Charles C. Rittenhouse, who was the first mayor of Tropico, was born in Van Wert County, Ohio, August 16, 1852, a son of Mathias M. and Christine (Stock) Rittenhouse. His parents were also natives of Ohio. His grandfather, Christian Rittenhouse, was a native of Philadelphia. The Rittenhouse family was established in America by three brothers, who left Holland as young men and came to Philadelphia in pre-revolution days. They built the first paper mill in that city. One of them was a surveyor and helped survey the boundary line between Pennsylvania and New York.
The subject of this sketch attended the district schools of Van Wert County, after which he served an apprenticeship as a carpenter. His pay at first was $8.00 a month, and the working days in the summertime were from sun to sun. In winter months he taught school. Such was the program of his life until 1877, excepting several months that he spent in an architect’s office at Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 1875 and 1876. Taking a westward course through Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska, he arrived at Hastings, Nebraska, in August 1877, and soon thereafter opened an architectural office, it being the first of its kind established there. He remained there for eighteen years, during which time he was a leading citizen of that city. He served on the city council for ten consecutive years, serving two years as major. He became very prominent in Masonry. He is a Past Master of Hastings Lodge No. 50 F. & A. M., a Past High Priest of Hastings Chapter, No. 21, R.A.M., a Past Master of Hastings Council, No. 8 and a Past Commander of Mt. Nebo Commandry., No. 11, Hastings, Nebraska. He was also prominent in the Grand Chapter R.A. M. of the State of Nebraska, and is a Past Grand High Priest of R.A. M., and a Past Grand Master of the Grand Council of the State of Nebraska. He designed practically all of the public buildings which were constructed in Hastings and the surrounding country during the time he lived there, which included the Adams County Courthouse, at Hastings. He also invested in farmlands, and was for a time engaged in the nursery business on quite a large scale.
In 1898, he sold out and went to Colorado, where he followed his profession at Canon City and Cripple Creek for seven years. He came to Tropico in 1905 and purchased a home at 1319 Walnut Street, where he has since resided. In July of the same year he opened an office in the Wilcox building, Los Angeles, the location of his present office. He has designed and erected many apartment houses in Los Angeles, although he has not specialized in any one kind of construction. Upon the incorporation of the City of Tropico in 1911, he was elected a trustee and was made president of the board. In 1915 when Glendale Commandry, No. 53, Knights Templar, was organized, he became one of its charter members and has been its recording secretary ever since. He is also a member of Glen Eyrie Chapter, Order Eastern Star.
At Hastings, Nebraska, on November 29, 1879, Mr. Rittenhouse married Elvira L. Morse, a native of Iowa City, Iowa. Their children are Frank and Chas. C., Jr., of Glendale: Ralph, of Toronto, Canada; and Pearl (now Mrs. D. D. Markwith) of Edendale. Mrs. Rittenhouse passed away in October 1911.
From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 362-363.