view all images ( of 1 shown)

Male, US, born 1889-01-09, died 1957-11-29

Associated with the firms network

Schirmer and Rich, Architects; Schirmer, William E., Jr., Architect; Schirmer-Bugbee Company, Architects

Professional History


Principal, William E. Schirmer, Architect, Oakland, CA.

Partner, Schirmer- [Arthur S.] Bugbee Company, Oakland, CA. c. 1917-1925. The firm had an office at 577 14th Street, Room #506 in 1925. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1925, p. 1417.)

Principal, William E. Schirmer, Architect, Oakland, CA, 1927- . In 1927, Schirmer was named the Supervising Architect for the Oakmore Highlands residential tract in Oakland. The Oakland Tribune reported: "“William E. Schirmer has been appointed supervising architect of the Oakmore Highlands Homes Association, according to [an] announcement made yesterday. The association is composed of the home owners in the new district and follows the lines of organization and activity which have won the Lakeshore Highlands Homes Association national recognition. Under the plans of the association, which were originated by the Walter H. Leimert Company, developers of both Lakeshore Highlands and Oakmore Highlands, the property owners are able to maintain the standards of the property by passing on the type of architecture and all improvements and changes. ‘Through the activity of the Lakeshore Homes Association, Lakeshore property has steadily increased in value,’ explained Harry E. Leimert of the Leimert organization yesterday. ‘The association provides the property owners with an effective weapon through which they may not only protect but increases the values of their holdings. One unsightly building oftentimes affects the value of the property in an entire block. Under the homes association plan the property owners have a voice in the control of the entire tract.’” (See “Schirmer Is Architect for Oakmore Tract,” Oakland Tribune, 03/20/1927, p. 32.)

Schirmer had close ties with the local Roman Catholic Church administration, obtaining various commissions for churches and parochial schools.

Partner, Schirmer and [William A.] Rich, Architects, Oakland, CA, c. 1949. Schirmer and Rich provided plans for a Roman Catholic School and Convent addition in 1949 in San Francisco. This reinforced concrete addition consisted of six new classrooms, and cost approximately $200,000. (See "Construction Contracts Awarded and Miscellaneous Personnel Data," Architect and Engineer, vol. 176-179, 1949, p. 44.)

Member, 1st Federal Savings and Loan Association of Oakland, Board of Directors, Oakland, CA, 1935-1949. The 1st Federal Savings and Loan Association of Oakland was established on 04/15/1935. (See "Building Loans Show Upturn," Oakland Tribune, 03/15/1936, p. 20 and 1st Federal Savings and Loan of Oakland advertisement, Oakland Tribune, 01/09/1949, p. 18.)

Professional Activities

Member, American Architect of Architects (AIA).

Member, Society of Architects of Alameda County, Oakland, CA.

President, Society of Architects of Alameda County, Oakland, CA, 1931.



William Edward Schirmer was born in Newport Beach, CA, on 01/09/1889. Newport Beach was in its infancy at this time, and Schirmer's family members were among the Anglo-American pioneers in this coastal community.

In 1917, Schirmer made his residence at 1082 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, on the southeastern banks of Lake Merritt. (See, Source Citation Registration State: California; Registration County: Alameda Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 012/2021.)

During 1925 and 1926, at least, Helen and William Schirmer lived at 1079 Excelsior Avenue in Oakland, CA. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1925, p. 1417 and Oakland, California, City Directory, 1926, p. 1460.) The 1930 US Census reported that the Schirmer Family continued to live at 1079 Excelsior, and that the dwelling had an estimated value of $12,000. This was about average for the Trestle Glen neighborhood at the time. The house was located nearby to Schirmer's church Saint Margaret Mary of Alcogue Parish at 1219 Excelsior Avenue.

Schirmer and his wife died in a head-on automobile accident four miles south of Los Gatos, CA, on 11/29/1957. The Schirmers were en route to their weekend house at Rio Del Mar Beach in Aptos, CA, when their car struck another driven by a 26-year-old Stanford University graduate student, Clyde Henderson. Henderson, too, died at the scene. (See "Joint Rites for Wm. Schirmer, Wife--Victims of Auto Crash," Oakland Tribune, 12/01/1957, p. 20.) They were buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward, CA.


Schirmer's father was William E. Schirmer, Sr., (born 12/25/1858 in Jersey City, NJ-d. 1939), a Pacific Coast master mariner, working for various San Francisco nautical companies including Transoceanic Company, General Steamship Company and Schirmer Stevedoring Company. His obituary said of his career: "He went to sea at an early age and came to San Francisco for the first time in 1873. He was attracted by the opportunities of the growing West and for many years sailed in windjammers and steamers out of Pacific Coast ports. He later served as an officer on vessels owned by the old Goodall Perkins Company and the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. In 1904 he organized the Schirmer Stevedoring Company of San Francisco and remained its president until his death. He was also a director of the General Steamship Corporation, Ltd.” (See “Funeral of Captain,” Oakland Tribune, 06/20/1939, p. 31.)

Master MarinerHe organized . (See "Funeral of Captain," Oakland Tribune, 06/20/1939, p. 31.)

William Schirmer, Sr., wed Louise Roderick (born in CA-d. 1933) in 1882.

Schirmer had two brothers, Joseph J. Schirmer and George B. Schirmer, and a sister, Joseph Schirmer Lipschultz


He wed Helen Hediger c. 1916. Her father was from Switzerland, and her mother, CA. She had a brother Adolph Hediger and a sister Camille Hediger Schultz.

Member, Providence Hospital Guild, Oakland, CA.


The Schirmers had three children: Helen M. Schirmer Carroll, Patricia L. Schirmer Burke, and William Roderick Schirmer.

Biographical Notes

According to his World War I draft registration card, Schirmer was Caucasian with blue eyes and brown hair. He was described as tall with a medium build. (See, Source Citation Registration State: California; Registration County: Alameda Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 012/2021.)

The Schirmers were members of Saint Margaret Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Oakland in 1934. (See "Bridge Whist Benefit Party for Church," Oakland Tribune, 01/26/1934, p. 34.)

Member, Knights of Columbus, Oakland Council #784, Oakland, CA, c. 1935. (See "League of Cross Plans Entertainment," Oakland Tribune, 02/04/1935, p. 23.)

Member, Serra Club of Oakland, Oakland, CA. The Serra Club was a Roman Catholic-affiliated prayer group.

PCAD id: 624