Davenporters of Note: Thomas J. Walsh

In the course of researching the people appearing in the portrait photographs in our J. B. Hostetler collection, we often discover interesting ways in which Quad-City notables are connected to the wider world.  A case in point is Thomas Joseph Walsh:

Thomas Joseph Walsh was born February 28, 1886 in Davenport, Iowa. His parents were Patrick T. and Catherine Beecher Walsh. He attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from St. Mary’s College in Kansas in 1906.

Thomas J. Walsh [ca. 1910's] Photographed by J. B. Hostetler

Thomas J. Walsh [ca. 1910’s] Photographed by J. B. Hostetler

He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1906, shortly after graduating from St. Mary’s College and was a reserve catcher. Walsh played 3 innings over 2 games (August 15th and September 26th) and had just 1 time up at bat in his Major League Baseball career. He left at the end of the 1906 season to help with his family’s business, Walsh Construction Co. in Davenport.

By George Lawrence Company - Heritage Auctions, Public Domain

By George Lawrence Company – Heritage Auctions, Public Domain

Tom became president of Walsh Construction Co. after the death of his father in 1916. Under his direction, the company worked on  a variety of projects: railroads, bridges, industrial and office buildings, hard rock and soft ground tunnels, earth and concrete dams, dry docks, shipyard construction, shipbuilding, airfields, military construction, water supply and sewer systems and sewage disposal plants. Some of the most notable projects include: the Queens Midtown Tunnel in New York City (1940); New York Central Railroad terminal in Buffalo, NY (1929); The Grand Coulee Dam (1937); and the United Nations Building in New York City (1952). Local projects include ALCOA Davenport Works (1954), The Kahl Building (1920) and the Davenport Bank & Trust Building (1927).

Mrs. Tom (Gabrielle Bilderbach) Walsh with couple's 4 oldest children: Kathleen, Thomas Jr., Gabrielle and Rosemary. [ca. 1916] Photographed by J.B. Hostetler.

Mrs. Tom (Gabrielle Bilderbach) Walsh with couple’s 4 oldest children: Kathleen, Thomas Jr., Gabrielle and Rosemary. [ca. 1916] Photographed by J.B. Hostetler.

Thomas Walsh married Gabrielle Bilderback on August 16, 1911 in Chicago. They had 6 children, Kathleen (Mrs. A. Linton Lundy, Jr.) was born July 11, 1912; Thomas, Jr. was born October 23, 1913; Gabrielle was born June 12, 1915; Rosemary (Mrs. Dan W. Quail) was born October 23, 1916; Eleanor (Mrs. John Meyer) was born March 6, 1923; and Sheila (Mrs. Brian S. Murdock) was born January 17, 1928. The family lived at 833 College Avenue in Davenport.

T.J. Walsh died in Naples, Florida on March 16, 1963.

(posted by Cristina)

Sources:

Baseball-Reference.com. n.d. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/walshto01.shtml (accessed June 16, 2016).

Sunday Times-Democrat. “T.J. Walsh Dies; Long A Builder.” March 17, 1963: 1.

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