Kentucky Historical Marker dedicated to architect Samuel Plato

Kentucky Historical Marker dedicated to architect Samuel Plato
The Kentucky Historical Marker for architect Samuel M. Plato.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A trailblazing architect was honored Sunday, decades after the construction of his initial designs.

Samuel Plato was an African American architect who practiced and had a highly successful career in the early 1900s, a period in American history when African Americans were discriminated against in the architectural profession, the Louisville Historical League said.

His marker now sits at Broadway Temple AME Zion Church in Louisville, a building he created.

The marker sits in front of the Broadway Temple AME Zion in Louisville, which Plato designed.
The marker sits in front of the Broadway Temple AME Zion in Louisville, which Plato designed.

Plato helped design and build projects in nine states, including in Louisville. He also designed 38 post offices across the United States, and was the first African American to design a U.S. Post Office.

Eight of the buildings he designed are on the National Register of Historic Places.

“He worked sort of underneath the surface, if you will. And so he never got this type of public recognition, overall recognition. He was well known in architectural circles and the African American community, but not in the overall Louisville community,” Louisville Historical League President Steve Wiser said.

Born in Alabama, Plato went to Simmons College in Louisville as well as various other academic institutions. From 1902 to 1919, he lived in Marion, Indiana. Some of his noteworthy projects in Marion include the J. Woodrow Wilson House, the First Baptist Church and the Platonian Apartments.

In 1920, Plato relocated to Louisville, where he continued his architecture career. In Louisville, he designed the following structures: Broadway Temple AME Zion, several buildings for Simmons College, James Lee Presbyterian Church, the Virginia Avenue School and many other residences and buildings.

Plato’s other projects are located in the states of Alabama, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.

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