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Male, US, born 1866-01-18, died 1942-01-15

Associated with the firms network

McClure, Stewart and Mullgardt, Architects; Mullgardt, Louis Christian, Architect

Professional History

Career Overview

During his career, Louis Christian Mullgardt made his reputation designing a range of architectural commissions, ranging from luxury hotels to power plants, large-scale residences and factories. He developed his skills both in the 19th-century apprentice method and through coursework at prestigious private universities. He obtained experience working at some of the most siginificant architectural offices of his time, including those of H.H. Richardson, Shepley Rutan and Coolidge, and Henry Ives Cobb. When he came to San Francisco one year before the Great Earthquake, his education and broad portfolio of completed work already rmade him one of the elite practitioners in region.


Apprentice, O.J. Wilhelmi and Ernest C. Janssen, Architects, Saint Louis, MO, Summer 1881-c. 1883.

Draftsman, James Stewart and Company, Architects, Saint Louis, MO. c. 1883-1885. James C. Stewart, (1821-1902), was a rare architect to operate both an architectural practice and a contracting business at the same time. The Inland Architect and Builder published a summary of recent work done by James Stewart and Company in early 1885: “Architects James Stewart & Co. report: For Scott county, Ill., two-story court house, 80 by 68 feet, to be built of St. Louis hydraulic pressed brick, cost $38,000; contract to let April 20 to Messrs. Mathews, Buckingham and Zeigler, of Jacksonville, Ill. For Wm. Steinbreder, three-story store and office building, 51 by 50 feet, cutstone front, cost $13,000; contract let: James Stewart & Co., builders. For James A, Gregory, two detached houses, one thirteen rooms, one ten rooms, stock brick fronts, cost $18,000; plans being prepared. For St. Louis Cable & Western Ry. Co., engine building and car station, also office building, St. Louis pressed brick fronts, 175 by 135 feet, cost $25,000; ready for roof; James Stewart & Co., contractors. For T.P. Schulte, three-story brick residence, 24 by 68 feet, Denver red stone trimmings, cost $10,000; under way. James C. Stewart, contractor. For Thomas Halpin, two-story office building, 60 by 40 feet, cost $12,000; under way; Thomas Lowe, contractor.” (See Inland Architect and Builder, vol. V, extra number, 04/1885, p. 59.)

Draftsman, H.H. Richardson, Architect, Brookline, MA, 1885-1887. Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886) was one of the American architectural giants of the late nineteenth century, so original and influential that an architectural style was named for him, the Richardsonian Romanesque. He died prematurely at the age of 47.

Draftsman, Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, Architects, Brookline, MA, 1887-1889. This firm, run by Richardson's lietenants, continued the great man's legacy.

Draftsman, Peabody and Stearns, Architects, Boston, MA, c. 1888.

Draftsman, Brigham and Spofford, Architects, Boston, MA, c. 1888.

Designer-in-Chief, Henry Ives Cobb, Architect, Chicago, IL, 1891-1893. According to a biographical sketch of Mullgardt published in 1915: "Among the buildings designed by him while serving in that capacity [Designer-in-Chief for Cobb] are the following: Newberry Library, Cook County Abstract Building, Chicago Athletic Association Building, University of Chicago and the Fisheries Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition.”(See “Mullgardt, Louis Christian,” Press Reference Library (Western Edition) Notables of the West,Vol. II, [New York: International News Service, 1915]. p. 99.)

Partner, [James C.] Stewart, [Craig] McClure and Mullgardt, Architects, Saint Louis, MO, 1893-1894. This firm competed for large-scale commissions, such as that for the YMCA of Saint Louis, (unbuilt, 1894), and the Arlington Hotel #2, Hot Springs, AR, which it won.

