Thomas F. Ellerbe, Sr.
Thomas F. Ellerbe, Sr. was president of Ellerbe Architects,
a cooperative firm that designed the nation’s first co-op hospital in Elk
City, Oklahoma. He later contributed to rural electrification by designing power
plants and engineering thousands of miles of lines. He and two friends initiated
a co-op owned and controlled city. They bought land, designed roads and utilities,
and built houses and shopping centers. While the venture was not a co-op success,
it was the beginning of the community of Circle Pines, Minnesota.
Not one to be discouraged, Ellerbe helped organize and
finance the Cooperative Foundation in Minnesota. He served as the Foundation’s
president and chairman for a number of years.