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Male, US, born 1850-03-01, died 1935-08-21

Associated with the firms network

Starbuck and Clark, Architects; Starbuck, Henry Fletcher, Architect

Professional History


During his career, Henry Fletcher Starbuck gained a reputation for designing large houses, schools, theatres and most importantly, churches. He was the designer of many churches in California during the later years of his practice.

Apprentice, Abel C. Martin, Architect, Boston, MA, c. 1865-1870. Starbuck had an apprenticeship with the Harvard-educated architect Abel C. Martin (1831-1879).

Partner, Moore and Starbuck, Boston, MA, c. 1873-1877. Starbuck formed his first partnership in Boston with George A. Moore as Moore & Starbuck Architects in 1873.

Partner, Starbuck and Vinal, Boston, MA, 1877.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, New Brunswick, Canada, 1877-1879. In 1877, he established an office in New Brunswick, where he designed the Bank of New Brunswick and other buildings.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Chicago, Il, 1885- . He also spent several years working as a refrigeration engineer in Chicago, IL, specializing in engineering projects incorporating refrigeration and heavy machinery. In 1887, Starbuck had an office in Room #66 of the Ashland Building in Chicago.

In 1890, Starbuck operated in Chicago and Decatur, IL A notice appeared in the Decatur [Il] Herald and Reviewthat read: “Henry F. Starbuck, the architect of the new Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in this city has decided to open an office in Decatur and invites the attention of those contemplating building. He will be in Decatur on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will be pleased to confer with those who desire the assistance of an architect in any way. An experience of twenty years in both the east and west give him advantages in his profession of which clients will do well to avail themselves. He can be addressed at present at 126 North Church street and will be pleased to make special appointments with any one. Henry F. Starbuck, Ashland Block, Chicago.” (See “Notice,” Decatur [Il] Herald and Review, 08/17/1890, p. 4.)

Partner, Starbuck and [Thomas Leslie] Rose Architects, Milwaukee, WI, 1893-1894. In 1893, Starbuck began practice with Thomas Leslie Rose (1867-1935), with an office In Rooms #302-303 of the Montgomery Building. (See Milwaukee, Wisconsin, City Directory, 1893, p. 941.) After dissolving his dealings with Starbuck, Rose formed a more durable parternship with Charles Kirchhoff, Jr., (1856-1915) in Milwaukee.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, San Diego, CA, 1894-1896. In 1895, Starbuck had an office in Room #13 of the Young Building in San Diego. (See San Diego, California, City Directory, 1895, p. 219.)

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1896-1899. In 1896, Starbuck operated from Room #340 of the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 23; FHL Roll Number: 976932, accessed 01/04/2021.) Starbuck, a Mason, designed several Masonic Lodges in California.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Long Beach, CA, 1899-c.1904.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Oakland, CA, c. 1904-1910.

Partner, Starbuck and Wilde, Architects, Oakland, CA, 1910.

Partner, Starbuck and Clark, Fresno, CA, 1910-1914.

Principal, Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Fresno, 1914-1926.

Principal (semi-retired), Henry F. Starbuck, Architect, Los Angeles, 1926-c.1930.

Auto Mechanic, Los Angeles, CA, 1930. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: San Antonio, Los Angeles, California; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 1378; FHL microfilm: 2339907, accessed 01/19/2021.)


High School

Henry F. Starbuck was likely educated at secondary schools in Nantucket and in East Bridgewater.

A passage in an 1887 biography indicated that Starbuck had attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “He had received a thorough scholastic training at the Institute of Technology at Boston, which combined with his practical experience, gave him a thorough mastery of his art and on coming to Chicago he soon took rank among the trained and accomplised [sic] architects of the city.” (See 1837-1887 Half-Century’s Progress of the City of Chicago, Part I, History of Illinois, [Chicago: International Publishing Company, 1887], p. 208.)



