Charles Sumner Greene was born October 12, 1868 to Lelia Ariana and Thomas Sumner Greene in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fifteen months later, on January 23, 1870, Henry Mather Greene was born. The family later moved to St. Louis where, as teenagers, Charles and Henry attended Calvin Woodward’s Manual Training School of Washington University, which offered a revolutionary curriculum based on
the education of the hand as well as the mind. This early training was the primary source of the brothers’ focus on tools, materials, and craftsmanship. In 1888 the brothers enrolled in the architectural program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. In 1891 both brothers completed their studies with Certificates of Partial Course, the two-year program followed by most MIT architecture students. They then apprenticed with several of the finest architectural firms in Boston, including those whose principals had been associates of the noted Henry Hobson Richardson.
In 1893 the Greene brothers traveled west to Pasadena to visit their parents, who had moved from St. Louis the previous year and in the fall of 1894, they opened their architectural practice.
Henry Mather Greene married Emeline Augusta Dart in 1899, and in a few years, Charles wed Alice Gordon White. Charles and Alice’s four-month honeymoon in England, Scotland and Europe sparked Charles’ interest in the English Arts and Crafts Movement.
Activity in the Greene & Greene office was at its peak during the years 1902-1910, with primary focus on residential design. It was during this period that they created some of their finest work. By 1903, Greene & Greene began to offer integrated design services for their clients, providing design and construction supervision of furniture and other interior appointments. They completed approximately 150 projects during these prolific years.
After 1911 the practice began to decline because Greene & Greene designs demanded higher fees and clients experienced frequent schedule overruns. The situation became unacceptable to most clients and by 1916, the brothers personal interests diverged. Charles moved to Carmel to pursue other creative paths, while Henry continued the firm's work in Pasadena until the dissolution of the firm in 1922. Henry practiced independently after the separation and Charles, too, worked on occasional commissions during the 1940’s, most being additions and renovations for former clients.
The death of Henry’s wife in 1935 affected him so deeply, that he eventually moved to the home of his son and daughter-in-law, where he continued to work on small projects, reuniting with Charles briefly on a commission. Charles managed to remain much more active in architecture during the Depression of the 1930s, but his interests soon shifted to passionate study of Eastern philosophy, spiritualism and creative writing. Henry passed on October 2, 1954, in Pasadena, California and Charles died on June 11, 1957 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Charles and Henry Greene are widely considered to have brought high-art aesthetics and exquisite craftsmanship to the American Arts and Crafts Movement in the early part of the 20th century. Their work continues to be exhibited worldwide and is included in decorative arts collections in museums in the United States and throughout Europe. Greene & Greene designs strongly influenced California’s architectural heritage, their work has had international significance as well, inspiring countless architects and designers around the world through a legacy of extant structures, scholarly books and articles. They were recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1952 for contributing to a "new and native architecture" and are generally credited with fostering a new way of considering buildings and their furnishings as examples of artistic craft.
Popular architecture and design magazines such as The Craftsman, House Beautiful, The International Studio, Country Life in America, House and Garden, Good Housekeeping, and American Home and Garden began featuring articles on Greene & Greene work in 1902, this acclaim helped spread the their designs throughout the country. The rediscovery of their work by the architectural press in the 1950s created a new group of admirers who celebrated their distinctly American interpretation of the Arts and Crafts style as an antidote to the International style, which had gained popularity in Europe and elsewhere.
Today, the current generation of Greene & Greene aficionados tour the Greene & Greene residencies and other buildings in California with reverence, like pilgrims paying homage to honored monuments. The Gamble House, one of their masterpieces, receives 30,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Recently available public tours of the Thorsen and Blacker houses drew thousands of visitors and raised awareness of both Greene & Greene residential architecture and furniture design. Interior, architectural design, and architectural history journals such as Style 1900 and American Bungalow are now full of vendors offering reproductions of their furniture and décor.
Howard Gates was born in 1867 in the San Jose Institute, a private school run by his father Freeman. As a young boy Howard probably rode the first horse cars out the Alameda all the way to downtown Santa Clara, fished in the Guadalupe Creek , and marveled at the new-fangled electric lighting on the 230 foot tower sitting astride the intersection of Market and Santa Clara Streets.
