Male, US, born 02/11/1884, died 05/08/1943

Associated with the firms network

Cheney, Charles H., Architect; Hobart and Cheney, Architects; Platt, Charles Adams, Architect

Professional History

Draftsman, Charles Adams Platt, Architect, New York, NY, c. 1912; Partner, Hobart and Cheney, Architects, San Francisco, CA, c. 1913-1920; Cheney helped to initiate city planning activities in the State of CA by the mid-1910s. Cheney was responsible for organizing the state's first professional planning conference, in Monterey, CA, in 1914; he also drafted the first city planning enabling legislation passed by the state legislature the following year. He became an in-demand city planning consultant in the 1920s, producing plans for

Founding Member, American City Planning Institute, 1917; Chairman, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Committee on City and Regional Planning, 1931;

The American Planning Association designated Cheney a "National Planning Pioneer" in 1993.


B.S. Architecture and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 1905; coursework, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 1907-1910;


Cheney was born in Rome, Italy, to American parents. Following his graduation from the University of California, Cheney left for school in Paris, France on 01/09/1907. He lived in Paris at 53 rue Bonaparte, c. 1907-01/1910; his son, Warren, and daughter, Charlotte, had been born there. Charles traveled back and forth from England at least twice between 1907-1908, returning to New York, NY, and then to the Bay Area. He and his wife Cora lived with his parents, Warren and May, in a residence at 2241 College Avenue in Oakland. CA, in 04/1910. They probably returned at this time to drop of their two children with their grandparents, allowing them to travel Europe by themselves. Charles and Cora returned to New York, NY, from Naples, Italy on 09/15/1910 aboard the S.S. Ultonia. Cheney lived with his wife and four children in a rented house at 1321 SE 31st Avenue, Portland, OR, on 01/12/1920; he was consulting with Portland officials on its city plan. In 1930, Cheney lived in his own house at 657 Via del Monte in Lomita, CA, then an unincorporated town in Los Angeles County. the census indicated that Cheney was an engineer working in city planning. His Lomita residence had an approximate worth of $45,000, a considerable sum at the time. In the 1920s, he moved to the new suburban development, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, of which he also served as a planner.

According to the Censuses of 1910 and 1930, his mother, May L. Shepard, was from IA, his father, Warren, NY. Warren Cheney worked as a real estate agent in Oakland, CA, in 1910. At this time, May Cheney was 47, and had had four children, three of whom were alive. Marshall, a younger brother, was born c. 1888 in CA, also lived with the family in 1910.

Charles Cheney married his wife Cora B. Cheney (born c. 1878 in MD) c. 1906, just after college. She traveled with him to Paris and the continent between 1907-1912. According to the US Census of 1930, both of her parents came from PA.

In 1930, the Cheneys had three children: Warren D. (born c. 1907 in France), Charlotte E. (born c. 1910 in France) William (born c. 1912 in CA) and Frances (born c. 1914 in CA).

According to his Passport Application of 03/16/1907, Cheney, at age 23, stood 5ft 8 1/2 inches tall, had blue eyes, straight nose, round chin, brown hair and a fair complexion. From 1910-1912, Cheney took his finishing Grand Tour of France, Italy, Spain, and England, studying architecture and city planning. The American Planning Association included a short synopsis of Cheney's accomplishments on its "Planning Pioneer Awards" web site: "California planner Charles H. Cheney (1884-1943) was a founding member of the American City Planning Institute in 1917. He is credited with helping win passage of the state's first planning law in 1915 and with developing such regulatory instruments as protective covenants, architectural controls, and homeowner associations. Cheney organized the first California Conference on City Planning, held in Monterey, California, in October 1914." (See "Planning Pioneer Awards,"Accessed 01/07/2011.) The Western Architect and Engineer reported in 12/1914: "Charles H. Cheney, of Hobart & Cheney, architect, San Francisco, and associate editor of the Architect and Engineer, is in the East studying the tenement and housing problems for the Commission of Immigration and Housing of California. He will confer with the leading experts, architects and engineers and study the result of their work in tenement improvement, cheap workingmen's houses and garden cities, for the purpose of applying what has been accomplished in the East to the congested tenement districts of California cities." (See "Tenement Housing," Western Architect and Engineer, 12/1914, p. 124.) Through his work with the Cities of Palos Verdes Estates, CA, Santa Barbara, CA, and Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Cheney fine-tuned such regulatory planning concepts as homeowner associations, deed covenants and architectural controls. Cheney also produced city plans for the Fresno, CA (1918), Portland, OR (1919), Spokane, WA (1920), and Riverside, CA (1929), among other cities.

Associated Locations

  • Rome, Italy (Architect's Birth)
    Rome, Italy

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  • Los Angeles, CA (Architect's Death)
    Los Angeles, CA

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PCAD id: 739