Stanford B. Lewis was born near Albemarle County, Virginia, the son of James F. and Alice Lewis. His family ancestry traces back to Francis Lewis, signer of the Declaration of Independence and family relative Meriwether Lewis. He was educated in private, public, and technical schools.
In 1887 Lewis went north and secured a position with Furness, Evans and Company, the well-known Philadelphia architectural firm. While at the firm he met architect Joseph M. Huston, who later hired him as his business partner. In 1897 Huston moved his office into the newly completed Witherspoon Building. That same year he and Lewis entered the Pennsylvania Capitol Design Competition, and lost to Henry Ives Cobb of Chicago.
Lewis supervised the erection of many large buildings in Philadelphia. In 1901 a new Capitol design competition was held, which was restricted to only Pennsylvania architects and firms. Though Huston and Lewis' plan was not chosen in 1897, their firm still chose to enter. This time for the building's design, Huston would draw upon ideas and European motifs that inspired him during trips abroad.
After Joseph Huston won the new Capitol design competition — a completion of Henry Ives Cobb's brick structure begun in 1897 — Lewis devoted his time to supervising the onsite construction of the Capitol building in Harrisburg from 1902-1906.
It was Lewis who was primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations in Harrisburg. He oversaw the work, kept the general contractor, George F. Payne and Company, on schedule, and submitted weekly project reports to Joseph Huston.
After the Capitol was finished in 1906, Huston and Lewis went on to complete numerous other buildings mostly in the Philadelphia area, but none were as large of an undertaking at the Pennsylvania Capitol project. Lewis continued his association with Huston's firm until his retirement when he and his wife Mildred moved to Lansdowne, Pennsylvania in 1920. He died in 1935 at the age of sixty-six.