Gates attended U.C. Berkeley during the period when Bernard Maybeck was commissioned by Phoebe Hearst to make a master plan for that campus. It is possible that he may have met the great architect at this time; at any rate he would have been aware of Maybeck's work.
After graduating from Berkeley, Gates enrolled in Cooper Medical College in San Francisco. He later received his MD degree from New York's Homeopathic College.
Dr. gates returned to San Jose in 1895 and began his practice in the old Porter Building at Second and Santa Clara Streets. Two years later he married Amelia Levenson, also an MD, and soon they had a thriving practice at their Gates Sanitarium at Eleventh and Santa Clara. This location, then on the edge of town, would later attract other medical establishments, including San Jose Hospital.
By 1904 the Gates' were affluent enough to have their custom built home erected on Thirteenth Street, just two blocks from their sanitarium. Howard's hope of walking to work was short lived, however, as he was soon to be appointed superintendent of the County Hospital, and this would require that he take "Big Red" streetcars across town.
The Earthquake of '06 caused extensive damage to many local buildings. St. Patrick's Church on Santa Clara, the Normal School on Washington Square , and the County Hospital were left in total ruin. It became Dr. Gates greatest challenge to supervise the reconstruction of the County Hospital.
Howard and Amelia took a two year sabbatical in 1908 and traveled to Berlin, Vienna and Zurich to brush up on the latest surgical techniques.
Although hardly 40, Howard's heavy workload was taking its toll on his health, and in 1909, his family convinced him to relocate to the Los Angeles area. Soon after, he suffered a serious mental breakdown. In 1913 he crossed the Atlantic to take the cure in Sorrento on the Bay of Naples. His condition worsened and he was moved to Rome where he lived out his last days surrounded by his family which now included an adopted son.
The end came on May 1, 1914, just a few months before the continent was swept up in the "Great War." The cause of his tragic death at age 47 was diagnosed as an acute case of "peripheral neuritis." One can't help wondering if that 2 year trip abroad in 1908-09 had not been a fruitless search to find a cure for his mental illness.
Gates body was cremated in Rome and returned to California. The records at Oak Hill Cemetery indicate that his ashes were buried there when his mother was interred in the family plot in 1920. There is no inscription on the stone, however, he lies in an unmarked grave in the section of Oak Hill which is reserved for San Jose Pioneers.
Bernard Maybeck, son of an immigrant woodcarver, was sent by his father to Paris in 1881 to learn furniture design. While in Paris, he decided to follow his true bent and enrolled in the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts which was the seat of classicism in the arts. Maybeck's classical training would serve him time and again, when as an architect in San Francisco, he combined a myriad of classical styles into romantic dream houses which his skeptical peers labeled "creative eclecticism."
Using local materials, especially redwood, and extensive landscaping, Maybeck and others created California's first original architecture, referred to as San Francisco Bay Tradition. Maybeck's two most outstanding landmarks in the Bay Area are the Palace of Fine Arts, created for the Pan Pacific Exposition of 1914, and the Christian Science Church in Berkeley. The architect's less imposing, but in many ways more fascinating creations, were the many private homes he designed around the Bay Area. The greatest accumulation of these fanciful homes is in the hills on the north side of the Berkeley campus where Maybeck himself lived.
The Maybeck homes are adapted to Northern California living, i.e., they conform to our regional climatic conditions, and they extend the free flow of space by eliminating the distinction between indoors and out of doors. His hill houses make extensive use of balconies, rooms which open into gardens, and large cathedral height windows which make the rooms seem more spacious than they actually are. The lavish use of carved redwood on the interiors and exteriors, and the delicate gothic tracery windows were evidence that Maybeck didn't stray too far from his father's profession. Maybeck believed, as did his internationally famous contemporary, Frank Lloyd Wright, that the home should blend in with the natural landscape that surrounds it.
Much of Maybeck's domestic work prior to the earthquake reflected his interest in Swiss, German and English medieval styles. The house he designed for Howard B. Gates in San Jose is a good example of his eclectic genius. Basically Italian in design, its extended roof line, forming a cover for elaborately sculptured baroque balconies, gives the upper portion of the house a Swiss flavor. What appears from the street to be a home of one and one half stories, is actually three stories high. The first story, lowered into the grade, includes the kitchen and dining room and servant's room. A large oval shaped opening in the rear leads from the dining area onto what was a sunken garden. A circular stair leads from the lowered first floor to the spacious living room and on up to the bedrooms which are tucked neatly into what one would normally consider the attic space. Natural light comes in from the numerous rear windows and skylights.