Henry Fletcher Starbuck stands out as one of the most peripatetic architects included in this database. He moved frequently living and working in at least thirteen different cities--Nantucket, MA, Boston, MA, East Bridgewater, MA, Abington, MA, Saint John, NB, Chicago, IL, Decatur, IL, Milwaukee, WI, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Long Beach, CA, Oakland, CA, and Fresno, CA--across the US and Canada.

Starbuck was born of Portuguese and American ancestry in the Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Island, MA, on 03/01/1850. (See, Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, accessed 01/05/2021.) The 1850 US Census indicated that the Starbuck household included Henry's parents, Henry J. and Abbie, and his sister, Mary, who was 19 years his senior. (See, Source Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts; Roll: 328; Page: 364a, accessed 01/05/2021.)

The family name, "Starbuck" had a long history on Nantucket, but it is unclear if Henry's ancestors were related to the English clan that became successful whalers on the island. Early mariners named Starbuck had come over to the New World from England, and originated in Derbyshire. Henry's father was born in the Azores, controlled by Portugal, and it is unknown if he had any English ancestry. (See, "Records of the Starbuck family of Nantucket Island and Milford Haven," accessed 01/05/2021.) Nantucket Starbucks were known to have come to port in the Azores in 1765 on a whaling expedition, although it is unknown whether a branch of the family began there at that time.(See, "Starbuck / Coffin Family," accessed 01/05/2021.)

It was probably more likely that Henry J. Starbuck took the common local name when he arrived, as that would have enabled him to integrate into Anglo-American culture more easily. As noted by the Nantucket Historical Association, there were a number of immigrants from the Azores living on Nantucket who adopted the surnames of current residents. (See Nantucket Historical Association, "Chapter Two Portuguese Atlantic Islands," pp.17-51.)

In 1855, the Massachusetts State Census, recorded that the Starbuck Nantucket household included five-year-old Henry Fletcher, his parents Henry J. and Abby, and his sister Mary A. Ruberg, her husband the Reverend George L. Ruberg (born c. 1826 in MA), and their daughter Nancy (born c. 02/1855). (See, Original data: Massachusetts. 1855–1865 Massachusetts State Census [microform]. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, accessed 01/05/2021.)

He lived with his parents on a farm in East Bridgewater, MA, in 1865. His father, Henry J. Starbuck, who worked as a mariner early in life, had turned to farming by age 55 (if not before). East Bridgewater was a town about 33 miles south of Boston and nearby to Abington, where he lived c. 1870. (See, Source Information Massachusetts, U.S., State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014, accessed 01/05/2021.)

Starbuck resided in Abington, MA, a suburb just north of East Bridgewater, when he wed Charlotte E. Haines in 1872.

As noted on a Masonic registry card, the architect lived in Hyde Park, MA, in late 1874, when he joined this important fraternal group. (See, Source Information: Massachusetts, U.S., Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013, accessed 01/05/2021.)

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 06/20/1877, a serious fire wiped out 200 acres and killed 19 people in Saint John, New Brunswick. As it often the case, architects traveled to the site of the fire to offer their services. In this case, Henry Starbuck spent about two years, between 1877 and 1879, assisting in the rebuilding effort of Saint John. A biographical essay published on the architect while he lived in Chicago in 1887 said, "Mr. Starbuck first established himself in to practice of his profession in 1872, in the city of Boston, removing to Chicago in 1879. The two years previous having been spent in St. John, N.B., where he rebuilt many of the most important buildings after the fire of 1877.” (See 1837-1887 Half-Century’s Progress of the City of Chicago, Part I, History of Illinois, [Chicago: International Publishing Company, 1887], p. 208.) It is possible that Starbuck remained in Saint Johns during 1877-1878 or into 1879.

Voter records for Cook County, IL, noted on 10/09/1888 that Starbuck dwelled at 6 Groveland Park, and that he had lived in this voting precinct for five months. The same record indicated that he had lived in Cook County and the State of IL for ten years before this, meaning he arrived in 10/1878. This may be off slightly, as he was thought to have worked in Saint Johns, NB, until 1879. (See, Source Information: Chicago, Illinois, U.S., Voter Registration, 1888 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2001, accessed 01/19/2021.)

