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Male, born 1811-01-20, died 1877-09-02

Associated with the firms network

Bugbee, S.C., Architect; Bugbee, S.C., and Son, Architects

Professional History


Samuel C. Bugbee settled in San Francisco, CA, by about 1862, and therafter developed an architectural practice, first on his own, then in partnership with his son Charles. Bugbee competed for a great deal of civically-funded design work for institutional buildings, including its Almshouse and its House of Correction. Samuel Bugbee was also active in political affairs, serving as a San Francisco School Director (c. 1865) and as a CA State Assemblyman (c. 1877).

Principal, S.C. Bugbee, Architect, Boston, MA, c. 1845-1861. In 1850, the US Census provided some information on the size of his practice. It noted that he employed two people in his architectural office, at an average monthly cost of $100. He spent approximately $70 per year on materials, including paper and pens. The office produced "plans and estimates," and grossed about $2,000 per year. He had invested about $75 in the business in 1850. (See, Source Citation Census Year: 1850; Census Place: Boston Ward 7, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Archive Collection Number: T1204; Roll: 6; Line: 5; Schedule Type: Manufacturing, accessed 08/21/2017.)

Principal, S.C. Bugbee, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1862-1865. He maintained his practice in Room #73 of the Montgomery Block. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1862, p. 86.) Both Bugbee and architect M.F. Butler had offices in the prestigious Montgomery Block in 1862, the latter in Room #23. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1862, Business Directory, p. 28.) In 1862, Bugbee (Room #73) and another architect, M.F. Butler, ( in Room #23) had their offices in the Montgomery Building. (See San Francisco City Directory, 1862, p. 433.)

Bugbee collaborated with M.F. Butler to prepare plans for the San Francisco Almshouse in 1867. A notice appeared in the Daily Alta California newspaper requiesting contractor bids for building a water tower, tank, and stable and laying water piper to serve the new Alms House Building, located about three-and-a-half miles from San Francisco City Hall. (See "Proposals," Daily Alta California, vol. 19, no. 6248, 04/23/1867, p. 4.) Contractor bids were to be delivered to the Butler and Bugbee workspace in Rooms #73-74 of the Montgomery Block by 4 o'clock P.M. on 04/22/1867.

Partner, S.C. Bugbee and Son, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1865-1877. The San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1868, (p. 608), stated that the firm occupied Rooms #74 and 75 in the Montgomery Block. S.C. Bugbee and Son, Architects, operated at 402 Montgomery Street from at least 1869 until 1876. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1869, p. 676 and San Francisco, California, Directory, 1876, p. 167.)

Partner, S.C. Bugbee and Sons, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1875. The firm consisted of Samuel C. Bugbee, Charles L. Bugbee and Sumner W. Bugbee, working at 402 Montgomery Street. (See The New City Annual Directory of San Francisco, 1875, p. 183.)

The Bugbee and Son office moved to 320 Sansome Street, Room #12, by 1877. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1877, p. 465.) Sumner W. Bugbee was listed as a "business agent" working in the same office in 1877. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1877, p. 173.)

Following Charles's death in 1877, S.C. Bugbee and Son was succeeded by the firm of Charles L. Bugbee, Architect, in 1878.

Professional Activities

The San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1865, (p. 100), noted that S.C. Bugbee was a "school director Tenth District."

In 1877, S.C. Bugbee was listed as a representative to the CA State Assembly from San Francisco. (See, Source Information Graden, Debra, comp.. California State Roster, 1909 Government and Military records [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002, accessed 08/21/2017.)


Some drawings by S.C. Bugbee are held at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) libraries, Environmental Design Archives. "Contains architectural drawings (2, section and floorplan) of unidentified theatre." (See University of California, Berkeley, Libraries, Environmental Design Archives "S.C. Bugbee and Son records, ca. 1869," accessed 08/16/2017.)



Samuel Charles Bugbee was born in the Canadian province of New Brunswick (NB), and was made a naturalized US citizen on 10/01/1847 in Suffolk, MA. (Another voting register indicated that he had been naturalized in Suffolk in 1843.) His family was originally from Roxbury, MA, but moved to Saint Stephens, NB, where Samuel was born.

It appears that the Bugbee Family shuttled between Canada and United States during the period 1837 and the early 1840s. Son Charles L. Bugbee was born in MA, while son John Stephenson Bugbee, born in 1840, was from either NB or Halifax, NS. Later children, Sumner, Agnes and Ella were born in MA, in 1846, 1849 and 1852, respectively. It was recorded that Bugbee traveled from Halifax, NS, to New York, NY, on 10/18/1841, aboard the brig, Odeon. (See, Source Citation Year: 1841; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 047; Line: 2; List Number: 791, accessed 08/21/2017.)

Bugbee worked in Roxbury, MA, as an architect from c. 1845 until at least 1852. In 1852, Samuel and his family resided at 5 Central Court in Boston, MA. (See, Source Information Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011., accessed 08/21/2017.) They continued to live in Boston in 1855, according to a Massachusetts State Census of that year. The household included Samuel, his wife, four children, and three others living in the house, a Mr. Stephenson, a 40-year-old man in the dry goods business, a Mr. Bates, a "gent" of 50 years of age, and Mary Durgin, a 22-year-old Irish servant. (See, Source Information Massachusetts, State Census, 1855 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014, accessed 08/22/2017.)

By 1862, at least, he had transplanted himself to San Francisco, CA, living at 312 Post Street. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1862, p. 86.) Experiencing success at work, Bugbee moved a year later to the west side of Harrison Street between Folsom and Harrison Streets, at 767 Howard Street in 1863. Son, Charles, who worked with his father in his practice, lived at home at this time. (See San Francisco Directory, 1863, p. 84.) Charles, the eldest son, would marry in 1865.

