Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders

McDougall Bros.

McDougall Bros. was an architectural firm consisting of Charles C. McDougall (1857-1930), Benjamin G. McDougall (1865-1937) and George B. McDougall (1868-1957). Their father, Barnett McDougall (1825-1905), came to California in 1856. He was a pioneer builder/architect with offices in San Diego and San Francisco.

Charles C. McDougall was born in San Francisco in 1857. He trained as an architect in his father's office. Benjamin G. McDougall was born in San Francisco on January 10, 1865. He began his architectural studies in 1883, studying at the California School of Design and working in his father's office. George B. McDougall was born in San Francisco on October 11, 1868. Like his brothers, he trained under his father. They worked with him as B. McDougall & Sons before forming their own firm, McDougall Bros.

During the mid-1890s the brothers had offices in San Francisco and Bakersfield. Benjamin moved to Bakersfield in 1896 and captured an impressive list of commissions for municipal buildings, schools, banks, business blocks, hotels, and homes in the Valley. Charles and George ran the San Francisco office. Their first major effort to do work in Fresno came in 1896 when they submitted plans for an orphanage. However, the project was later abandoned by the County Board of Supervisors as too costly. At the turn of the century, Benjamin moved the office to Fresno. Among the firm's projects were the Kings County Jail (1898), the Hanford Carnegie Library (1905), the Merced Security Savings Bank (1905), the Visalia First National Bank (1905), and many residences in Fresno.

Fresno City College Admin BuildingAfter the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, McDougall Bros. closed its Fresno office. Benjamin immediately struck out on his own and built an influential private practice in San Francisco and the East Bay. His most significant Bay Area building was the Oakland Federal Building (1913). George and Charles continued as McDougall Bros. until George was appointed State Architect in 1913. Charles, who had the least success, started his own small practice and shared office space with Benjamin for many years.

Among the projects George supervised during his tenure as State Architect were the State Normal School at Santa Barbara, the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery at Inyo, and the State Normal School at Fresno (shown on right). The latter, completed in 1915, became Fresno State College. McDougall retired from his post in 1938. Charles died on July 12, 1930, Benjamin on June 11, 1937, and George on April 20, 1957.

©1997 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.