Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders


Taylor-Wheeler was founded in 1927 by Orville R. Taylor (1898-1968) and Dennis Wheeler (1899-1991). The company produced some of the finest homes in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

Orville R. Taylor was born in Indiana on October 2, 1898, and studied at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He moved to Fresno in 1919 and became associated with Routt Lumber Company as a draftsman and lumber salesman. One of his lumber customers was a young contractor named Dennis Wheeler.

Dennis Wheeler was born on January 23, 1899, in Independence, West Virginia, and moved to Fresno in 1909. After graduating from Fresno High School, he attended Fresno Junior College. Wheeler continued his college studies at Stanford University, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated in 1922 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce.

Taylor and Wheeler founded their company in 1927. Although not trained as an architect, Taylor designed most of the homes the company built until the mid-1930s. Wheeler managed the business and supervised construction. In 1936 they hired architect Allen C. Collins to design for the firm. After World War II, Taylor and Wheeler diversified, becoming major commercial builders. Orville Taylor died on December 2, 1968; Dennis Wheeler died August 5, 1991.

©1996 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.