Charles Frederick Whittlesey

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El Tovar Hotel, designed 1905
Riordan Mansion State Park, 1904

Charles Frederick Whittlesey (1867–1941) was an American architect best known for his work in the American southwest, and for pioneering work in reinforced concrete in California.


Born in Alton, Illinois, Whittlesey was a draftsman for Louis Sullivan before opening his own Chicago practice.[1] Many of Whittlesey's major commissions show Sullivan's influence.

In 1900, at the age of 33, Whittlesey was appointed Chief Architect for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. Among many other stations and hotels for the railroad, he designed the El Tovar Hotel, the former Harvey House situated just 20 ft from the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. It stands at the northern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway, formerly a branch of the Santa Fe. The hotel is one of only a handful of Harvey House facilities still in operation, and is an example of National Park Service Rustic architecture. The razed Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico was also his design, with interior work done by Mary Colter.

Whittlesey moved to San Francisco in 1907 and worked mainly there and in Los Angeles, becoming known for his early work in reinforced concrete.

Whittlesey's son Austin C. Whittlesey (1893 - 1950) was also an architect, apprenticed in the office of Bertram Goodhue for seven years, and was active in Southern California in the 1930s. While working as staff designer for Allison & Allison he designed the 1930 Southern California Edison Building, across the street from Goodhue's L.A. Public Library.




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  2. ^ Poling-Kempes, Lesley, The Harvey Girls Marlowe and Company, New York, 1989 p. 157
  3. ^ Berke, Arnold, Mary Coulter: Architect of the Southwest, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2002 p, 55
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ * El Tovar Hotel, 167-168
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  9. ^ Gebhard and Winter, A Guide to Architecture in Los Angeles & Southern California, Peregrine Press Inc., Santa Barbara, CA, 1977, p. 211
  10. ^ McGrew and Julian, Landmarks of Los Angeles, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1994 p. 65
  11. ^ Moore, Becker and Campbell, The City Observed: Los Angeles, Vintage Books, New York, 1984, P336-337
  12. ^ Gebhard and Winter, ‘’A Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California’’, Peregrine Smith Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1985 p. 80
  13. ^ Corbet, Michael, "Splendid Survivors: San Francisco's Downtown Architectural Heritage", The Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage, San Francisco, CA 1979 p. 222
  14. ^ Woodbridge, Sally B. and John M. Woodbridge, ‘’’Architecture’ San Francisco, the guide’’, American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter, San Francisco, CA, 1982 p. 58-59
  15. ^
  16. ^ Gebhard and Winter, ‘’A Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California’’, Peregrine Smith Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1985 p, 162