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Male, US, born 1857-10-13, died 1935-03-13

Associated with the firms network

Saunders and Houghton, Architects; Saunders and Lawton, Architects; Saunders and Saunders, Architects; Saunders, Charles Willard, Architect


Professional History

Résumé

Partner, Saunders and [Mary Channing] Saunders, Architects, Pasadena, CA, c. 1886-1889; Partner, Saunders and [Edwin W.] Houghton, Architects, Seattle, WA, 09/1889-1891; in 1890, Saunders and Houghton occupied offices in their recent design, for William Elder Bailey, the Washington Territory Investment Company Building. Saunders worked on the East Coast, c. 1891-1892; Principal, Charles Willard Saunders, Architect, Seattle, 1892-1896, 1915-1929; in 1907, Saunders had a business address of 1319-1321 Alaska Building, Seattle, WA. Partner, Saunders and Lawton, Architects, Seattle, 1898-1915. Charles Saunders was thought to have retired from practice in 1929. His name appeared in the Seattle City Directory of 1934 as an architect, however.

Professional Service

Saunders was a founding member and the first Secretary of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington State Chapter, Seattle, WA, 1894; AIA, Washington Chapter, 2nd Vice-President, 01/1895; Saunders was the lone Washington State representative to the AIA Annual Conference held in Saint Louis, MO, between 10/15/1895 and 10/17/1895. (See "American Institute of Architects, Annual Convention at St. Louis, Mo.," The Engineering Record, vol. XX, 10/26/1895, p. 390.)

Secretary, City of Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, Seattle, WA, c. 1905; Washington State Chapter Delegate, 41st Annual Convention of the AIA, Chicago, IL, 1907; Saunders attended the Chicago convention along with WA's other delegate, James Stephen (1858-1938).

Personal

Relocation

Saunders was born and spent his youth in Cambridge, MA. The family shared its Cambridge home with two others in 1870, Henry B. Wenzel, a 17-year-old born in MA, and a household servant, Katy Donahue (born c. 1847 in Ireland). The neighborhood consisted of upper-middle-class houses and well-to-do families, many maintaining servants, some having several. At this time, a neighbor was William Watson Goodwin (1831-1912), a significant Greek scholar teaching at Harvard University between 1860-1901 and Richard Manning Hodges (1794-1878), who wrote a book "Practical Dissections," published by Harvard in 1858. In 1880, a 22-year-old Charles still lived with his family on Concord Avenue in Cambridge according to the US Census of that year; a relative of his mother, Elizabeth L. Willard, lived with the family along with a 40-year-old female servant whose last name was recorded as "Mountain."

Voting records for the State of CA indicated that he registered to vote on 06/05/1886, and that saunders lived in Pasadena, CA. Between 1887-1889, he worked in Pasadena, CA; he came to Seattle, WA, in 06/1889, drawn by work after the Great Fire destroyed most of the city's downtown; he went back to the East Coast to work c. 1891 and returned to Seattle, WA, in 1892.

In 1897, a newspaper article in the Seattle Times indicated that Saunders had spent most of that year in the Boston area. It stated: "Charles W. Saunders, the architect who for the past ten months has been at Boston, Mass., has returned to Seattle." The article went on to describe the architect's observations about Klondike gold fever in the East, and its ramifications for Seattle: "Mr. Saunders has kept very close track of the Klondike boom and says that the number of people who are going north has not been exaggerated in the least. 'All over the East and South numbers of men are arranging their affairs so that they can get away early in the spring for the Klondike,' said Mr. Saunders this morning. 'And the best part of it is that they know of no other outfitting place for Alaska except Seattle. They will all come here, and practically no outfits will be brought from the East. Nearly all who come will be prepared to spend $1,000 on their expenses, as that is the amount generally figured on in the East. The Klondike excitement has struck the New England district very hard, especially in the small towns. There is no trouble to raise money on Klondike schemes if the scheme is at all practical. A company was organized in Boston to put out a line of steamers from Seattle North. In twenty-four hours all the stock had been subscribed and there was demand for more.'"

