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1969 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Charles Deaton*


"Only in America could you go from living in a tent to being a top architect."

The first home Charles Deaton could remember was a tent. He was only three when his family of five moved from Arkansas to a 10-acre farm in Oklahoma, with all their possessions loaded in a wagon that was pulled by a horse and followed by a cow. Before they finished building a simple one-room house on their new farm, the Deatons spent two winters living in a tent on the open Oklahoma plains. Charles Deaton delivered newspapers to buy books and clothing for high school and to buy supplies to teach himself commercial art at night. By age 16, he was supporting himself entirely from his newfound craft. Deaton became a specialist in commercial rather than residential architecture. This internationally acclaimed architect, who was also a sculptor and inventor, is best known for his "Sculptured House" outside Denver, Colorado, which has no right angles. While building this landmark he said, "People aren't angular so why should they live in rectangles?"

* Deceased