Edward Nelson was born in 1918 in Winchester, Massachusetts.  He received a Bachelor of Architecture and the Henry Adams Prize from Yale University. Nelson moved to Tucson in 1948 working as a designer and draftsman for Gordon Luepke, AIA.

In May of 1952 Nelson was elected vice-president of the Tucson Fine Arts Association. In October of that year he work with architect Russell Wise, Robert Hartman and Mrs. J.B. Enney to redesign the Tucson Fine Arts Association exhibit space  in the lower level of the Chamber of Commerce building and was noted for his redesigned the 261 Gallery in downtown Tucson.  In December of 1952 Nelson submitted his design with Guy Greene for a proposed Tucson Community Center to the Tucson Fine Arts Association Architectural Exhibit.  

Nelson, with his wife Lois and three children, purchased property in the Tanque Verde area where he designed an important modern home.  During this period Nelson served as president of the Tanque Verde Valley Association, the co-chairman of the civic center planning group and was a member of the Yale and Old Pueblo Club.

  • Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1962
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • Asarco Headquarters, 1964
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • Tucson Music Hall, 1971
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, Nave, 1962
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • U.S. Post Office, 1972
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • Lutheran Church of the King, 1959
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas
  • CNWC Offices, 1974
    photo: Jude Ignacio and Gerardine Vargas

Nelson launched his own firm in 1953. This was a productive period for nelson with numerous important residential commissions. In 1958 Nelson participated the in the Urban Renewal Show proposing a concept for a pedestrian mall on Congress Street. His concept drawings were published in the Arizona Daily Star in March 21, 1958.   In June the Lutheran Church of the King congregation broke ground on a new church designed by Nelson opening on July 12, 1959 rendered in brown and gold built by contractor Irving D. Rubenstein.

Nelson designed the Robert Bretall House that was featured in the Tucson Daily Citizen in April 4, 1959.  In 1959 he served as president of the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and vice-president of Council of the Arizona Society of Architects.

That year he designed the Busby Carroll Construction Co. a 5648 East Broadway Blvd.  1961 he formed a partnership with James Ware and Gerald Cain forming the the firm Cain Nelson Ware. The firm was joined by William Cook becoming CNWC His projects continued to garner regional attention. Nelson’s Cortners House was on cover of the Arizona Daily Star, Homes and Features Section in May 19, 1963

Nelson received numerous awards including a Rocky Mountain Region Merit Awards from the American Institute of Architects.  Nelson named a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects.

Major Buildings in Tucson

Lutheran Church of the King, 1959
2450 S. Kolb Road

Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, 1962
7650 N. Paseo Del Norte

Asarco Headquarters, 1964 | Cain Nelson Ware (CNW)
1150 N. 7th Avenue

First National Bank, 1966 | CNW
200 N. Stone Avenue

UA Mathematics Building, 1968 | Cain Nelson Ware and Cook (CNWC)
University of Arizona Campus

Westward Look Resort, 1969 | CNWC
245 E. Ina Road

Tucson Music Hall and Leo Rich Theater, 1971 | CNWC
260 S. Church Avenue

Valley National Bank Operations Center, 1971 | CNWC
3434 E. 22nd Street

Arizona Bank, 1971 | CNWC
7130 N. Oracle Road

U.S. Post Office, 1972 | CNWC
1501 S. Cherrybell Stravenue

U.S. Federal Building, 1974 | CNWC
300 W. Congress Street

CNWC Offices, 1974 | CNWC
2552 N. Alvernon Way

RGA Engineering, 1974 | CNWC
877 S. Alvernon Way

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