In 1880, Starbuck, his wife and son resided in the boarding house operated by physician T. Davis Fitch and his wife Harriet at 296 West Monroe Street in Chicago, IL. The comfortable Fitch household included three servants, two coachmen and and a domestic. (See, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 192; Page: 331B; Enumeration District: 097, accessed 01/05/2021.)

Starbuck had moved to Milwaukee, WI, by late 1892 or 1893. He had a dwelling at 222 Juneau Avenue in 1893. (See Milwaukee, Wisconsin, City Directory, 1893, p. 941.) The architect did not remain in Milwaukee very long, and had relocated to San Diego, CA, by 1894.

In 1895, he had a residence at 5th and Fir Streets in San Diego. (See San Diego, California, City Directory, 1895, p. 219.)

From San Diego, he moved to greener pastures in Los Angeles, where he lived in 1896. Architectural work was scarce in most places during the 1893-1897 period, due to a sustained economic depression. Architects often had to move to where work appeared during this desperate time.

In 1900, Starbuck and his wife Minnie lived on 1st Street in Long Beach, CA. The US Census did not record any children having been conceived by 1900. (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Long Beach, Los Angeles, California; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0109; FHL microfilm: 1240091, accessed 01/05/2021.)

He then relocated to Oakland, CA, by the mid-1900s. In 1906, he resided at 1383 Franklin Street in Oakland, according to Alameda County voter records. (See Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 01/19/2021.)

Henry F. Starbuck, his wife Margaret and her daughter Chrystal lived in a residence at 116 Lake Street in Oakland, CA, in 1908. Two years later, Henry and Margaret Starbuck became the focus of newspaper stories in William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner and other newspapers, focused on the sansational killings of the their neighbors in 1910. This scandal likely played a part in his estrangement from Margaret and his relocation to Fresno, CA.

In Fresno, Starbuck lived with his wife Catherine at 2550 Merced Street, as per the 1920 US Census. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Fresno, Fresno, California; Roll: T625_96; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 28, accessed 01/05/2021.)

The 1930 US Census recorded that Starbuck and his fourth wife Kate lived in rented accomodations at 1203 70th Street in the San Antonio neighborhood of Los Angeles, just northeast of downtown. The census indicated that the architect at age 80 worked as an auto mechanic in a garage. If true, this was a significant change for Starbuck at the end of his life. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: San Antonio, Los Angeles, California; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 1378; FHL microfilm: 2339907, accessed 01/19/2021.)

He died on August 21, 1935, at age 85, at the Masonic Home in Decoto, California.


His father was Henry J. Starbuck , who had migrated to America as a cabin boy aboard a whaling ship from the Azores, an island group in the Atlantic Ocean, 950 miles west of Portugal. As a captain, he would later command two vessels the Daniel Webster and the Franklin, before turning to farming later in life.

His mother was Abbie Gould Boden (born 01/05/1811 in MA-d. 01/30/1882 in Abington, MA). Her surname has been recorded variously as "Boden," "Bowden," "Borden" and "Bourden." Her parents were Edward Boden and Abigail Gould.

Henry J. and Abbie wed on Nantucket Island on 04/04/1830. They had four children, two of whom did not live to see adolescence: Mary Abby Starbuck Ruberg (born 03/21/1831-d. 04/06/1903 in FL), Henry Richard Starbuck (born c. 1842-d. 02/06/1847), Theodore Starbuck (born 01/08/1846-d. 01/21/1847) and Henry Fletcher Starbuck.


Starbuck married at least four women. The first was Charlotte Elizabeth Noyes (born c. 1850 in Abington, MA-d. 08/16/1926 in MA), whom he married in West Roxbury, MA, on 08/15/1872. Her parents were Lewis Ellingwood Noyes (born c. 1823 in MA) and Lucy R. Briggs (born c. 1828 in MA). (See, Source Citation New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915, accessed 01/05/2021.) A descendant of Samuel Fuller, a member of the Mayflower party that landed at Plymouth Rock in 1609, Charlotte graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1870, and worked as a school teacher just before her marriage. Long after her split with Henry, Charlotte earned income as a masseuse, living in 1904 at 6 Groveland Park in Chicago. (See Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1904, p. 795.)

