Charles Amos Cummings

Personal Data

Charles Amos Cummings was born June 26, 1833, in Boston, son of Amos Cummings and his wife Rebecca Hopkins.

He married on October 13, 1869, in Boston, to Margaret Josephine Kimball (b. 19Oct1841 in Boston; d. 14Jul1922 in Topsfield), daughter of Moses Kimball and his wife Frances Lavinia Angier Hathaway.

Charles Cummings died on August 11, 1905.


Charles Cummings was graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute in 1853.  He subsequently served as an apprentice in the offices of Gridley J. F. Bryant. In 1867, he formed a partnership with Willard Thomas Sears, who also had been a member of Bryant’s office.  Cummings and Sears remained partners until 1890, when Cummings retired.

In 1871, he designed a home for himself at 109 Newbury (230 Clarendon), which Bainbridge Bunting (Houses of Boston’s Back Bay) describes as “the first Back Bay dwelling to carry the Medieval guise beyond an occasional pointed window.”  Bunting notes that “this dwelling seeks to compress too many ‘Medieval’ forms into a dwelling on a modest 25-foot corner lot,” and that it demonstrates Cummings’s “penchant for contrasting materials: salmon-colored pressed brick, cream-colored Nova Scotia sandstone, black (tar-impregnated) brick, and slate in three colors.”

Among Cummings and Sears works are Brechin Hall (1861) and Stone Chapel (1867) at Phillips Andover; the Sears Building (1868), probably the first office building in Boston to have been dependent upon the elevator; Hotel Boylston (1870; demolished) at Tremont and Boylston Streets; the New Old South Church (1874-75) in Copley Square; the Bedford Building (1875-76) at 99 Bedford, and the Cyclorama Building (1884), now the Boston Center for the Arts, at 538 Tremont Street.

Back Bay Work

1869 165 Beacon [Cummings and Sears]
1872 230 Clarendon (109 Newbury) [Cummings and Sears]
1872 121 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1872 9 Gloucester [Cummings and Sears]
1872 11 Gloucester [Cummings and Sears]
1872 13 Gloucester [Cummings and Sears]
1872 15 Gloucester [Cummings and Sears]
1872 322 Marlborough [Cummings and Sears]
1875 55 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1876 261 Clarendon (Demolished) [Cummings and Sears]
1876 51 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1876 113 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1876 115 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1877 49 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1881 380 Marlborough [Cummings and Sears]
1885 316 Beacon [Cummings and Sears]
1885 132 Commonwealth [Cummings and Sears]
1885 388 Marlborough [Cummings and Sears]
1886 371 Beacon [Cummings and Sears]
1886 428 Marlborough [Cummings and Sears]
1887 396 Marlborough [Cummings and Sears]