This storied Columbia architectural firm had its origins in the firms of Shand and Lafaye (with Gadsden Shand, 1868-c. 1948), formed in 1903, and Lafaye and Lafaye, organized by George E. Lafaye (1878-1939) and Robert S. Lafaye, George’s brother, in 1919. Known as Lafaye, Lafaye, and Fair in the 1940s, the firm was easily one of the most influential architectural groups throughout the first half of the twentieth century. A number of its principals’ buildings are currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Wade Hampton State Office Building (1940) in Columbia, the US Courthouse (1935) in Aiken, the People’s National Bank Building (1909-10) in Rock Hill, the World War Memorial Building (1935) in Columbia, the Hartsville Community Center and Hartsville Community Market (1935-36), Tapp’s Department Store (1940) in Columbia, and dozens of homes in the Forest Hills Historic District. At the time of the firm’s involvement in the SCARNG Armory projects at Belton (1961), Whitmire (1961), and Columbia (1964), other principals of the firm included Herndon Moore Fair, Walter Frazier Petty, John Dewitt McCall, James Lockwood Tupper, Charles Frederick Carter, and George S. McKibben. The firm changed its name again to Lafaye, Lafaye, and Associates before 1970.
Robert Stoddard Lafaye was born in New Orleans on September 10, 1892. He completed one year of education at Tulane, then commenced practice as a draftsman for his brother’s firm in 1913. He also worked as a designer for August Geiger (1915 to 1917), saw service in World War I, then worked as a draftsman for his brother’s firm (1919 to 1921) before joining Lafaye and Lafaye as a partner. He retired from practice in 1956 and died September 28, 1972.
Herndon Moore Fair was born in Columbia on April 10, 1907. Unlike many of his architect contemporaries, Fair earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering in 1928 at the University of South Carolina, then completed his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Tulane in 1931. He was a draftsman with Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth from 1931 to 1933, then joined Lafaye and Lafaye as a draftsman. He became a partner in 1939, although military service in the Navy Seabees kept him away from the firm from 1942 to 1946. Buildings directly attributable to Fair include the Wade Hampton Office Building, the Carolina Life Insurance Home Office, the Richland County Public Library, and Miller Hall at South Carolina State College. Fair died in May 1964.
George Eugene Lafaye, Jr., was born October 21, 1912 in Columbia. While earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture at Clemson, he spent his summers as a draftsman for his father’s firm before graduating in 1935. The following year, he worked briefly as a draftsman for Rudolph Edward Lee (1876-1959), one of Lafaye’s professors at Clemson. In 1936, he returned to Lafaye and Lafaye as a draftsman, joining the firm as a principal following his father’s death in 1939. George E. Lafaye, Jr., died January 3, 1980.