G. Edwin Brumbaugh, son of former Pennsylvania Governor Martin Grove Brumbaugh and Anna Konigmacher Brumbaugh, was born in Huntingdon, PA. He graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia and received his B.S. in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1913, gaining the Arthur Spayd Brooke medal for 1913 and actually teaching watercolor rendering at the University during his senior year. From 1912 to 1914 he was employed as a draftsman with Mellor & Meigs
; but in 1915 he began working with Charles Barton Keen
; and this relationship lasted for a number of years. As late as 1923 Brumbaugh was supervising the work of Keen's office while Keen resided and worked in North Carolina. During World War I Brumbaugh was associated with the Emergency Fleet Corporation and associated with Simon & Bassett
on Buckman Village in Chester, PA. By 1916, however, Brumbaugh had also established an independent practice which concentrated on residential design. Over the many years of his practice, including the years when he collaborated with Albert Ruthrauff
, this emphasis would evolve to one of restoration, spurred by his interest in historical architecture. Several of the best known Pennsylvania historic sites were restored by Brumbaugh, including the Ephrata Cloister, the Daniel Boone Homestead, Baumstown, PA, Grumblethorpe (John Wistar Residence) in Germantown, and Gloria Dei Church (Old Swedes Church) in Philadelphia. His long years of activity in this area culminated in his receiving in 1979 an award from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for his restoration of the Edward Morgan Log House and in 1982 the National Trust for Historic Preservation Award.
Brumbaugh joined the AIA in 1920 and became a fellow in 1946. He served on the Independence Architectural Advisory Committee for restoration of Independence Hall.
Not just as an architect, but also as a historian, G. Edwin Brumbaugh affected the approach to historic preservation in the Middle Atlantic States. His numerous lectures spread the word that restoration was a worthy pursuit for the architect, and he was instrumental in raising local support to retain and restore even small town landmarks. Quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary, Brumbaugh stated his philosophy of work and of restoration: "I want to leave as much as I can behind. Someday historians will appreciate this. When you do it properly, you're doing a patriotic service for people who come along in the future."