Biographical / Historical
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, William Crutchfield was born March 13, 1889 to Thomas Crutchfield and Sarah Loveman Crutchfield. He attended Chattanooga city schools and graduated from Chattanooga High School. Except for the time spent serving in both World Wars, Crutchfield was devoted to architecture and received a BOS degree in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1916. Mr. Crutchfield opened an office called the firm of Crutchfield and Law, which designed some of Chattanooga's most beautiful residences and outstanding public and commercial buildings. He specialized in traditional architecture and his work exemplified the details, balance, and proportion that make classical Georgian architecture timeless.
Although Crutchfield worked as an architect, one of his other interests was nature and wildflowers. During the Great Depression, his hobby of creating watercolor paintings of wildflowers turned into a life-saver since the poor economy had temporarily crippled business. In the winter of 1931, Crutchfield began his color studies of wildflowers and before his death in 1956 had completed 460 color plates. In addition to the wildflowers, his impressive body of work includes familiar Tennessee landscapes, a series of bird paintings, and a collection of pen and ink drawings that first served as family Christmas cards.
In 1955, only one year before his death, Crutchfield was honored with a one-man showing of his work at the Hunter Art Gallery in Chattanooga. Crutchfield's watercolors began as a "life-saving" hobby during the Depression and bloomed into a collection that serves as a beautiful and timely admonition that the need to conserve the natural habitat of wild flowers is the shared responsibility of all.