to design and construction of Huron High School in Ann Arbor; other projects concern design of mobile home parks and other Michigan school buildings.
Call number: 9840 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Charles Wesley Lane (donor 8716) in 1998; additions were received from the family in 2008.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research, except for some files in box 2 that are restricted to staff use only.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Charles W. Lane papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Charles Wesley Lane was born in 1919. He began his career as an architect by working at construction sites during his summer breaks from the University of Michigan, from 1937 through 1941. He then worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the MacArthur Lock in Sault St. Marie. Following Lane's graduation from the University of Michigan he served in World War II. He was in Louisiana for a short time, helping to supervise construction of a blimp hangar. He then began work as a Photo Interpretation officer and was part of the landing at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He also spent some time in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb. Upon returning he went to work as an architect for George Brigham in Ann Arbor. Brigham's office was divided into two areas, research and production. Lane was assigned to work in research as an architect for Brigham's Progressive Homes Corporation (PHC). The goal of PHC was to design a completely prefabricated home that could be erected in eight hours (with the footings already in place) for the price of $1500. Brigham began the company with funders that included Eugene Cassaroll of Dual Motors. Lane describes the other investors as "auto people from Detroit." The investors disassociated Brigham from the research division when his pace of development did not move along as quickly as they had hoped. The head of PHC was Ira E. "Mickey" Gillen, a former production manager for Chrysler Motors.

Gillen and the investors acquired 100,000 square feet of space in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to manufacture their homes. Gillen arranged for the building supplies to come from a variety of companies across the U.S. In a reflection of Gillen's automotive background, he wanted the pieces of the houses brought to Arkansas and assembled as pieces of a car are brought to a central location to be assembled. Gillen set up dealerships for the houses in every state and in England, France and South America. In South America he had a contract for 10,000 homes and in California a naval station wanted 5,000 houses, if they were financed by the Federal Housing Administration. The first two manufactured homes were built in Indiana, then Wisconsin. At about the fifth or sixth house, the local authorities would not issue a building permit because the local plumbers union was against the use of stamped steel in the building. Gillen had the support of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) over the plumbers, but the FHA still would not finance the homes. This was the end of the company because no one would finance the building of the houses. Since 1947, 400 homes had come off of the assembly line. Those homes were built around Washington D.C. because of a contract the PHC had with the government, which the latter was forced to honor. By 1948, about 250 similar companies producing manufactured homes had sprung up around the United States.

After the failure of PHC, Lane went to work for the Walter Aneche firm in Ann Arbor; he worked at the firm from 1948 to 1952. Lane designed drawings for Good Housekeeping and schools in Michigan. In 1952 Lane established his own firm in Ann Arbor with architects Alex Riebe and Keith Weiland. Lane developed a 24 x 36 steel sheet that was repetitive and was used in about 400 schools in Michigan. Lane designed many schools and residences throughout Michigan with his firm. The firm was hired in the 1960s to design Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was the largest, most unique school that he designed. He originally made 17 designs of the building, all which were rectangular in shape. In an effort to save money he created a circular design that reduced corridor space and cost. Lane was lauded for the unique design and budget reducing measures. In addition to the actual structure, Lane also made recommendations, which were followed, on where Huron Parkway should be placed.

In 1971, shortly after the completion of Huron High School, Lane left his firm to pursue his interest in manufactured housing. Alex Riebe moved the firm to Farmington, Michigan. Lane saw that many of the same obstacles remained, with the exception of the invention of the mobile home park. In the late 1960s Lane designed a mobile home park in Almont, Michigan which was unique because it had paved streets, parking, and landscaping.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection is arranged into five series, Brigham Building System, Lane Projects, Huron High School, Personal and World War II Military Service. The series include the many projects that Charles Wesley Lane worked on during his architectural career and some materials from his military service as well. The collection is composed of photographs, slides, microfilm, microfiche and prints. The researcher will be interested in the variety of architectural projects in which Lane was involved, which include schools, mobile homes, churches, and other types of structures. A small number of photographs of Nagasaki after the atomic bomb may also be of interest.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Architectural practice -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Architects -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Ann Arbor (Mich.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Buildings, Prefabricated.
  • Mobile home parks -- Michigan.
  • Schools -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • World War, 1939-1945.
  • Architectural drawings.
  • Hawaii.
  • Houma (La.)
  • Iwo Jima, Battle of, Japan, 1945.
  • Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands, Japan)
  • Manila (Philippines)
  • Nagasaki-Shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945.
  • Okinawa Island (Japan)
  • Wakayama-Shi (Japan) -- History -- Bombardment, 1945.
  • World War, 1939-1945.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Japan -- Okinawa Island.
  • Military art and science.
  • Mobile homes.
  • Schools -- Michigan.
  • Schools -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • War damage -- Japan -- Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands)
  • War damage -- Japan -- Nagasaki-Shi.
  • War damage -- Japan -- Okinawa Island.
  • War damage -- Japan -- Wakayama-Shi.
  • War damage -- Philippines -- Manila.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Military personnel.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Military life.
  • Architectural drawings.
  • Photographs.
  • Lane, Charles W. (Charles Wesley), 1919-
  • Brigham, George Bickford, 1889-
  • Huron High School (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • Lane, Charles W. (Charles Wesley), 1919-
  • Huron High School (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Brigham Building Systems [series]

