Biography of Charles H. Chandler

As state architect Charles H. Chandler had charge of some of the most important administrative and executive functions exercised by the state government. For many years before his appointment to the present office Mr. Chandler was recognized as one of the most competent and successful contractors and architects, and he had rendered valuable service since he became state architect in May, 1909, by appointment from Governor Stubbs.

In 1911 he was resppointed by Governor Stubbs and had continued in the position under subsequent administrations. It will serve to indicate the importance of his office to mention some of the larger buildings in the coastruction or remodeling of which he had served as architect. Chief among these should be mentioned the splendid Memorial Building at Topeka, illustrated and described on other pages of this publication. He was also architect for the Gymnasium and Armory at Manhattan; the new Agricultural Building at Manhattan; the Manual Arts Building and the reconstruction of the main building at the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg; the Preston B. Plumb Building at the State Normal School at Emporia; the Sheridan Hall at the State Normal School at Hays; and many others.

Charles H. Chandler came to Kansas in April, 1879. He continued his literary education in the country schools of Southern Kansas in Chase County. He was singularly fortunate in having for a teacher Mrs. C. S. Evans, who was a product of the culture of Boston, Massachusetts, and whose name is spoken with reverence by all who came under her instruction. It was Mrs. Evans who brought the school attended by Mr. Chandler in Chase County to a high state of perfection, so that it was recognized as second to none in the entire state. At the age of seventeen Mr. Chandler apprenticed himself to learn the carpenter’s trade, and while thus employed, under the advice and direction of his old teacher, he pursued technical studies such as were not deemed essential to the trade at that time, but which are now a usual part of trade instruction. It was largely due to this early influence that Mr. Chandler developed his trade as a carpanter into the profession of architect. He had always been a student and keenly acquisitive of all technical knowledge which would benefit him. It is not out of place to mention the fact that in his fortieth year he devoted some time to increasing his technical knowledge by pursuing a course of instruction through a correspondence school. In the meantime he had served his time as a journeyman carpenter and for a number of years had been in the general contracting business.

Of New England birth and ancestry, Charles H. Chandler was born in the Town of Chester, Windsor County, Vermont, November 11, 1864. His ancestors came to America in Colonial times and by grant of King George hI. the Town or Township of Chester, in Windsor County, Vermont, was given to the Chandlers, and while various parcels of the land were sold at different times, the original homestend remained in the Chandler name until 1876. Up to that time there was a small entailment, known as a crown tax, regularly paid by the family.

Mr. Chandler’s parents were Roswell H. and Mary E. (Leland) Chandler, his father having been a Vermont farmer and from that state he moved his family to the Town of Lancaster, New Hampshire, in 1876, and then in the spring of 1879 they all came out to Chase County, Kansas, locating on a farm seven miles south of Cottonwood Falls at the trading point known as Bazaar, a station on the old Santa Fe Trail. There Roswell Chandler and wife spent the rest of their days. In 1893 and again in 1895 Roswell H. Chandler was a representative in the State Legislature and for many years held the office of justice of the peace.

It was his success as a building contractor and architect that brought Charles H. Chandler into the public service. In 1900 he came to Topeka as superintandent of construction under the State Board of Charities during the erection of the Administration Building for the Topeka State Hospital. When this work was finished in November, 1903, Mr. Chandler opened an office in Topeka and continued in private practice as an architect until he became state architect in 1909. He had been prominent in the Masonic Order, and in 1914 was grand master of the grand lodge of the state and is now Grand Royal Arch Captain of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

In 1886 Mr. Chandler married Mary F. Leonard. Their two children are Birdine Leonard and George Lleland. Mr. and Mrs. Chandler are members of the Christian Science Church.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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