A marriage was recorded in Los Angeles between a Henry F. Starbuck, age 40, and Minnie Idella Stickel, (born c. 09/1865 in IL), on 02/29/1896. (Her name was also spelled in some sources, "Stickle.") This Los Angeles marriage record listed Minnie as having been born in IL and was then living in IL on that date in 1896. It is likely that Starbuck had known her earlier when he resided in the Chicago area, as she worked as a music teacher in Decatur, IL, at the same time (1890) Starbuck was spending three days a week in there expanding his Chicago practice. (See Ebel, Bower and Company's Decatur, Illinois, City Directory, 1889, p. 351.) This marriage dissolved by either late 1900 or early 1901.

He wed Margaret E. MaBee Lee (born 03/16/1862 in MI-d. 08/15/1936 in Long Beach, CA) in 1901. She was a widow of William E. Lee, and had a daughter, Chrystal (born c. 1889 in MI), by her first husband, who lived with Henry and Margaret in Oakland in 1910. Margaret was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Long Beach.

He wed Catherine Sophia Graham (born 02/27/1871 in San Francisco, CA-d. 09/18/1940 in Union City, CA) on 12/23/1916 in Fresno, CA. (See, Original data: California, County Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, 1830-1980. California Department of Public Health, courtesy of Digital Images, accessed 01/19/2021.) According to the 1930 US Census, Kate was 19 when she married for the first time, meaning she married before her union with Starbuck. After Starbuck's death, she wed another resident of the Masonic Home for the Aged, William J. Huff.


He and Charlotte had a son, Henry Walker Starbuck, (born 1874 in MA–d. 1948)

Biographical Notes

Another man, Henry Pease Starbuck, (1851-1918) was born in Nantucket, MA at about the same time as Henry Fletcher Starbuck, confusing identification with the architect. Henry Pease Starbuck was the son of Captain Charles Edward (1816-1863), also a mariner, and Lois Pease Starbuck of Nantucket. Henry Pease Starbuck would become a lawyer. The ship's manifest of the bark, Sarah, listed a "Henry Starbuck," a lawyer, and his wife traveling between Flores in the Azores and Boston, MA, arriving in the latter port on 09/26/1885. (See, Source Citation: the National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820-1891; Record Group Title: Records of the U.S. Customs Service; Record Group Number: 36; Series Number: M277; NARA Roll Number: 098, accessed 01/05/2021.) To complicate matters, Henry Pease Starbuck also married a woman named Charlotte, in his case, Charlotte Puffer Baxter (1853-1927), whom he married on 01/29/1883 in Nantucket. Laterin life, Henry Pease Starbuck would reside in Santa Barbara, CA, where he died.

Starbuck was initiated into the Masonic Order beginning on 10/15/1874 and completed on 12/31/1874, becoming part of the Hyde Park, MA, Lodge. The membership officially commenced on 04/15/1875. Starbuck was suspended for non-payment of dues on 05/15/1879 and reinstated on 11/19/1885. (See, Source Information: Massachusetts, U.S., Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013, accessed 01/05/2021.)

According to 1896 voter records in Los Angeles, Starbuck stood 5-feet, 9-inches tall at age 46. He had a dark Caucasian complexion, and had brown eyes and black hair.(See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 23; FHL Roll Number: 976932, accessed 01/04/2021.)

He was a member of the Oakland Chapter No. 36, of the Masons in 1906. (SeeProceedings of the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons of the State of California, held at its Fifty-second Annual Conventions held at the Masonic Temple, City of San Francisco, commenced on Tuesday, April 17, A.D. 1906, A.I. 2436 and Terminated on Wednesday, April 18, A.D. 1906, A.I. 2436, [San Francisco: Shannon-Conmy Printing Company, 1906], p. 394.)

Associated Locations

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

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

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PCAD id: 1598