Principal, Louis C. Mullgardt, Architect, Saint Louis, MO, 1895-1902. The biography in the Press Reference Library said this of his time in Saint Louis: "In 1893 he went to St. Louis to enter private practice. He continued there about nine years, having added to his reputation in designing and erecting numerous private and public structures. Among the more notable were the designs of the Abolitionist Monument to Elijah Parish Lovejoy, publisher, erected at Alton, Ill., by the State of Illinois; the University Club, St. Louis; Boyer Pneumatic Tool factories at Detroit, Mich., and St. Louis, Mo., and the Arlington Hotel and Bath House, a stately group of buildings at Hot Springs, Arkansas.”(See “Mullgardt, Louis Christian,” Press Reference Library (Western Edition) Notables of the West,Vol. II, [New York: International News Service, 1915].p. 99.)

Principal, Louis C. Mullgardt, Architect, Manchester, England, London, England, and Clyde Valley, Scotland, 1902-1905. Some of his work in England and Scotland was done is association with his former boss and Scotsman, James C. Stewart. In 1908, Stewart headed Stewart, Kerbaugh, Shanley Company, a large contracting company, based in New York, NY. The Press Reference Library stated of his work in the British Isles in 1915: "In 1902, Mr. Mullgardt went to Manchester, England, in conjunction with James C. Stewart of New York, respecting the construction of the New Midland Grand Hotel. In 1903, he went from Manchester to London, opened offices on Somerset Street, where he remained during that year and the next, engaged in conjunction with Messrs. Colcutt and Hamp in planning the extensions of the celebrated Savoy Hotel on the Strand; also alterations on the old buildings of the Savoy on the Embankment. This is one of the historic hotels of the Atlantic, and Mr. Mullgardt’s selection for this work—costing over $2,000,000—was a tribute alike to American architecture and to Mr. Mullgardt."

It continued: "“During the period covering his work on the Savoy Hotel, Mr. Mullgardt fulfilled other commissions in the British Isles. He remained in London until the year 1905, when illness in his family necessitated return to the United States. Among the architectural works of Mr. Mullgardt in Great Britain were the designs for electric power stations for the British Westinghouse Company, Heysham Harbour and at Neasden, for the Metropolitan Underground Railway of London. He also designed a large factory for the British Consolidated Pneumatic Tool Company at Frazerburg, Scotland, and two electric power stations in the Clyde Valley, Scotland.”

Principal, Louis C. Mullgardt, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1906-1917. In 1916, Mullgardt maintained an office in the Chronicle Building in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1916, p. 1376.)

Principal, Louis C. Mullgardt, Architect, San Francisco, CA, and Honolulu, HI, 1917-1922.

Principal, Louis C. Mullgardt, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1923-1942.

Professional Activities

President, San Francisco Society of Architects, San Francisco, CA.

Member, American Institute of Architects, (AIA), 1890s-1930s.

President, California Society of Etchers, San Francisco, CA, 1916. (This group was founded in San Francisco in 12/1912.)

Vice-President, San Francisco Society of Artists, San Francisco, CA.

Director, San Francisco Art Association, San Francisco, CA.

Member, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Architectural Commission and the International Jury, San Francisco, CA, 1915.

Secretary, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Group Jury for Etchings and Engravings. San Francisco, CA, 1915.

Life Member, Harvard Engineers Club, Cambridge, MA.

Architectural Advisor, National Parks Service for parks on Pacific Coast.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1894.


High School/College

Mullgardt was educated in public and private secondary schools.

Coursework, Washington University, Polytechnic Institute and Department of Fine Arts, Saint Louis, MO, c. 1881-1885.

Apprentice, Wilhelmi and Janssen, Architects, Saint Louis, MO, c. 1881-1883.

Coursework as special student, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1889-1890. (Mullgardt was listed as an alumnus in the Harvard University Alumni Directory, 1913.)



Born in Washington, MO, Louis's family lived in that city when the US Census was performed in 1870. Washington, located on the Missoiuri River about 50 miles west of Saint Louis, had a population of about 2,000, during Louis's childhood. Two German settlers--Charles Eberius and Bernard Fricke-- obtained land in Washington in 1832, and due to positive word-of-mouth, other German settlers began to congregate en masse in town during the 1830s and 1840s. The failed popular revolution of Spring 1848 further fueled immigration from Germany to Washington after 1849. These recent transplants founded some of the city's most successful businesses, including the brewery of John B. Busch, (born 1832, brother of Adolphus Busch), that opened in 1854. (John Busch had 23 children by three wives.) Many of these German immigrants were also abolitionists, and their large numbers changed prevaiing attitudes in the region towards slavery. Mullgardt's family would have been part of this influx of German residents into Washington during the mid-19th century.

