This firm was established around 1892 by Frederick W. Stickney and William D. Austin, fellow graduates of the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Stickney maintained his primary office in Lowell, and Austin operated out of Boston. The two men rarely collaborated, and their offices became completely independent of each other around 1900. Both continued to use the firm’s name until just prior to Stickney’s death in 1918.
Their careers were launched with the establishment of the Boston area’s Metropolitan Park Commission (MPC) in 1893. The MPC commissioned the firm to design facilities which would enhance and harmonize with their surroundings. Austin served as principal architect for the MPC and the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) from the mid-1890s through the mid-1920s, and possibly later. In this role he designed numerous structures, including the police stations at the Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull, the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, and the Charles River Reservation in Newton. Austin was also responsible for a series of buildings at Revere Beach Reservation (eight bathing pavilions, a bandstand, a bathhouse, a police station, and the superintendent’s house); several buildings at Nahant Beach Reservation (the bathhouse, refreshment and waiting room, restrooms, and the police station); the Jamaica Pond boathouse; the lion house and bird house at the Franklin Park Zoo; the Charles River Speedway administration building; and the former South Boston Aquarium in Marine Park. In addition to designing most of the structures for the MPC, the firm also designed structures for the City of Boston, mansions on Long Island, and shingle-style houses in Maine. The firm’s work for the MPC evidenced that it was capable of designing buildings in a variety of architectural styles.