The first series Brigham Building System (1944-1947, 1997) consists of prints, research designs and slides that document the process that Charles Lane went through to produce some of the first manufactured homes. The researcher should take special interest in the stress tests that were performed on the building materials at the University of Michigan, with the help of Professor George McConkey. Also of interest are the prints of the several models that Lane proposed.

 
Project Files
Box   1  
Bill of Materials, Model 466-A 1947
Box   1  
Brigham Residence, Ann Arbor, Clipping 1997
Box   1  
Correspondence, Chronological 1947
Box   1  
Cutting Bills 1947
Box   1  
Design Analysis of Panels circa 1947
 
Progressive Homes
Box   1  
Drawings 1947 (2 folders)
Box   1  
Erection Manual circa 1947
Box   1  
General circa 1947
Box   1  
Reports 1944
Box   1  
Slides, Pine Bluff AK 1947
Box   1  
Test Report 1947 (2 folders)

(photos enclosed in first folder)

 
Architectural prints, etc.
Box   5  
Prints of Brigham Building System Models (2 folders)
 
Lane Projects [series]

Lane Projects (1948-1983), the second series, documents the various types of projects, like residences and schools, that Lane spent the majority of his career designing. The researcher should note that in the first subseries - "General" - are two brochures. The brochures show photos, and list many of the projects that Lane's firm designed before 1966. Within this series are several roles of negative microfilm.

 
General Information
Box   5  
Master Contracts
Box   1  
Brochure No 1, Lane, Riebe, and Weiland Architects 1966
Box   1  
Brochure No 2, Lane, Riebe, and Weiland Architects 1966
Box   1  
Brochure for Charles W. Lane Associates, Inc. undated
Box   1  
Lists of Projects, as of 1968
Box   1  
Various Examples undated
 
Project Files
Box   1  
Almont Ordinance No 61 1967
Box   1  
Faust Dental Clinic, Ann Arbor, MI with photos 1954
Box   1  
Kapok Travel Trailer Park, Clearwater, FL 1972
 
Manufactured Housing, slides
Box   1  
1968
 
Mobile Home Manufactures Association with slides
Box   1  
1967
Box   1  
1968
Box   1  
New Concepts in Low Cost Housing from Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation 1967
Box   1  
New Housing System Concepts, Mobile Home Manufacturers Association 1967
Box   1  
Northlane Mobile Home Park and Center Building (photos enclosed) 1971
 
Northlane Mobile Home Park
Box   1  
Clippings 1969
Box   5  
Photos
Box   5  
Reduced tracings of master plan
Box   1  
Slides 1968
 
Residences

(see also oversize drawer)

Box   1  
Slides 1948-1949
 
Schools
 
American School of the International Schools of the Hague

(see also oversize drawer)

Box   1  
Correspondence 1965-1966
Box   1  
Correspondence 1967-1968
Box   1  
Design Program 1972
Box   1  
Drawings 1972
Box   1  
Miscellaneous (photos enclosed) 1965-1966
Box   1  
Almont Elementary School , (photo and slides) 1949, 1953
Box   1  
Cadillac School Survey 1970
Box   1  
Franklin High School, Livonia, MI educational specifications 1960 (2 folders)
Box   1  
Freeland Senior High School educational specifications 1959

(see also microfilm in box 2)

Box   1  
Holly Area Schools, space needs report 1967
Box   1  
Lakewood Elementary School, Ann Arbor, MI 1961
Box   1  
Lewis L. Forsythe Junior High School 1960
Box   1  
Ontonagon School Study, University of Michigan Bureau of School Services 1970
Box   1  
Orchard Hills Elementary School, Novi, MI photo 1958

(see also microfilm in box 2)

Box   1  
St. Mary's Lake Conference, "How to Plan Better Secondary Schools," 1957
Box   1  
School District List, Staff and Board of Education Members 1967-1969
Box   1  
Stevenson High School, Livonia MI educational specifications 1965

(see also microfilm in box 2)

Box   1  
University of Michigan Biological Station at Douglas Lake photo 1983

(see also prints in oversize drawer, folder 4)

