Charles H. Bigelow

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Charles H. Bigelow (died April 15, 1862) of Lowell, Massachusetts was a 19th-century architect. Bigelow was a graduate of West Point, ranking second in the class of 1835.[1] He married Harriet Briggs, daughter of the late Massachusetts Governor George N. Briggs. He died in New Bedford, Massachusetts April 15, 1862.[2] On March 31, 1847, Bigelow was one of a group of influential citizens in Lawrence, Massachusetts that founded and chartered the Franklin Library Association, now the Lawrence Free Library.[3] Bigelow was the Association's first president.[4]


Bigelow was the chief engineer of the Pemberton Mill,[5] the collapse of which "is likely the worst industrial accident in Massachusetts history"[6] and "one of the worst industrial calamities in American history".[7] According to one account:

Jesse Glover, overseer of repairs testified at the inquest that he had always considered the building weak. John B. Tuttle, superintendent of brick work testified that he had complained to the architect, Bigelow, that he thought the walls were insufficient. Mr. Bigelow in turn blamed the owners. Bigelow said that it was the owners who were responsible for all the purchasing and the approval of the iron castings. [8]

Bigelow also worked as a consultant on the Augusta Canal.[9]


  1. ^ "History of the churches of New Bedford", page 45 (Pacific Church)
  2. ^ "Genealogy of the Bigelow Family” by Gilman Bigelow Howe (1890)
  3. ^ Lawrence Free Library website
  4. ^ "About Us" Archived 2009-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. on the Lawrence Free Library website
  5. ^ "The Disaster at Lawrence; Additional Testimony-Further Subscriptions-Progress in Relieving the Sufferers" New York Times (January 21, 1860)
  6. ^ "Pemberton Mill Collapse, 1860" on the Celebrate Boston website
  7. ^ Oickle, Alvin F. "Disaster in Lawrence: The Fall of the Pemberton Mill" on the website
  8. ^ "The Pemberton Mill Disaster of 1860" on the Hobo Philosopher website
  9. ^ "Historic American Engineering Record of the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service" Archived July 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.