The Original Man

The Life and Work of Montana Architect A.J. Gibson

By Hipólito Rafael Chacón

A co-publication with the Montana Museum of Art and Culture

H. Rafael Chacón’s The Original Man: The Life and Work of Montana Architect A.J. Gibson (1862-1927) is the first monograph on Albert John “A. J.” Gibson, Missoula’s most prominent and beloved architect. The self-taught Gibson arrived in Montana in 1883, opened his practice in Missoula in 1889, and, until his tragic death in 1927, shared his prodigious talents as carpenter, builder, and architect. Gibson, in a meteoric career that spanned the turn of the 20th century, built up the city of Missoula and neighboring communities into prosperous and beautiful places “brick by brick.” Gibson and his spouse Ella Maud Lockley embraced the freedoms, opportunities, and technological advancements of their day, namely the car and camera. They became two of Montana’s automotive pioneers, setting numerous motoring records in the early 20th century and exploring and documenting this great region and nation. A.J. and Maud were spirited public servants and philanthropists who gave freely of their time, talent, and treasure to the city and state they so loved.

Chacón, a UM professor of art history and art criticism, worked with the University's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library/K. Ross Toole Archives and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula to create the first comprehensive biography of Albert Jpohn Gibson.

164 pages,10½” x 8 ½”

book cover with photo of A J Gibson alongside an architectural drawing


ISBN: 978-0-9815760-1-5

ISBN: 978-0-9815760-0-8; 10: 0-9815760-0-1