Saunders added that only the greed of local landowners could affect a possible upward trend in real estate sales to Easterners."'Not alone in the outfitting business will Seattle be benefited. Men of money are coming here to invest, as they think this is the comong city of the Coast. The only thing to prevent a a large incoming of capital in the spring would be an attempt on the part of property owners to put their prices out of sight and attempt to start another boom. This would cause a lack of confidence. If the property owners are willing to take a fair price for their property, there will be a large amount of money invested here.'" (See "'Know No Other Starting Point," Seattle Times, 11/26/1897, p. 8.) To a great extent, the architects observations came to pass, as outside capital did invest in the city, particularly during the 1900-1910 period.

in 1907, Saunders listed his residence as being 712 Terry Avenue, Seattle, WA; he remained in Seattle until his death in 1935.

Parents

His father was George Savil Saunders (born 10/02/1823 in Cambridge, MA), his mother, Lucy Cotting Willard (born c. 1824 in Cambridge, MA). They married on 02/11/1847. George Saunders came from a very established family in Cambridge and the vicinity, its roots dating back to Martin Saunders settling there in 1635. George and his brothers, William Augustus (born 1818 in MA) and Charles Hicks (born 1823 in MA), were active members of the Cambridge Common Council, with Charles serving a Cambridge's Mayor in 1868-1869. His two older brothers also served as Cambridge Aldermen. (See Lucius Robinson Paige, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1630-1877. With a Genealogical Register, Volume 2, [Boston, H.O. Houghton and Co.; New York, Hurd and Houghton, 1877], p. 651-652.)

George worked as a hardware dealer in Cambridge, MA, according to the US Censuses of 1870 and 1880. Lucy worked in the house, raising their three children: Mary E. (born c. 1850 in MA), George E. (born c. 1853 in MA) and Charles. In 1880, George and his brother both worked as clerks in a store, perhaps the hardware business of their father. Work in the hardware business could have exposed him to architecture and concepts of building.

Spouse

Charles Willard Saunders married Mary Allston Channing of Providence, RI, (b. 1860) on 12/19/1882; he worked with his wife on architectural projects in Pasadena, CA, at a very early point, 1886-1889; their firm was known as "Saunders and Saunders" and a Los Angeles Times article noted that it was working in Sierra Madre, CA, on the design of a new public library there in 1886. The Los Angeles Times indicated that on 10/15/1887, "Mrs. Charles W. Saunders of the firm of Saunders and Saunders, architects, left Saturday for a trip East, in which business and pleasure will be combined." (See "Society News," Los Angeles Times, 10/16/1887, p. 3.) Their lives together in Pasadena may have been disrupted by financial problems, personal problems or both, c. 1889. The Los Angeles Times published a legal note in 1889: "Suit for foreclosure was begun by D.H. Hostetter vs. Mary A. Saunders and Charles W. Saunders upon mortgage and promissory note for $4000." (See "New Cases," Los Angeles Times, 05/24/1889, p. 2.)

Saunders divorced Mary Channing on 01/29/1898 in Seattle. He married a second time to Maude Lilian Phillips of Seattle on 06/27/1900. (See Mr. William Saunders and Mrs. Sarah Flagg Saunders, Late of Cambridge, with Their Family Record and Genealogy, [Boston?: privately printed, 1872], revised edition, n.d., p. 25.)

Children

Mary Channing Saunders had one child with Charles, a daughter, Dorothy. His granddaughter was Kathryn Lorenz who resided at one time in Berkeley, CA.

