Raiford L. Stripling (1910-1990) was a 1931 graduate of the A&M College of Texas. After graduation he worked with College Architect Frederick E. Giesecke and staff architect Samual Charles Phelps Vosper and with the National Park Service in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with NPS staff member Charles E. Peterson, an opportunity that introduced him to the analytical examination of vernacular and religious historic architecture.
In 1947, after service in the U.S. Navy’s camouflage unit, Stripling opened his own practice in his hometown of San Augustine, Texas. In the latter years of the practice he was joined by his son, Ray, who continues to work in the area.
Raiford Striplings’ restoration projects include Presidio La Bahia and Mission Espiritu Santo in Goliad, the Fort House and the Earle-Harrison House in Waco, numerous structures in San Augustine, Texas, the French Legation in Austin, Ashton Villa in Galveston, and Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos, projects that span more than 200 years of Texas history.
In 2005 Ray Stripling donated the contents of his father’s office to the Texas A&M University Archives through the Center for Heritage Conservation (CHC). The transfer and cataloguing were supported by the Texas Old Missions and Forts Restoration Association (TOMFRA) and by a major grant from The Summerlee Foundation of Dallas.
The Raiford Lead Stripling Collection consists of architectural drawings, sketches, construction documents, correspondence, photographs, and newspaper articles for over 250 projects. Of special note are the historic preservation projects at Goliad State Park, Texas (La Bahia), including The Chapel of Our Lady of Loreto Presidio La Bahia, The Mission Espiritu Santo De Zuniga, The Presidio St. Maria De Loreto del Espirito Santo La Bahia, and The Priest’s Quarters.
In 1935, Stripling joined his former professor Samuel Charles Phelps Vosper in Goliad and established a firm for the practice of architecture. Although they had been pupil and teacher, protege and mentor for seven years, and collaborated on several projects, this was the first time they practiced together as partners. Their work included the Goliad Memorial Auditorium Goliad State Park, (1936-38). This set of drawings consists of a project proposal for the Memorial Auditorium including 17 sheets of architectural drawings, and 5 sheets of plumbing, heating and electric plans and details.
Stripling’s reputation as a sensitive, scholarly, and headstrong restoration architect is highly embedded in his historic preservation projects; his legacy includes banks, hospitals, offices, schools, residences, religious buildings, and recreation structure. The collection shows him to be a community architect, who is passionately attached to traditional and classical architecture, and whose modern architecture uses history in its use of massing, scale, order and materials.