According to the 1870 Census, the Mullgardt family was financially comfortable, with his parents owning about $5,000 worth of real estate, a significant sum for the time, and possessing other assets worth approximately $2,000. (See, Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Washington, Franklin, Missouri; Roll: M593_775; Page: 350A; Family History Library Film: 552274, accessed 08/04/2020.) The Mullgardts prospered and multiplied in Washington by 1880, with three more children born during the 1870s.

During his lifetime Mullgardt traveled a great deal, both for work and pleasure. An active artist, he sketched and made prints at some of his travel destinations. His first extensive trip abroad was made in 1894 to Europe, for which he applied for a US passport on 07/24/1894. He traveled to England and Scotland to work between 1902 and 1905. The architect also commuted between San Francisco and Honolulu, Hawaii, during the period 1917 through 1922. Mullhgardt also made an around-the-world trip during 1922 and 1923.

In 1900, the US Census found him living with his wife and son in the Granville Hotel at 914 North Grand Avenue in Saint Louis, MO. In 1904, this hotel had a capacity of 75 persons. (See St. Louis Florist Club Souvenir on the Occasion of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturalists at St. Louis, Missouri, August 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th, 1904, n.p., see “List of Hotels.”)

He settled permanently in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning in 1905.

The 1910 US Census located Mullgardt living by himself in the Key Route Inn Hotel in Oakland, CA, probably while he supervised a job in the East Bay. (See, Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Oakland Ward 2, Alameda, California; Roll: T624_70; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1374083, accessed 08/05/2020.)

The Mullgardts resided at 2234 Pacific Avenue in 1913, as per San Francisco voter rolls. (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

By 1916, they had moved to 2300 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1916, p. 1376.) The 1920 US Census confirmed that Mullgardt lived with his family at 2300 Van Ness Avenue. In addition to his wife and three children, his "sister-in-law," Winifred Anderson, (born c. 1880 in Salt Lake City, UT), also lived at 2300 Van Ness. According to the census, she worked as a clerk at an engineering firm at the time. (See, Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 32, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_137; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 177, accessed 08/04/2020.)

It is possible that Winifred Anderson was a servant or lodger working in the Mullgardt house, and that the census record was correct for her. The census column listing her relation to the family had been struck through with "sister-in-law" scrawled beneath. It is also possible that the 1920 entries for her were in error. Laura Steffens did not have a sister named Winifred, nor did August or Oscar Mullgardt marry women with that name, so far as is known. A Winifred Yvonne Mullgardt (1905-1955), however, would marry Louis's son, Alex S. Mullgardt, by 1938. Alex and Winifred lived at 606 Post Street, by 1938, and they were buried together in the Monterey City Cemetery. If this was the same Winifred that lived with the Mullgardts in 1920, a petition for naturalization dated 08/07/1939 existed for her, casting doubt on the information listed in the 1920 census. (See, Source Citation: National Archives at San Francisco; San Bruno, California; NAI Number: 605504; Record Group Title: RG 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009, accessed 08/05/2020.) (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

Mullgardt commuted to and from the Honolulu, HI, each year during the period 1917 until 1922.

They moved to the stately Bohemian Club apartment building at 624 Taylor Street by 1924 and continued to live there in 1933. (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

He and his wife lived at 2165 Larkin Street in 1934. By 1935, two of his children had passed away in their 20s. His son, Alex, lived at 2165 Larkin between 1936 and 1938, according to the San Francisco city directory and voter records. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1937, p. 1012 and, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

Mullgardt and his wife relocated to 717 Sutter Street by 1940. (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

He died in 1942 and was laid to rest in the Monterey City Cemetery.


His father John Christian Mullgardt, (born c. 1834 in Holstein, Germany-d. 1907) worked as a saddler in Washington, MO.