His son, Charles, lived in Oakland in 1873, and continued to reside in Oakland two years later. Sumner Bugbee also lived across the bay in Oakland by 1875. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1873, p. 124 and The New City Annual Directory of San Francisco 1875, p. 183.)

Between 1866 and 1868, at least, Samuel C. Bugbee lived at 20 Hawthorne Street in San Francisco, CA. (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 40; FHL Roll Number: 977096, accessed 09/16/2020 and San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1868, p. 117.)

The 1870 US Census indicated that Bugbee lived with a large family consisting of his wife, Abbie, and children and grandchildren, including son Sumner Weld Bugbee, daughter Ella Bugbee, (born c. 1852 in MA), son John Stephenson Bugbee, (born c. 1840 in MA), daugther-in-law Anna Green Bugbee, (born c. 1843 in MA), grandson Maxwell Bugbee, (born c. 1866 in CA), granddaughter Bessie E. Bugbee, (born c. 1867 in CA), son Charles L. Bugbee, (born c. 1837 in ME), daughter-in-law Ellen Bugbee, (born c. 1845 in MA), granddaughter Alice N. Bugbee, (born c. 1866 in CA), and two domestic servants, Ellen Mogan (born c. 1843 in PA) and Agnes Morrissey (born c. 1859 in Ireland). According to the US Census, son Sumner Weld Bugbee worked as a "general agent," John Stephenson Bugbee, a lawyer, and Charles L. Bugbee an architect in practice with his father. The San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1874, (p. 130), noted that Sumner worked as the business agent at 402 Montgomery Street, possibly working for his father's architectural firm.

In 1875 and 1876, just before he died, S.C. Bugbee resided at 641 Harrison Street in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco City Directory of that year, other members of his family who also lived here included "Charles E. Bugbee" and Charles L. Bugbee. The latter was identified in the San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1876, as working in the office of S.C. Bugbee and Son. (See San Francisco, California, Directory, 1876, p. 167.) This 1876 San Francisco City Directory listing appears erroneous in listing a "Charles E. Bugbee," as no such family member is known to have existed.

Bugbee prepared his will on 03/11/1876, suggesting, perhaps, declining health. This will made his wife, Abby, sole "executrix," and left all property to her for disposition.(See, Source Citation Probate Records of Alameda County, 1857-1920, and Wills Received By County Clerk, 1880-1970; Author: Alameda County (California). County Clerk; Probate Place: Alameda, California, accessed 08/21/2017.) It appears that he moved his residence to Oakland sometime in 1876, likely to be closer to his sons. He passed away on Sunday, 09/02/2017, from a heart attack suffered while on a ferry traveling across the San Francisco Bay to Oakland. The Sacramento Daily-Union said of his death: “S.C. Bugbee, a prominent architect of this city, and designer of the California Theater, Wade’s Opera House, the residences of Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and many other important edifices, public and private, died suddenly on the Oakland ferry boat last night. Supposed cause, heart disease.” (See “Sudden Death of a Prominent Architect,” Sacramento Daily Union, vol. 3, no. 161, 09/03/1877, p. 2.)


His father was Ebenezer Bugbee II (1780-1844), his mother, Ann Roberts Munroe (1788–1857). (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Sacramento County, California, Pioneer Index File (1906-1934), A-Z; California History Room: MICROFILM 734; Roll Number: 41, accessed 08/21/2017.) Ebenezer had two wives, the first being Rachael Mitchell, who came from Gloucester, MA, and the second, Ann Munroe. From these two women, Samuel had many brothers and sisters and half-siblings, including one, Joseph H., who became a lawyer and lived in the Bay Area at the same time as him. Another person, John S. Bugbee, possibly a brother, lived with Samuel at 641 Harrison Street in San Francisco in 1869. He worked in the partnership of Scripture and Bugbee, Attorneys at Law. (See San Francisco Directory, 1869, p. 125.)


Samuel C. Bugbee married Abigail Deborah Stephenson (c.1816-1879) on 05/12/1836. She was from Robbinston, ME. After her husband's death in 1877, Abby Bugbee resided on the south side of 10th Street between Jackson and Madison Streets. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1878, p. 127.)


He and Abigail had five children: Charles Lewis Bugbee (b. 1837 in MA-d. 1880 in Oakland, CA), John Stephenson Bugbee (born 05/31/1840 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-d. 1896 in AK), Sumner Weld Bugbee (born 08/16/1846 in Roxbury, MA-d. 1899), Agnes Stephenson Bugbee (born 10/23/1849 in Roxbury, MA) and Ella.Roslie Bugbee (born 09/27/1852 in Boston, MA-d. 1924). A voter's registration document indicated that lawyer John S. Bugbee received naturalization when his father obtained citizenship in 1847.

Charles Lewis Bugbee and Sumner Weld Bugbee would go on to become architects working in San Francisco, but working in Oakland. Ella Bugbee became an artist, who, in 1878, would live with her mother in Oakland, CA. (See Oakland, California, City Directory, 1878, p. 127.)

Biographical Notes

At least one source, a Boston birth registration for daughter Ella Roslie Bugbee, indicated erroneously that S.C. Bugbee had been born in Saint John, NB.

He registered to vote in San Francisco, on 06/02/1866.

In 1867, S.C. Bugbee campaigned as an independent candidate for School Director in the San Francisco School Board's 10th District. (See Bugbee classified ad, San Francisco Chronicle, 08/17/1867, p. 2.) Bugbee had been involved in design of San Francisco school earlier in the1860s, and he may have thought that election to this position could ease his access to possible school commissions. (See "Board of Education," San Francisco Examiner, 09/06/1865, p. 3.)

PCAD id: 6908