 
Miscellaneous Schools
Box   1  
Clippings 1960-1967
Box   1  
Microfiche and photos 1967-1968
Box   1  
Photos circa 1950-1970
Box   1  
Slides 1948-1964
Box   5  
Photos
 
Microfilm of miscellaneous projects (13 film reels (master negative only))
 
Bates and Wylie Schools, Dexter, MI
Box   2  
Additions, Specifications and Addenda 1967
Box   2  
Educational Equipment for Additions 1968
Box   2  
Lakewood Elementary School, Ann Arbor, MI: plans, specifications and addenda 1966
Box   2  
Lincoln Community Evangelical United Brethren Church, Ypsilanti, MI 1967 [Restricted; staff only]
Box   2  
Lincoln and Jefferson Elementary School, Wayne, MI: additions, plans and specifications 1966 [Restricted; staff only]
Box   2  
Livonia, MI, Section 31 Elementary School: Plans and Specifications 1968 [Restricted; staff only]
Box   2  
Municipal Airport, Ann Arbor, MI: Service Hanger Plans and Specifications 1968 [Restricted; staff only]
Box   2  
Novi Elementary School, Novi, MI: Remodeling Plans and Specifications 1968 [Restricted; staff only]
Box   2  
University of Michigan North Campus Development Inter-Council 1969 [Restricted; staff only]
 
Huron High School [series]

(see also oversize drawer, folders 5-7 and microfilm in box 2)

The third series, Huron High School (1964-1997) contains materials that were used in the building of Huron High School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. These materials include what Lane referred to as "production books" which document the day-to-day progress of construction, prints of architectural drawings and educational specifications guides in which the staff of the future high school specified what their needs would be in the new building. The unique circular design of the school required that Lane draw his original designs on Mylar so that the circular pattern would be completely accurate; the use of Mylar at that time was seen as a novelty. This series contains articles that were written about the high school and published in a variety of magazines.

Box   3  
Ann Arbor by Windsor Publications 1967
Box   3  
Architectural Forum, advertisement for Republic Steel Lockers 1972
 
Binders on progress (4 folders)
Box   3  
1964-1965
Box   3  
1966
Box   3  
1966
Box   3  
1966
Box   3  
Circular Physical Education Complex, Use of Tectum Form Plank 1967
Box   3  
Construction Report 1966-1967
Box   3  
Data Sheet and Educational Specifications Summary 1966
Box   3  
Dead File circa 1964 (2 folders)
 
Educational Specifications
Box   4  
1964-1966
Box   4  
1965-1966
Box   4  
1966
Box   4  
1967
Box   4  
Exhibition Model and Display Boards for National School Board Conference and Exhibit 1965
Box   4  
Harris, Judy. CAM magazine freelance writer
Box   4  
Journal of American Concrete Institute, article about A.Z. Schmina
Box   4  
Nations Schools Report on Award Winning Schools 1967
Box   4  
"6.7 Million for New Swimming Pool," clipping 1997
Box   4  
Tectum Trends article 1971
Box   4  
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration 1993
Box   5  
Photos (2 folders)
 
Personal [series]

The Personal series includes material documenting Lane's education and early employment. A small number of photographs of Lane are also included.

 
Clippings
Box   6  
Almont, Michigan
Box   6  
Atomic Bomb
Box   6  
Iwo Jima
Box   6  
Miscellaneous
Box   6  
Education and Employment Record 1935-1948
 
Photographs
Box   6  
Charles Wesley (Wes) Lane
Box   6  
Miscellaneous
Box   6  
Scholarship to Cranbrook Academy of Art 1941
Box   6  
University of Michigan Senior Thesis 1941-1942
 
World War II Military Service [series]

The last series, World War II Military Service, includes scrapbooks and photographs from Lane's service in the U.S. Navy. One scrapbook is dedicated to Lane's service in Louisiana and another documents a period of leave in Hawaii. There are also photographs of various events and locations in Japan. The landings and occupation of Iwo Jima and Okinawa are depicted. Also, there a small number of photographs showing the destruction in Nagasaki after the dropping of the atom bomb.

Box   6  
Correspondence
Box   6  
General
 
Photographs
Box   6  
Fuji Yama (Mt. Fuji), Japan undated
Box   6  
Houma, Louisiana 1943
Box   6  
Iwo Jima, Japan 1945
Box   6  
Manila, Philippines 1945
Box   6  
Nagasaki, Japan (includes atomic bomb damage) 1945
Box   6  
Okinawa, Japan 1945
Box   6  
Sasebo, Japan 1945
Box   6  
Various Locations, Japan 1945, undated
Box   6  
Wakayama, Japan 1945
Box   6  
Unidentified
 
Scrapbooks
Box   6  
Hawaii 1944
Box   6  
Louisiana 1943-1944
Box   6  
Miscellaneous