Robert Frost Daggett, Sr. and Robert Frost “Pete” Daggett, Jr.

Robert Frost Daggett, Sr.
(March 13, 1875 – September 6, 1955)

Robert Frost “Pete” Daggett, Jr.
(October 3, 1912 – November 8, 1985)

Architect Robert Frost Daggett, Sr. (Photo credit:

The prolific eastern architect Robert Platt Daggett, father of Robert Frost Daggett, Sr., arrived in Indianapolis in 1868 from Connecticut and quickly established himself as one of Indiana’s leading architects. In 1880, he formed the R.P. Daggett & Company with James B. Lizius, and their firm designed over 100 residences, including the Nickum-Holstein House, better known as the James Whitcomb Riley Home; the McKee Building at 200 S. Meridian; Vajen’s Block (whose facade was moved from Ohio Street to Meridian Street to become part of Circle Centre Mall); and many other buildings now gone. Daggett was married to Carrie Elizabeth Frost, and they had five children, including son Robert Frost Daggett, Sr. He died at age 78 on November 5, 1915 and is buried in Oakland, California.

Robert Frost Daggett, Sr. was born in Indianapolis in 1875 as his father was laying the foundation for the family business. He graduated from Indianapolis High School (later named Shortridge) in 1893, then studied architecture, receiving degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1896 and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1901. His studies complete, he took his place in his father’s firm, taking over the reins in 1912 when the elder Daggett retired and moved to California. He changed its name to R.F. Daggett and Company following his father’s death.

Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce building, located at 320 N. Meridian St., was designed by Architect Robert Frost Daggett, Sr. and completed in 1926. It still stands today. (Photo credit:

With the coming of World War I, Daggett joined the U.S. Army and took charge of building military hospitals in France for 16 months. The frenzied pace continued upon his return to civilian life in 1919, when the firm received contracts for dozens of plants for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis and Greenfield, followed by five buildings for Purdue, as well as commissions at Indiana University, Depauw, and Butler, where he and Thomas Hibben designed Jordan Hall in 1928. After completing several buildings for the IU School of Medicine, the firm built Long and Riley Hospitals on the school’s grounds. From 1921 until 1924, he was the supervising architect for Tabernacle Presbyterian Church at 34th and Central, and the 1920s also saw the construction of his designs for the Indianapolis Athletic Club (1922), Consolidated Building, the Washington Hotel (1925), and the Chamber of Commerce (1926). Daggett also designed many schools for IPS, and though his residential designs were few, they included the prominent Sunset Lane homes of J.K. Lilly, Sr., and his son Eli Lilly. Daggett was the first Indiana-born architect to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He died on September 6, 1955 at age 80. He was married to Lizette Lothan and they had two sons, James and Robert Jr.

Of his two sons, it was Robert Frost “Pete” Daggett, Jr. who followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and became an architect. Pete Daggett was a 1934 graduate of Yale University, and after his service in the U.S. Navy in World War II, he took charge of the family firm in 1948. With his business partner F. Harold Naegele, he continued to manage it until his retirement in 1977, after which the firm was dissolved. During his tenure, the firm continued to design for Indiana University, including the LaRue Carter Hospital, and for Eli Lilly. They also designed public schools, churches, Community Hospital on the eastside of Indianapolis and other hospitals around the state. Following his death in 1985 at age 73, Daggett was buried on the family lot at Crown Hill, joining his father, mother, and other family members.

Burial Location for Robert Frost Daggett, Sr., and Robert Frost “Pete” Daggett, Jr: Section 38, Lot 233: GPS (39.8216196,-86.1683575). Their father and grandfather, Robert Platt Daggett, is buried in Oakland, California.