People of the Past

Who was connected to civic and school buildings?

Olof Hanson


Photo courtesy of the Gallaudet University Archives

Possibly the nation’s first deaf architect, Olof Hanson’s life intersects with the Faribault community in many ways. Hanson’s family emigrated to Minnesota from Sweden in 1875. Hanson entered the School for the Deaf in 1878, graduating in 1881 to attend Gallaudet University. His career focused on both architecture and education of the deaf. During an economic depression of the early 1890s, architectural work was limited, and Hanson accepted a teaching position at the School for the Deaf. Two years later, he opened his own architectural practice in Faribault. A list of building plans attributed to Hanson includes homes, stores, churches, and “ten schools and institutional buildings.” Newspapers note that he also supervised the construction of Faribault’s Central and High Schools. Hanson died in Seattle in 1933 at the age of 71.


More information about Olof Hanson is available from the Gallaudet University Archives.