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Born: c. 1815, Died: c. 1880

Charles P. Dwyer, architect, author, and editor was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada prior to 1844. By 1847 he had moved to Buffalo, NY, where he is variously listed in city directories and in the 1850 census as an architect, a a reporter for the Buffalo Republic (1850-1851), and presumably as an agent for the Light House Insurance Company (1854-1855). His last listing in Buffalo as an architect was in 1856. During this period Dwyer also began to publish. In 1852 he issued the first of a projected nine-part History of Buffalo, only one part of which is known to have appeared. His Economic Cottage Builder (Buffalo: Wanzer, McKim & Company, 1855 and later) and Economy of Church, Parsonage and School Architecture (Buffalo: Phinney & Company, 1856) were published shortly thereafter. In 1860 his Memoir of Commodore O. H. Perry was published in Cleveland, OH, suggesting that the gap between Buffalo and Dwyer's appearance in Philadelphia might have been spent in that city.

The earliest Dwyer can be placed in Philadelphia is 1870, when he lists himself as an editor of Samuel Sloan's short-lived Architectural Review and Builders' Journal at 152 South Fourth Street. Dwyer had written two articles on foundations for this journal in November and December of 1868, and he may have been associated with Sloan's venture prior to 1870. For the following decade, Dwyer is variously listed in the Philadelphia city directories as a civil engineer, professor of architecture, and as an architect. He disappears from Philadelphia directories in 1880, but a search of Philadelphia sources provides no reference to his death. During these Philadelphia years Dwyer produced his Immigrant Builder; or, Practical Hints to Handymen Showing Clearly How to Plan and Construct Dwellings in the Bush, on the Prairie, or Elsewhere, Cheaply and Well, with Wood, Earth, or Gravel . . . (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1872). The Immigrant Builder is claimed to have gone through ten editions, although only copies of the tenth (Philadelphia: 1878 and New York: c. 1884) have been located.

Written by Roger W. Moss.


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