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Snider and Rotz Engineering Drawings Collection

Identifier: DADA-050

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of engineering drawings, commission lists, and photographs from the office of Snider and Rotz Engineers. It covers the period 1912-1993. Most of the projects are in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The commission lists are eight bound volumes that chronologically document the firm’s commissions from 1913 to 1981.

The drawings are mostly mechanical drawings for heating, ventilation, electrical wiring, and plumbing on many different kinds of projects from a variety of architectural firms. Types of buildings include schools, asylums, hospitals, infirmaries, stores, banks, residences, hotels, libraries, and restaurants. Architects and firms represented include Charles E. Bacon, Elmer E. Dunlap; Donald Graham; McGuire and Shook; J. E. Kope and Woolling; Evans Woollen; John G. C. Sohn; James Associates; Ewing Miller; Bohlen, Burns and Associates; Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates; Browning, Day, Pollack, Mullins; and Pecsok, Jelliffe, Randall and Nice Architects.

A few unusual designs are for an automatic bottle feeding machine (1912) and a publication selling machine (1913) built by United Metal Parts of Indianapolis.

Photographs in the collection date from the 1980s-1990s and depict buildings in Indianapolis such as Garfield Park Conservatory, Bank One Tower, Westin Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, National Institute of Fitness Sports (N.I.F.S.), Indiana State Fairgrounds barn, and the Federal Building.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1993


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Drawings and Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Drawings and Documents Archive.

Biographical Note

The consulting engineering firm Snider and Rotz Engineers worked with many leading Indianapolis architectural firms to design the mechanical aspects of construction projects in and around Marion County. Led by Lewis A. Snider (1883-1938) and John M. Rotz (1884-1970), the firm began in 1912 as J. M. Rotz Engineering Company and was in business until at least 1981. In the 1920s, their offices were located in the Merchants Bank Building in Indianapolis. Lewis Snider also served as the building advisor for the Indianapolis school board during a time when the firm held contracts related to Indianapolis school buildings. The resulting controversy led to a public hearing and Snider resigned from his position as building advisor.

John Martin Rotz, son of John and Anna (Manhart) Rotz, was born at Prairieton, Indiana, 12 July 1884. He attended grade school in Prarieton but went to high school in Terre Haute. In 1906, he graduated from Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical and civil engineering. Rotz worked as a civil engineer at the New York Central Rail Road Company, the Santa Fe Railway, and the Pennsylvania Rail Road Company until he opened his firm, called J. M. Rotz Engineering Company in 1913. He specialized in heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, power plant design, sanitary problems, and electrical distribution.

Also, in 1913, Rotz married Nester Rhinehart, who was born in White County, Indiana. They had two children: Rhiman Alfred, who was born in 1916, and John Martin, Jr., who was born in 1919. Rhiman worked at the engineering firm with his father and John graduated from Purdue University and later worked at Eli Lilly and Company. John Martin Rotz Sr. passed away on February 13, 1970. The Rotz Mechanical Engineering Lab at Rotz’s alma mater, now known as the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, houses wind tunnels used for aerodynamic testing as well as engine testing equipment for the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


1.5 Cubic Feet (1 MSS Box, 1 flat file drawer, 1 OVB Box )


The Snider and Rotz Engineering Drawings are arranged chronologically with the exception of later additions.

Custodial History

The Snider and Rotz Engineering Drawings were received by Drawings and Documents Archive as a donation from Indianapolis Public Library on 2014/2/5. A second addition was received by Drawings and Documents Archive as a donation from the Indiana State Archives on 2019/07/18.


No additions are expected.


Citizens Historical Association profile on J. M. Rotz, 12 February 1949. John Martin Rotz biographical file, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.

The American Contractor, volume 43. F. W. Dodge Corporation, 1922. /> Accessed 6 June 2015

“News of School Officials” The American School Board Journal. National School Boards Association, 1921. Volume 63, page 116 Accessed 6 June 2015

“Rotz Mechanical Engineering Lab” Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Accessed 6 June 2015.

“Former Muncie Engineer Dead.” Muncie Star Press. 14 February 1970.

“Memorial Services for John R. Rotz Sr.” Muncie Star Press. 26 February 1970.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed. Finding aid created 2015/6/8 by Carol Street; revised by Rebecca Torsell 2019/08/13.

Snider and Rotz Engineering Drawings
Created by Carol Street; revised Rebecca Torsell
Created 2015/6/8; revised 2019/8/13
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Andrew Seager Archives of the Built Environment Repository

Architecture Building, Room 120
Muncie IN 47306 USA
765-285-3726 (Fax)