Arthur Fehr

Arthur Herman Kilian Fehr was born to Herman Benno Fehr and Selma Ottilie Kilian Fehr in Austin, Texas. He was the second of three sons and reared in lower-middle class, ethnic surroundings. His father was a barber and barber supply salesman. Though both parents were native-born Americans the household language was German. The social focus was the extended family of their local Lutheran church.

Athur Fehr graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture in 1925. He continued his education, studying in graduate programs at Columbia University, New York University, and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City. Before returning to Austin, Fehr worked with Kenneth Murchison in New York and Harvey Smith in San Antonio. In the 1930’s, he worked for the National Park Service on the Bastrop State Park Project in Bastrop, Texas, where he met Charles T. Granger, another Austin native and University of Texas graduate.


In 1938, Fehr and Granger set up a small office with one drafting table in a corner of Peter Mansbendel's studio. The Fehr and Granger Architectural firm was actually born a few years later but it became prominent in Austin until Arthur's death. Most likely Peter and Arthur met at the Austin Saengerrunde. They became close friends and each helped the other secure business as with other German friends in the singing group.

Fehr's first commission was the First English Lutheran Church in Austin.The design was entirely in the Mission style with interior carvings  by Mansbendel. Fehr would also  call on his close friend to carve the doors at Kilan Hall at Concordia University. Arthur Fehr died in Austin in 1969.

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