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Male, born 1858-09-04

Associated with the firms network

McNally and Knighton, Architects; McNally and Robert, Architects; McNally, C.S., Architect

Professional History


Principal, C.S. McNally, Builder and Architect, Colorado Springs, CO, 1879-1882.

Principal, C.S. McNally, Builder and Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1882-1889.

Principal, C.S. McNally, Architect, Salem, OR, 1889-1892. In 1891, McNally had an office in the Bush-Honeyman Building in Salem. (See R.L. Polk and Company’s Salem, Oregon, City Directory, 1891, p. 207.)

Partner, McNally and [Charles A.] Robert, Architects, Salem, c. 1890.

Partner, McNally and [William C.] Knighton, Architects, Salem, OR, c. 1892.

Principal, C.S. McNally, Builder and Architect, Alameda, CA, c. 1893.

Principal, C.S. McNally, Builder and Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1900- . The 1900 US Census called him an "architect" while the 1920 US Census classified him as a "builder." In 1916, his architectural office was located at 57 Post Street in San Francisco's Financial District.


B.S., Harrisville College, Harrisville, MI, c. 1873. Harrisville was and is the county seat of Alcona County, located on Lake Huron.



Born in QC, Canada, McNally, accompanied his family when it moved to Alcona County, MI, in the northeast corner of Lower MI. The 1900 US Census indicated that he moved to the US in 1864, while architectural historian, Richard Ellison Ritz, put the date at 1868. The family relocated so that Cornelius's father could work in the area's healthy lumber business, as a dealer. Lumber was a large industry in MI at this time, and boomed while timber stands were abundant in the Upper Midwest. Some of the timberland cleared in the 19th century became part of the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Like many who grew up in lumber country, Cornelius apprenticed as an carpenter and joiner. His family reestablished itself in Fort Collins, CO, in 1879, where he widened his professional scope to become an architectural designer as well as a building contractor. The US Army established Fort Collins as a military outpost to protect stagecoaches and mail delivery on the Overland Trail from attacks by Cheyenne, Arapaho and Sioux Tribes. Rapid Euro-American settlement in the 1860s, as a result of traffic on the Overland Trail, caused friction with these tribes, who saw their resources and ways of life altered by the newcomers. The army shifted its fort location once and decommissioned it in 1867. An agricultural colony's formation fueled a great influx of whites after 1872. The area became a center for sheep farming and agriculture, particularly of the lucrative crop, sugar beets. The McNally Family move to Fort Collins coincided with the inaugural year of the state's land grant college, Colorado Agricultural College (later Colorado State University), an event that drew further white settlement to the region. A year after his marriage, he and his bride transplanted themselves to another fast-growing town, Los Angeles, where a real estate boom was about to take place in 1886-1887. Rail service had gradually expanded during the early 1880s, connecting many newly platted Southern CA communities with the East via a southern route (through AZ and NM) as well as a northern route. An 1886 rate war pitting the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway against the Southern Pacific Railway, flooded Los Angeles and other new cities built nearby to rail tracks with visitors, immigrants and hucksters, many of whom got caught up in the frenzied buying and short-term selling of real estate. Los Angeles experienced a significant economic contraction by early 1888, as many of the land sales had been purchased on credit in poorly documented and fraudulent deals. Lending capital became, for a short time, scarce. Cornelius and Laura stayed in Los Angeles for seven years, time enough for him to gain ample experience designing and constructing buildings for these new investors. They moved to Salem, OR in 1889, where he practiced alone and in two very short-lived partnerships, staying until 1893. Another economic collapse occurred in 1893, an event that reshuffled architects to new locations across the West. McNally moved to Alameda, CA, where they lived for a few years before moving across the bay to San Francisco. The US Census of 1900 indicated that the McNally Family resided at 521 Castro Street in San Francisco. In 1910, Cornelius and Laura lived with their children, Agnes's husband, Reginald Brown and Laura's father at 23 Noe Street in San Francisco. From about 1914 until 1917, they resided at 852 Shrader Street, but moved in 1918 to 23 Woodland Avenue where they remained until at least 1927. The US Census of 1920 recorded that another Irish building contractor, Robert G. Black (born c. 1870 in Ireland), lived next door at 17 Woodland Avenue. By 1929, they were recorded living at 33 Beulah Street, and continued living here until 1937, at least. It has been hypothesized by Richard Ellison Ritz that Cornelius McNally died c. 1938 (See "McNally, Cornelius Sarsfield," Architects of Oregon, [Portland, OR: Lair Hill Publishing, 2002], p. 291.)


His father, N. McNally, had been born in Ireland, his mother in MD.


Cornelius married Laura A. Jones (born c. 1859 in MO) in 1881. Her father, James, had been born in the South, probably in TN, c. 1837, her mother, in IN.


According to the US Census of 1900, Cornelius and Laura had had two children: Frederick B. McNally (born c. 10/1883 in CA) and Agnes E. (born c. 05/1890 in OR). According to the 1910 US Census, Fred worked for as a draftsman in a consulting engineer's office, while Agnes was married and lived with her husband, Reginald T. Brown (born c. 1886 in MI).

Biographical Notes

McNally had been naturalized before 1900.

PCAD id: 6834