Text taken from Historical Footnotes of Santa Clara Valley by Jack Douglas
The Shingle Style
Peabody & Stearns
Peabody & Stearns designed residences for nearly every housing need; over 70 houses in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood; resort cottages in Northeast Harbor, Maine; Lenox, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island; and suburban and urban dwellings in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. Formats and materials varied according to location and to the client’s wishes.
Vinland, Ochre Point, Newport, Rhode Island Original Owner: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Year Built: 1882 Current Owner: Salve Regina University Material: Longmeadow, Massachusetts red sandstone.
Wolfe was purported to be the wealthiest single woman of her day. Vinland was enormous—168 long by 58’ deep (later enlarged by Hamilton McKown Twombly), decorated in Aesthetic Movement style, with interior elements by William Morris, Burne-Jones and Walter Crane. See: Rebecca A. Rabinow. “Catharine Lorillard Wolfe,” Apollo Magazine, March 1998; Sanitary Engineer Magazine, March 26, 1885; George W. Sheldon, Artistic Country Seats (1886-1887).
Rockhurst, Ochre Point, Newport, Rhode Island Original Owner: Mrs. H. Mortimer Brooks Year Built: 1891 Current Owner: Demolished. Carriage House privately owned. Material: Rocky Farm stone and wood
The style of Rockhurst was influenced by the chateaux of the Loire Valley. Mrs. Brooks resided on Fifth Avenue, NYC, and had a summer house on Long Island in addition to this massive cottage on Bellevue Avenue and The Cliffs. The floor plan of Rockhurst incorporated open air terracing and porches into the interior plan to a larger extent than perhaps any other design by the firm. See: William H. Jordy and Christopher P. Monkhouse. Buildings on Paper: Rhode Island Architectural Drawings 1825-1945. Providence, RI: Brown University, 1982; Russell Sturgis. “A Critique of the Work of Peabody and Stearns.” New York: The Architectural Record Co. , “Great American Architects Series,” No. 3, July 1896; Reprint, New York: Da Capo, (1896) 1971., pp 53-97.
The Breakers, Ochre Point, Newport, Rhode Island Original Owner: Pierre Lorillard Year Built: 1877-1878 Current Owner: Destroyed by fire, 1892 Material: Brick and shingle
The Breakers was Peabody & Stearns’ first significant cottage on Ochre Point. Its Queen Anne styling, lavish decorations and lush landscaping (Ernest Bowditch) were well published in contemporary literature. The house was sold to Cornelius Vanderbilt in October 1885, and remodeled; it later burned in November 1892, making way for Richard Morris Hunt’s monumental Breakers which currently occupies the site (Preservation Society of Newport County). See: George W. Sheldon. Artistic Country Seats. (New York: Appleton, 1886-87; Charles H. Dow, Newport Past and Present, 1880.
Kragsyde, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts Original Owner: George Nixon Black Year Built: Current Owner: Demolished Material: Shingle
Kragsyde was probably Peabody & Stearns’ best known cottage residence, both during their time and for generations after; it is certainly the most frequently published image of their work.
Romanesque & Gothic Revival
Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-86)
Studied at Harvard and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1859-62) .While in Europe he worked under henri Labrouste and Jakob Ignaz Hittorf. Trinity Church, Boston defined his unique style which became known as "Richardsonian Romanesque" because of the parallels with Romanesque principles. He was very influential in his short life; followers include Charles Follen McKim, Stanford White, Louis Sullivan, and John Wellborn Root. (WJC)
Richardsonian Romanesque (1870-1895)
Style named for Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886). It is a revival style based on French and Spanish Romanesque precedents of the 11th century. (Romanesque preceded Gothic in European architecture.) Richardson's style is characterized by massive stone walls and dramatic semicircular arches, and a new dynamism of interior space. Continuity and unity are keynotes of Richardson's style. The Richardsonian Romanesque eclipsed both the IInd Empire Baroque and the High Victorian Gothic styles; the style had a powerful effect on such Chicago architects as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, and influenced architects as far away as Scandinavia.
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