Asheville City Building with Decorative Border
Douglas Ellington (1886-1960) was born in Clayton, North Carolina. His father was a farmer, a Baptist preacher and a Civil War veteran. In 1911, while at the University of Pennsylvania, Ellington won the Paris Prize from the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects. This enabled him to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In the early years of the 20th century students from the University of Pennsylvania received more national awards than students at any other architectural program in the country. While studying at the Ecole, in 1913, Douglas won the Prix de Rougevin, the top honor for decorative competitions at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He was the only American to win this honor. Ellington was able to complete his studies at the Ecole and remained in Europe until 1917. He returned to the United States and joined the Navy. Given the rank of Chief Petty Officer, he was assigned to the newly instituted Camouflage Department which was charged with designing and painting patterns of ships that would make them difficult to spot by enemy ships or submarines.