Charles A. Dieman

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Charles A. Dieman was an accomplished architect who spent a large portion ofhis professional career in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from where he drew plans for buildings all over Eastern Iowa and points beyond. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to a Prussian immigrant father and a mother whose parents were also from Prussia, as a youth Charles lived in a working class neighborhood largely populated by such Prussian immigrants. During the 1880 federal census, taken when Charles was seven, government enumerators also recorded a few families in the neighborhood who had immigrated from Bohemia and Austria. Dieman's father was a carpenter and his neighbors worked as painters, butchers, and in similar crafts.

That research into Charles Dieman's architectural career and the various buildings he designed was limited to Iowa sources. research suggests, however, that Dieman worked in Houston,5 Denver, and Santa Fe after he left Iowa and may be responsible for more buildings in those cities. Dieman's practice in Iowa was not restricted to residential or commercial buildings, but was a general practice that ranged from large and ornate Queen Anne and Colonial Revival residences, to industrial warehouses, to public schools, to civic, fraternal, and organizational facilities such as the Sokol Gymnasium. He clearly had learned the decorative programs that could be applied to basic structural forms in order to achieve specific popular styles. Tipton, Iowa, in particular benefited from Dieman's early residential work at the tum ofthe century with a number ofwell-detailed Queen Anne houses, mostly extant and with very good integrity today. Dieman must have drawn on his carpenter's training to aid in the structural aspects of his designs, though at least one of his buildings caused him problems when an upper floor began to sag and Dieman was publicly accused of not knowing his business. He weathered this storm, apparently rather easily, and within a few years had become the president ofthe AlA Iowa chapter. (page 16)

Clermont Public School (Fayette County, Iowa)
Sokol Gymnasium (Linn County, Iowa)