Biographical Notes

Henry F. and Elsie Rathburn Withey, in their faulty reference work, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), (Los Angeles: New Age Publishing Company, 1956), noted that Saunders had been born in 1858; the Witheys also mistakenly referred to him as "Charles M. Saunders." Saunders also was a conservationist, interested in the Park System of Seattle. As architectural historians Jeffrey Ochsner and Dennis Andersen have noted: "Saunders showed an early and continuing interest in the natural environment. He served as secretary of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners from 1903 to 1905. He became involved in early state legislation supporting forest fire prevention and reforestation in 1905 and supported early conservation efforts while representing Seattle's 45th District in the legislature from 1923 to 1932." (See Jeffrey Karl Ochsner and Dennis Andersen, Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H.H. Richardson, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), p. 38.) Saunders made a membership application to the Sons of the American Revolution on 06/06/1893, as he was related via his maternal line to a Revolutionary War soldier, John Hicks.

Saunders performed in "The Cantata of the Haymakers," a choral production of the Young People of Plymouth Church, held at Ranke's Hall on 02/05/1896. He was a soloist during the performance, as was the building contractor, William Carkeek (d. 1920). (See "The Cantata of the Haymakers" advertisement, Seattle Times, 02/05/1896, p. 3.)



Associated Locations

  • Seattle, WA (Architect's Death)
    Seattle, WA

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  • Cambridge, MA (Architect's Birth)
    Cambridge, MA

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PCAD id: 2118


NameDateCityState
Alaska Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1903-1904SeattleWA
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), Dairy Barn, Seattle, WA 1909SeattleWA
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), Forestry Building, Seattle, WA 1908-1909SeattleWA
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), Women's Building, Seattle, WA1908-1909SeattleWA
Alhambra Theatre #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA1909SeattleWA
Bailey, William Elder, Office Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1889-1892SeattleWA
Bon Marche Department Store #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1896SeattleWA
Channing, William F., House, Pasadena, CA PasadenaCA
City of Seattle, Fire Department (SFD), Headquarters #03, First Hill, Seattle, WA1890SeattleWA
Cottage Project, Seattle, WA
Courts of Washington, King County, Courthouse #2, Seattle, WA1890-1891SeattleWA
Crane Company, Warehouse/Office Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1907SeattleWA
Dunn Tin Storage Warehouse, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Episcopal Bishopric of Washington State, Saint Mark's Church, Parish Hall, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA 1896-1897SeattleWA
Labor Exchange, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Lincoln, Dr. R.P., Apartment House, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Lumber Exchange Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1902-1903SeattleWA
Manhattan Building Project, Downtown, Seattle, WA1889-1890SeattleWA
Manufacturers Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1905-1906SeattleWA
Masonic Building, Lodge, First Hill, Seattle, WA1915SeattleWA
Maud Building, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Mottman Building, Seattle, WASeattleWA
National Bank of Commerce (N B of C), Seattle, WA
Norton Building #1, Seattle, WA1904SeattleWA
Olympic Hotel #1, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Polson Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1909-1910SeattleWA
Rainier Club, Downtown, Seattle, WA1904SeattleWA
Rainier Hotel, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1889-1889SeattleWA
Saunders, Charles and Mary, House, Pasadena, CAPasadenaCA
Seattle Buddhist Church #1, First Hill, Seattle, WA 1906-1908SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Beacon Hill Elementary School #2, Beacon Hill, Seattle, WA1903-1904SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Cascade School, Cascade, Seattle, WA 1893-1894SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Minor, T.T., School #1, Seattle, WA 1889-1890SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Walla Walla Elementary School, Central District, Seattle, WA1902-1902SeattleWA
Seattle Theatre #1, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1893SeattleWA
Starr-Colman Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA1889-1891SeattleWA
State of Washington, Department of Corrections, Monroe Correctional Complex, Monroe, WAMonroeWA
Stewart House, Seattle, WA1898SeattleWA
Terry-Denny Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1889-1891SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Denny, Arthur and Mary, Hall, Seattle, WA1893-1895SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Gymnasium #1, Seattle, WA1896SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Old Observatory, Seattle, WA1895SeattleWA
Washington Territory Investment Company, Office Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 1889-1890SeattleWA
Westland Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA1907SeattleWA
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