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5. Fones residence, 1914 5. Fones residence, 1914
555 Seventh St.

Fones Residence - 555 7th St
photo by Michael Grandcolas

Charles Sumner Greene

gamble house front left

A quintessential example of an early 20th Century Craftsman Bungalow. Note the cutout brackets under the projecting eaves, an essential bungalow feature. Two California architects, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, are often credited with inspiring America to build simple one-and-a-half story bungalows.

Charles Sumner Greene (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870-1954) were brothers born in Brighton, Ohio. During their childhood on their mother's family farm in West Virginia, the brothers developed a love of nature that is evident in their work and the way their homes integrate with the surrounding environment.

As teenagers in St. Louis, Their father, a respiratory physician emphasized that his sons grow up in an environment with plenty of light and freely circulating fresh air. Continuing their education, in 1883 and 1884 the Greene brothers were sent to the Manual Training School of Washington University where they studied woodworking, metalworking, and toolmaking.

Their father felt that the two should become architects, and at his urging, they enrolled at the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At school, they studied the traditional classic styles, and upon graduation worked as apprentices with architecture firms - Henry with the H. Langford Warren firm, and Charles with Winslow and Wetherell.

In 1893, their parents, who had moved to the "little country town" of Pasadena, requested that their sons move out to California and join them. On their journey cross country trip, the Greene brothers passed through Chicago and visited the World's Columbian Exhibition and saw examples of Japanese architecture for the first time. The light, bright feeling of Japanese design impressed them, as did the sliding walls (later to evolve into pocket doors), and flow of rooms. This experience gave them a world view on architecture that was not taught in traditional universities at the time. It became a strong influence on their later designs.
Soon after their arrival in Pasadena, Charles and Henry opened their own architectural firm - Greene & Greene was born. As some of the most renowned names in the Craftsman bungalow movement, they helped to proliferate the Craftsman bungalow architectural style throughout Southern California.

They hit their stride as architects between 1907 and 1909 with the construction of "ultimate bungalows" - which were far grander than traditional bungalows. The most famous of their constructions is the landmarked Gamble House in Pasadena.