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Architecture of Maude Darling-Parlin

Fall River Cooperative Bank Fall River Cooperative Bank

Fall River Women's City Club Fall River Women's City Club
Photographs courtesy of the city of Fall River.

Maude Darling-Parlin (1885-1979), architect

At a time when many women architects were confined to the design of residential buildings, Maude Darling-Parlin stood out as a designer of civic and commercial buildings. Her association with her father's firm, which she joined after graduating from MIT, and the later work of Darling & Parlin, a firm she co-founded with her brother, gave Darling-Parlin the opportunity to overcome the difficulties many women architects faced in obtaining commissions for work except in residential design. Examples of her success include three non-residential buildings she designed in the Downtown Fall River Historic District and one outside the district, the Women's Club of Fall River, which she remodeled. Built in 1916, the Buffington Building, an imposing, 5-story brick, pier and spandrel office building, is attributed to Darling-Parlin alone. It features a relatively straightforward classical style with a copper-medallion frieze and bracketed cornice. Darling & Parlin also designed the magnificent limestone, Art Deco style Fall River Cooperative Bank and the Classical Revival style, 3-story Fall River Trust Company. Knowing the work of women architects largely depended on enlightened clients, organizations such as women's clubs and the YWCA purposefully sought out women to design or remodel their buildings. Around 1925, Darling-Parlin remodeled the building at 542 Walnut Street for use as the Women's Club of Fall River. The new facade was quintessentially Colonial Revival style with a pedimented entrance. Darling-Parlin also designed the interior ornamentation. Darling-Parlin retired at the age of 91 and died at the age of 94 in 1979. She left behind a legacy of impressive buildings, theaters, churches and more than 100 Fall River homes.

The Women's Club of Fall River is located at 542 Walnut St. and is not open to the public. The Fall River Cooperative Bank at 26-30 Bedford St., the Fall River Trust Company at 25-35 North Main St. and the Buffington Building at 10-18 Purchase St. are businesses, and open to the public.

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Last Modified: Monday, 30-Mar-98 15:42:58EST