His mother, Wilhelmina Hausgen Mullgardt, (born c. 1833 in Prussia, Germany), maintained the household, that included three children in 1870, Emma Mullgardt, (born c. 1863 in Washington, MO), Louis, and August, (born c. 1868 in Washington, MO) and added three more by 1880, Ida Mullgardt, (born c. 1870 in Washington, MO), Alma Mullgardt, (born c. 1873 in Washington, MO) and William Oscar Mullgardt, Sr.,(born 06/05/1877 in Washington, MO-d. 07/08/1962 in Saint Louis, MO).

W. Oscar Mullgardt would become a notable architect, working with the Saint Louis architectural firm, Mauran, Russell and Crowell. He designed the George Fox Steedman Architectural Library within the Fine Arts Library of the Saint Louis Public Central Library.


He married Laura Steffens (born 07/12/1877 in Chicago, IL-d. 02/13/1955 in San Francisco, CA), on 06/09/1897 at Christ Church in Chicago, IL. (See, Source Information: Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 08/04/2020 and Source Information: California, Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000, accessed 08/05/2020.) The US Census of 1900 recorded her birthdate as 07/1876, although this seems to have been incorrect. (See, Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 21, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Page: 13; Enumeration District: 0316; FHL microfilm: 1240898, accessed 08/05/2020.)

Her parents were Matthew Joseph Steffens (born 1852 in Germany-d. 1928) and Rosette Fischer (born 1851 in Switzerland-d. 1914).


Mullgardt and his wife had three offspring, two sons and a daughter: Alexander Steffens Mullgardt, (born 01/03/1899 in Saint Louis, MO-d. 1951), Jack Mullgardt, (born 1906 in Alameda, CA-d. 1928), and June Mullgardt, (born 1914 in San Francisco, CA-d. 1935).

In 1920, Alex Mullgardt was a student at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). He bacame a practicing engineer in the Bay Area by the late 1930s, moving to Pasadena in the 1940s. He became the longest-lived of Louis Mullgardt's children, dying at age 52.

Biographical Notes

Some dates recorded for Mullgardt's birth do not align. A US passport application of 07/24/1894 listed his date of birth as 01/19/1866. A California Death Index record for a "Levi Christian Mullgardt" married to "Laura R. Heffens" listed incorrect birth (01/01/1867) and death dates (01/12/1942) for Louis Christian Mullgardt.

His passport application of 07/24/1894 indicated that he would intended to return to the US "within six months." (See, Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 428; Volume #: Roll 428 - 20 Jul 1894-31 Jul 1894, accessed 08/05/2020.)

According to voter records, L.C. Mullgardt was a registered Republican in 1913, a Democrat in 1920, and a Republican in 1924, The architect declined to state his affiliation in 1932, but indicated that he listed himself as a Democrat in 1933, 1934, 1936, 1938, and 1940. (See, Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 08/05/2020.)

Member, Bohemian Club, San Francisco, CA.

Honorary Member, San Francisco Press Club, San Francisco, CA.

Honorary Member, California Outdoor Art League, San Francisco, CA.

The architect worked and traveled in England and Scotland during 1903-1905, according to a US Passport application of 04/041922.

At age 56, his US passport application described him as being Caucasian with a medium complexion, standing 5-feet, 9-and-½-inches tall. He was described as having an oval face with a high forehead, aquiline nose, small mouth, and medium chin. He had brown hair and eyes. (See, Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1901; Volume #: Roll 1901 - Certificates: 144226-144599, 12 Apr 1922-12 Apr 1922, accessed 08/04/2020.)

He sailed aboard the American President Liner S.S. Garfield between London, England and New York, NY, during 03/31/1923 and 04/11/1923. (See, Source Citation: Year: 1923; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 21; Page Number: 145, accessed 08/04/2020.) His tour was to include stops in Java, Siam, India, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Denmark, Norway and England. Interestingly, in the recent wake of World War I, Mullgardt did not mention stopping in Germany, where his family had deep roots.

Associated Locations

  • Washington, MO (Architect's Birth)
    Washington, MO

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

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PCAD id: 827