Henry J. Brunnier. In his profession as a structural engineer, Henry J. Brunnier has designed and supervised some of the most notable work in this line on the Pacific coast in recent years. Mr. Brunnier was sent to San Francisco by a New York engineering firm on May 4, 1906, two weeks after the great fire. Since 1908 he has been in business there for himself. He was born in Manning, Iowa, November 26, 1882, son of Martin and Caroline (Meyer) Brunnier. His grandfather Brunnier was born in France, while the Meyer family is of Danish ancestry. Martin Brunnier was a farmer in Iowa, later a merchant at Manning, and served as mayor of that town.
Henry J. Brunnier, one of three children, two of whom are living, spent the first ten years of his life on his father's Iowa farm. After that he lived at Manning, attended public schools, graduated from high school in 1900, and soon afterward entered Iowa State College at Ames. He was a student of engineering there, and graduated in 1904. Soon after leaving college, Mr. Brunnier entered the engineering service of the American Bridge Company at Pittsburgh. A year later he removed to New York City and became a structural engineer with the New York Edison Company.
The firm of Ford, Bacon & Davis, one of the large engineering corporations of New York, with branch offices in San Francisco, sent him to the Pacific coast in May, 1906, and for two years he remained with that firm. In 1908 he began the individual practice of his profession. Since then Mr. Brunnier has designed the first concrete piers and seawalls for the San Francisco Harbor Commission, utilizing concrete instead of the old wooden structures. He is designer of the Young Men's Christian Association at San Diego, a building that attracted much attention in engineering journals on account of its originality and departure from the usual types. He also designed the Marston Department Store at San Diego, the American Can Company and Examiner Building at Los Angeles, and the Shredded Wheat Company's plant at Oakland. Mr. Brunnier is patentee of a hanging fender for docks, and was called to Honolulu to install these fenders on the piers of that city. For a number of years Mr. Brunnier has had an extensive general engineering practice, involving a great deal of work besides the larger enterprises just mentioned. At Santa Cruz he designed a timber wharf extending 3,000 feet out in the open sea. Predictions were made that the wharf was impractical, but eight years of test has proved its seaworthiness. At San Francisco,Mr. Brunnier designed the Memorial Golden Gate Museum for M. H. de Young, the Civic Center Library, the Gantner and Mattern knitting factory, the meat packing plant of the Virden Packing Company and numerous structures for the Standard Oil Company, one of the most important of which is the new office building, the largest of many large buildings of San Francisco. He also designed the Sharon Building and other structures for the Sharon estate, the Balfour-Guthrie Building, the California Insurance Building, the Federal Reserve Bank Building, the Holbrook, Merrill & Stetson Warehouse and several warehouses for the Haslett Warehouse Company. Mr. Brunnier has designed and constructed a number of bridges in Humboldt County, one of which is the bridge spanning the South River at Port Kenyon. This bridge contains the largest concrete girder span in the world. The span being 142 feet in length.
During the World war Mr. Brunnier left his office on a twenty-four hour notice, and going to Washington, was associated with Rudolph Wig in charge of all concrete ship construction by the Government.
Mr. Brunnier is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Pacific Association of Consulting Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, American Wood Preservers Association. He is a Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi, was elected to the honorary college association of the Cardinal Guild, is past master of Davidson Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner, is past president of the San Francisco Rotary Club, and past district governor and past international vice president of Rotary, is a member of the San Francisco Commercial Club, the Engineers Club, Old Colony Club, Chamber of Commerce, president of Lake Merced Golf and Country Club and Crystal Springs Golf Club.
In 1905 Mr. Brunnier married Miss Ann Weideman. They have one son, Henry, now attending Stanford University.
Transcribed by Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard Vol. 3 page 178-180. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.
© 2004 Marilyn R. Pankey