David Creighton
Architect and mechanical engineer - known for "terrace" housing in Gary, IN


David F. Creighton first appears in the United States Census Records in 1880 as a 22 year old carpenter in Allegheny City.  The censuses of 1900 and 1910 list him as a “Mechanical Engineer” for The American Sheet and Tin Plate Company, an offshoot of The United States Steel Company formed in 1904.  Two years later, U.S. Steel founded the city of Gary, Indiana, specifically as a home for a new steel plant.  The steel works required massive amounts of workers and housing for workers and their families became an immediate problem. At some point between 1910 and 1911, Creighton and his wife, Amanda, relocated to Gary, Indiana where business directories in 1911 and 1913 list Creighton as an architect.

Four years prior to the founding of Gary, Thomas Edison received a patent for a method of creating a building out of concrete.  Edison’s method called for creation of the structure from a single pour of concrete—a process that proved to be completely ineffective.  The idea of using concrete for family dwellings, however, was picked up by other manufacturers who found ways to make this relatively new material work.  Cheap, fireproof and unappealing to vermin, concrete seemed like the perfect material for quick creation of humane, appealing worker housing.  Using a modular steel frame system perfected by Washington D.C. architect Milton Dana Morrill, Creighton designed concrete worker housing for U.S. Steel employees of Gary, Indiana. 

By 1918, Creighton is listed in the Gary Business Directories as a “production manager, “and then in 1920 as an engineer.  The housing project that made him an architect seems to have lasted seven years at the most and resulted in creation of over 90 concrete apartment buildings.  As of 2008, 72 of these structures were still extant with several listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Creighton and his wife had returned to Pittsburgh by 1930, where census records list his occupation as an "engineer steel" in the "architectural" field.  Creighton died in 1936.