Charles Bowler Atwood

Personal Data

Charles Bowler Atwood was born on May 18. 1849, in Charlestown, the son of David Atwood and his wife Lucy Jane Bowler (daughter of Thomas Bowler).

He died on December 19, 1895, in Chicago.


Charles Atwood attended Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School from 1868 to 1870, after which he entered the offices of Ware and Van Brunt.

In 1872, he opened his own offices in Boston.  Among his work during the next three years, he designed the Merchants Fire Insurance Building in Worcester and the Five Cent Savings Bank in Lowell.  In 1875, he moved to New York, where he assumed charge of the architectural work of Herter Brothers, decorators. While with them, he designed the twin Vanderbilt houses on Fifth Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets. He later resumed independent practice, designing (among others) the Twombly and Webb Houses and doing work at the estate of Mrs. Mark Hopkins at Great Barrington.

In 1890, he joined in partnership with Daniel H. Burnham and, in 1891, became “Designer in Chief” of the Chicago World’s Fair, where he is credited with designing more than sixty of the Fair buildings.  In 1893, Burnham originated a new firm, D. H. Burnham & Co., with Atwood as design director.  He resigned from the firm on December 10, 1895, and died nine days later.

Back Bay Work

1883 176 Commonwealth
1883 178 Commonwealth