Born in August 1889 in Tacoma, architect Christopher Frank Mahon, began his architectural training as a draftsman for I. Jay Knapp in Tacoma in 1908 at the age of 19. He quickly learned his trade and reportedly by 1910, Mahon had risen to the level of partner and the firm name was changed to Knapp & Mahon. However the partnership was short-lived and in 1912 Mahon opened his own architectural practice. The next year architect Charles Frederick W. Lundberg joined the firm.
Together the firm of Lundberg & Mahon designed a variety of commercial, institutional, industrial, and residential buildings of varying sizes in Tacoma and other communities in western Washington. Additionally the firm had several commissions associated with the Catholic Church including their most notable work—the Gothic Revival style Holy Rosary Catholic Church (1920) at 520 South 30th St. in Tacoma. Other church projects include the main buildings at Saint Martin’s College in Lacey (1913 and 1919); and the Knights of Columbus Community Center and War Memorial Building (1921) in Everett; Church of the Visitation (1914) in Tacoma.
By the early 1920s, the firm was one of the more prominent architectural firms in the South Sound region. A 1921 Tacoma Daily Ledger article described the firm: “Since the formation of the partnership in 1913 the firm has planned and supervised the construction of something more than 230 better class buildings, many of them institutions. Lundberg & Mahon represent the newer school of architecture, in that they have assimilated and combined an engineering department with their regular department of architecture, thereby enabling builders to place the entire business of construction in the hands of one firm, a great factor in efficient design and erection of the building, experts assert.”
Other notable designs in Tacoma include the Scandinavian Salvation Army (1914); the Antone Davis Building/Spar Restaurant (1916); Steam Baking Co. (1917); the Sauriol-Martin Building/Orpheum Theater (1919); the Northern Pacific Bank (1914); the City Transfer and Storage Co. (1916); and the C.O. Lynn Funeral Home (1918).
For reasons unknown, Lundberg & Mahon dissolved their partnership in 1923 after ten years in business together. Reportedly Mahon took over their Seattle office and Lundberg remained in Tacoma and opened up his own office. Known projects by Mahon include the P.N. Wallerich House (1923); St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (1925), Kent; a Rod & Gun Club on Island Lake (1927), near Bremerton; the Hotel Hungerford (1928), Seattle; and the Cascadian Hotel (1929), Wentachee. Mahon also provided the initial designs for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Seattle (1928), but the project was reworked by another firm. With his nephew, he devloped the Brookdale Golf Coure in Parkland and designed the clubhouse for the course in 1931.
In 1929 Mahon and Lundberg reunited and maintained offices in Seattle and Tacoma. By then Lundberg had another partner, George L. Ekvall. Known as Lundberg, Mahon, & Ekvall, projects included a proposed design for the New Yakima Hotel (1930) in Yakima; a two-story commercial building at the NE corner of 6th Ave & Jackson (1932), Seattle; Holy Rosary Catholic Church (1937), Seattle; and the John Anderson Apartments (1938), Tacoma.
Mahon returned to Tacoma in 1936 and reopened an office. The new firm was formally dissolved in 1941 when Lundberg retired and moved to Whidbey Island.
Mahon served as president of the Tacoma Society of Architect (1916) and was an active member of the American Engineers Society and the National Architects Society. On the social side he served as president of the Brookdale Golf Club (1935).
Mahon died in Tacoma on October 10, 1947 at the age of 59.
By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian – August 2012