EDWARD KNEEZELL, architect, El Paso, was born in Pennsylvania in the early fifties. His father was a builder and it was but natural that his son, after completing his education in the public and private schools, should become a student in a prominent architect’s office. His opportunities for blending the theoretical with the practical details pertaining to the business were exceptionally good, and the many intricacies of construction and planning were carefully looked for and mastered. After three years of hard and applied studies he visited many of the largest cities of the country and served in several of the best architect]s offices, and then engaged in business for himself, which has been continuous for over twenty-five years, with the exception of several years’ engineering and construction work with the Mexican Central Railroad. Early in 1901 he became a member of the American Institute of Architects, the highest association of the profession in the country.
The science of archaeology has been of absorbing interest to Mr. Kneezell, and his few periods of vacations have been devoted to visiting those sections of country where ancient ruins abound. His visits have extended through Mexico, Central and South America. It was from such at rip of exploration through the canyons and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, far from the beaten trails of travel, where ancient ruins and temples of past civilization are preserved in their rock-ribbled fastness to an extent that will richly repay those who have sufficient interest to visit them, that he arrived in El Paso late in the fall of 1882. El Paso, with its superb climate, its bustling activity and unbounded possibilities to become a twentieth century city upon the borders of an old and new civilization, appealed so strongly to him that El Paso and the State of Texas was adopted as his home, and since that time he has been identified with its growth. The faith he has always had for the future of the City of El Paso is evidenced by the character and stability of the structures erected by him; cottages, residences, business blocks, schools, etc., have all received the careful and conscientious effort to serve the best interests of his clients. That these interest have been well safeguarded the esteem and interests have been well safeguarded the esteem and patronage he enjoys speaks for his ability and integrity. El Paso cannot as yet boast of architectural monuments, but when it is borne in mind that the taste of the client is often deplorable and is usually obsessed with theories of his own, which are usually as deep-rooted as they are wrong, the layman can have some faint perception of the worry to secure good architecture. The people, self-made and self-reliant, are advised with an ill-grace. The habit of deference to professional opinion is as weak in Western American as it is strong in Europe. Only architects with experience can know what the demands upon professional loyalty are, and what is required in building a new city in the great Southwest. The large, commodious, well-planned school buildings, the Sheldon Hotel and the six-story fireproof office building for the Southwestern Railroad now under course of construction are but a few of the products of his skill of the many homes planned by him, will link inseparably his name with the builders of the destined “Imperial City of the Southwest”—El Paso.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp, 451-452.