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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Bauer, Adolphus Gustavus

by Beth Crabtree, 1979; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, June 2023

4 Dec. 1858–14 May 1898

North Carolina Executive Mansion, 23 April 2004. Designed by Bauer and Samuel Sloan. From General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives, call #:  D.2006.11.121, Raleigh, NC.Adolphus Gustavus Bauer, architect, was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, of German parents from Brunswick and Hanover. He graduated from Bethany College, W.Va., in June 1879 and later studied portrait painting at an art school in Cincinnati. In 1881 he joined Samuel Sloan, well-known Philadelphia architect, as chief draftsman. Bauer went to Raleigh, N.C., with Sloan in 1883 and lived there until his death. From 1880 to 1889 his work took him to nearly every state west of the Mississippi and south of New England. In the fall of 1889 and the following spring, Bauer traveled abroad, visiting Scotland, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the northern coast of Africa.

Sloan designed some of the finest public buildings in the country and was particularly noted for his work on mental hospitals. Bauer worked with him on numerous projects, including the state hospitals at Morganton and at Columbia. A number of buildings in Raleigh were designed by Sloan—a Gothic two-story structure at St. Mary's, a building at St. Augustine's Normal School, an addition to Peace College and the Centennial Graded School. Bauer was credited with making specifications for the main exhibition building at the North Carolina State Exposition. One of the most distinctive buildings by Sloan and Bauer was the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh. Sloan died in 1884 before completion of the house, and Bauer continued his work. In his extension of the Agriculture Building, Bauer was complimented for an interior "admirable with ample space and light" and was recognized as "one who has much taste and ability in such matters." He was appointed architect for an opera house planned by the city. Among other buildings designed by Bauer was the Baptist Female Seminary (Meredith College), located on the block south of the executive mansion and similar to it in design. Bauer advertised as draftsman and consulting architect for buildings of every description throughout the state. Included were cottages, villas, city dwellings, churches, schools, banks, hotels, railroad depots, county jails and courthouses, stores, opera houses, farmhouses, factories, small barns, and stables—from the most artistic and costly to the plainest and cheapest. He also designed machinery; iron, stone, or wooden bridges; monuments; and furniture.

Bauer committed suicide in May 1898. His death followed a deep depression after the death of his wife. Another contributing factor, according to an account in the local newspaper, was a head injury sustained two years previously, when he was struck by a train while crossing railroad tracks at the depot in Durham. His injury led to brief confinements in a mental hospital. He evidently recognized his periods of melancholia, stating in a suicide note: "I wish to say that if I, by violence to myself should die, I wish to be buried by the side of my wife, in Raleigh, N.C., where I have so long sojourned and among the Southern people I have liked so well." He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery next to the monument erected to Rachel Blythe Bauer.

In June 1895, Bauer married Rachel Blythe of the Cherokees of Swain County. Her family were leaders of the tribe, but Rachel was educated at an orphanage and later studied stenography at the Raleigh Business College. She completed her studies in 1891 and began working as a stenographer and typewriter at the insurance office of R.D. Robinson.  She was a stamp clerk at the Raleigh Post Office. Rachel joined the First Presbyterian Church, and the couple lived near the corner of North Wilmington and Jones streets. The Bauers had two children, the youngest five years old when his mother died. The eldest, a daughter, was raised by her father's family in Belleair, Ohio, and the boy, Fred, was sent to the Cherokee reservation. He became vice-chief of the tribe and led the opposition when the Skyline Highway threatened to run through Indian territory. He was a World War I veteran and district president of the American Indian Federation; his wife served as secretary.


Orphan's Friend, 1 Sept. 1916.

Raleigh News and Observer, 13 May 1898, 6 Mar. 1938, 8 July 1962.

Raleigh Times, 22 July 1963.

Additional Resources:

A.G. Bauer in Rare & Unique Collections, NCSU Librares:[names_facet][]=Bauer%2C+Gustavus+Adolphus

Bauer, Adolphus Gustavus (1858-1898) in the Biographical Directory of NC Architects & Builders, NCSU:

Bauer, A. G. (Adolphus Gustavus) 1858-1898 in WorldCat:

"Cherry Hospital." N.C. Highway Historical Marker F-61, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013).

"Executive Mansion." N.C. Highway Historical Marker H-117, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013)."Broughton Hospital."

"Meredith College." N.C. Highway Historical Marker H-38, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013).

N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, Department of Commerce. pubs_history_shelteringaheritage 6. [Raleigh, N.C. [N.C.]: Travel and Promotion Division, Department of Conservation and Development, 1969?]. 1969. (accessed March 21, 2013).

N.C. Highway Historical Marker N-39, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013).

"N.C. School For The Deaf." N.C. Highway Historical Marker N-40, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013).

Oakwood Cemetary, Rachel Blythe Bauer Grave. "Transparency, Slide, Accession #: H.1967.17.24." . North Carolina Museum of History.

"Personal." The News and Observer. June 4, 1891.  Accessed June 20, 2023 at

Prioli, Carmine Andrew. “The Indian ‘Princess’ and the Architect: Origin of a North Carolina Legend.” The North Carolina Historical Review 60, no. 3 (1983): 283–303.

"Teacher's Assembly (north Carolina Education Assn.)." N.C. Highway Historical Marker C-40, N.C. Office of Archives & History. (accessed March 21, 2013).

"Tribute Paid Mrs. Ezra Eaton." The Wallace Enterprise. February 28, 1946. Accessed June 20, 2023 at

Image Credits:

North Carolina Executive Mansion, 23 April 2004. Designed by Bauer and Samuel Sloan. From General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives, call #:  D.2006.11.121, Raleigh, NC.Available from (accessed March 21, 2013).

Origin - location: