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Male, US, born 1859-10-19, died 1896-01-21

Associated with the firm network

Brown, A. Page, Architect

Professional History


Draftsman, McKim, Mead, and White, Architects, New York, NY, c. 1880-1883; Principal, A. Page Brown, Architect, New York, NY, 1884-1889; Principal, A. Page Brown, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1889-1896.



Coursework, Cornell University, approximately one year; he entered with the Class of 1882. He was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity at Cornell.

Brown received further architectural education in Europe.

Historian Kevin Starr, writing about Brown's education in the book Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era, said: "Brown left Cornell School of Architecture after one year to enter the newly opened New York firm of McKim, Mead, and White. In later life Brown let it be known that he was an honors graduate of Cornell--a minor transgression, to be sure, and rather understandable in a man who was ever reaching beyond himself, beyond his talents, in fact, on behalf of his adopted city, San Francisco, whose new architecture he wished to establish. Brown spent three years as a draftsman with McKim, Mead and White before embarking upon a European study tour. Private study and routine work with this great firm, not Cornell, gave Arthur Page Brown his initial training in architecture. It was just as well, for American architectural education was in those years its infancy and no experience could be more valuable than working as a draftsman on projects underway with a dynamic New York City firm, just established in 1879 and destined to develop by the end of the decade into America's premier architectural firm, whose dominance would last well into the twentieth century." (See Kevin Starr, Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era, [New York: Oxford University Press, 1986], p. 177.) Starr did not give the instance in which Brown exaggerated his Cornell credentials.



Arthur Page Brown was born in New York State on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Some have indicated that he was born in Ellisville, NY. Brown, on his US Passport application of 04/05/1883, stated that he was born in the nearby town of Belleville, NY, on 1019/1859. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 255; Volume #: Roll 255 - 02 Apr 1883-30 Apr 1883, accessed 09/19/2017.) The Brown Family lived in Adams, NY, by 1870, at least. (See, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Adams, Jefferson, New York; Roll: M593_944; Page: 28A; Family History Library Film: 552443, accessed 09/19/2017.)

In 1879, A. Page Brown resided at 210 E Seneca Street in Ithaca, NY; his parents lived in Adams, NY, at that time. (See Cornell University Yearbook, Cornellian, 1879, p. 64.)

Brown lived at the Union Club in 1890, and at 2024 Jackson Street in San Francisco, CA, in 1892. (See, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 88; FHL Roll Number: 977606, accessed 09/19/2017.)

Brown died prematurely in Burlingame, CA, at the age of 36 after a "runaway" horse accident. He was first buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco bounded by California, Geary, Parker and Presidio Streets. An article in SF Curbed noted that "Laurel Hill was known for its prestigious burials, including civic and military leaders, inventors, artists, and eleven United States Senators." (See "Hidden Histories: Laurel Hill Cemetery,"Accessed 07/22/2014.) Beginning in 1913, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors attempted to recover space devoted to cemeteries within the city limits; these efforts to move them south initially failed, but by the 1920s large amount of land were purchased for this purpose south of the city, in Colma, primarily. Those in Laurel Hill were reinterred elsewhere between 1937 and 1948. Brown was reburied at Cypress Lawn Cemetery, Colma, in 1940. (PCAD incorrectly gave Brown's age at his death as 42. Thank you to Catherine Westergaard for noting this error, 07/21/2014.)


His father was Arthur J. Brown (born c. 1827 in NY), a lawyer working in Adams, NY, in 1880. His mother was Roxana E. Page, (born c. 1833 in VT-d. 07/07/1894 in Newport, NH), who managed the household. (See, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Adams, Jefferson, New York; Roll: 838; Family History Film: 1254838; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 097, accessed 09/19/2017.) Arthur J. Brown and Roxana Page married on 02/20/1855 in Shoreham, VT. (See, Source Information Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013, , accessed 09/19/2017.)

He had a sister, Mary C. Brown, who was about four years older.


He married Lucy Atkinson Pryor on 02/25/1886 in Manhattan, New York, NY. Reverend Charles Hall of Brooklyn performed the wedding.

Her father was a Roger A. Pryor.

Biographical Notes

According to Richard Longstreth, Brown gained his early commissions in New York, NY, from Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, whose husband owned the International Harvester Company in Chicago, IL. See Richard Longstreth, On the Edge of the World, [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998], p. 55) Brown is credited with being one of the most important California architects seeking to create an indigenous style for the state. He was one of the most influential designers to reappraise local Mission architecture in California, and to reuse elements of it for major public buildings. He came to San Francisco, CA, in 1889 under the patronage of Mary Ann Deming Crocker, widow of the tight-fisted Southern Pacific Railroad tycoon, to design a mausoleum for her husband, Charles. This mausoleum was conceived for a hilltop site in the Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. For Mrs. Crocker, Brown designed contemporaneously the Old People's Home in San Francisco, CA.

The San Francisco Voting Register of 1892 noted that Brown stood 5-feet, 8-and-1/2-inches tall, with a dark complexion, hair and eyes. (See, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 88; FHL Roll Number: 977606, accessed 09/19/2017.) His US Passport application of 1883, noted that he stood 5-feet, 6-inches, and had a broad forehead, oval face, dark complexion, straight nose, medium mouth, round chin, black hair and brown eyes.

Associated Locations

  • Burlingame, CA (Architect's Death)
    Burlingame, CA

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  • Ellisburg, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Ellisburg, NY

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PCAD id: 1396