Ernest Coxhead

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Ernest Albert Coxhead
Died27 March 1933
PracticeCoxhead and Coxhead

Ernest Albert Coxhead (1863–1933) was an English-born architect, active in the US. He was trained in the offices of several English architects and attended the Royal Academy and the Architectural Association School of Architecture, both in London.[1] He moved to California where he was the semi-official architect for the Episcopal Church. At the beginning of his career, Ernest Coxhead focused on designing churches, primarily in the Gothic Revival style. After the mid-1890s, Coxhead focused on residential designs. He was involved in the emergence of the Arts and Crafts style in California. He succeeded in designing residences that incorporated the elements and character of the English country house - shingled, Arts and Crafts style English Vernacular Cottages that combined elements from different periods for dramatic effect.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ernest Albert Coxhead was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex, the fourth of six children of William Coxhead, a retired schoolmaster. At the age of 15 Ernest became articled to civil engineer George Wallis. After five years experience in both public projects and residential developments, in 1883 Coxhead left Eastbourne for London. In London he worked for architect Frederic Chancellor, who restored gothic churches.[3]

Los Angeles[edit]

Coxhead moved with his older brother, Almeric Coxhead (1862–1928), to Los Angeles, California in 1886, where he established an independent practice, and soon secured commissions to design several Episcopal Churches in Southern California.

San Francisco[edit]

Coxhead's success with these projects led to commissions for several more churches in Northern California. He moved to San Francisco and opened the Coxhead and Coxhead office in 1890, with Almeric as his business partner. Seventeen Coxhead church buildings were constructed, of which eleven are extant. In 1893 his Episcopal Church client, Bishop William Kip, died and Coxhead started to concentrate on residential work. His residences include townhouses in San Francisco and large homes in Palo Alto, Alameda, and Berkeley. [4]

From 1918 to 1919, Coxhead went to LeMans, France, to organize and direct the American Expeditionary Force's University School of Architecture, established by John Galen Howard, for members of the United States armed forces stationed in France. He was subsequently appointed Chief of the University Extension Field Work of the Fine Arts Department at the University School of Architecture in Beaune, France.[5]

Coxhead returned to the United States and lived in Berkeley until his death in 1933. A collection of his work can be found in the Environmental Design Archives at the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley.[6][7]

Selected buildings[edit]


  • Bixby Ranch House, 11 La Linda Drive, Long Beach (1890)[8]
  • Coxhead House, 2421 Green Street, The Architect's City Residence. San Francisco. (Now a private residence, the home was occupied by Coxhead, his wife and three children from 1893-1903)
  • Coxhead House, 37 East Santa Inez Avenue, The Architect's Country Residence, San Mateo. Country Residence. (Now operated as a bed and breakfast inn, the home was occupied by Coxhead as a country residence from 1891 to 1924.) [1]
  • 96 Park, San Anselmo (1892)
  • Churchill house (now Cedar Gables Inn [2]), 486 Coombs St., Napa (c. 1892)
  • Loy house, 2431 Ellsworth, Berkeley (1893)
  • Goldman School of Public Policy, Berkeley (1893)
  • 2710 Scott, San Francisco (1893)
  • 2940 Jackson, San Francisco (1894)
  • 2600 Jackson, San Francisco (1895)
  • 2511 Baker, San Francisco (1895)
  • 3362 Clay, San Francisco (1896)
  • 2700 Scott, San Francisco (1897)
  • 2800 Pacific, San Francisco (1899)
  • 3647 Washington, San Francisco (1900)
  • 3232 & 3234 Pacific, San Francisco (1901)
  • 2535 Laguna, San Francisco (1902)
  • Allenoke Manor, 1777 Le Roy Avenue, Berkeley (1903)
  • Rieber house, 15 Canyon Road, Berkeley (1904)
  • 160 Prospect Avenue, San Anselmo (1906)[9]
  • Torrey house, 1 Canyon Road, Berkeley (c. 1906)
  • Williams house, Palo Alto (1907) [10][11]
  • 76 Codornices Road, Berkeley [12]

Commercial / Public[edit]


  • Church of the Epiphany, Los Angeles (1887)[14]
  • Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Sierra Madre, CA (1888)
  • Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Santa Ana (1889)[15]
  • Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, San Francisco (1890)[16]
  • Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, Monterey (1891)[17]
  • St. John's Episcopal Church, Petaluma, CA (1891)
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Red Bluff (1891)
  • Sausalito Presbyterian Church, Sausalito, CA (1905)
  • Christ Episcopal Church, Los Altos (1914), currently Foothills Congregational Church


  1. ^ "Ernest Coxhead Profile, University of California, Berkeley". Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  2. ^ Robert Winter (1997) Toward a Simpler Way of Life, The Arts & Crafts Architects of California University of California Press.
  3. ^ "Pacific Heights Architects #1 - Ernest Coxhead". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  4. ^ Richard Longstreth (1998) On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21415-3
  5. ^ Ernest Coxhead
  6. ^ "Ernest Coxhead Profile, University of California, Berkeley". Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  7. ^ "Signature style / Ernest Coxhead / Strange talents / Idiosyncratic homes helped define bay tradition". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Bixby Ranch House, Long Beach, CA". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Williams House". Archived from the original on 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  11. ^ "Plans for Williams house hit snag". Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-01-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Spanish-American War Memorial: Soldier, (sculpture)". Inventory of American Sculpture. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Church of the Epiphany". Los Angeles Conservancy.
  15. ^ "- History Episcopal Church of the Messiah". Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  16. ^ "Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, San Francisco". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  17. ^ "St. John's Chapel". Retrieved 30 June 2016.

External links[edit]