CHARLES W. MacKENZIE, a general contractor of El Paso, where many evidences of his handiwork and business ability are seen, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, a son of William and Luck (Hitchborn) MacKenzie. The father was for many years one of the prominent building contractors of Boston, where his death occurred in 1887. Mrs. MacKenzie, who is now living with her son Charles in El Paso, comes of an old Massachusetts family, the Hitchborns having been known in New England at an early day, representatives of the name being actively and prominently connected with naval engineering and construction.
Mr. MacKenzie, of this review, was reared and educated in his native city, benefiting by the excellent school system there. He also served his apprenticeship in carpentering there, and when twenty-one years of age he made his way westward, locating first in Los Angeles, California, where he began dealing in sporting goods, firearms and other equipments of that character. Beginning in 1890 he continued in business in southern California for four or five years, and for a short time was similarly engaged in Arizona, but on account of extreme financial depression following the money panic of 1893 he lost the fortune that he had accumulated after removing to the west, so that when he reached El Paso in 1896 his capital consisted of but thirty-five cents. It is a remarkable fact that this gentleman who began life practically penniless in this city is now one of the representative business men of El Paso, and is meeting with splendid success, which has been won through his energy, ability and skill as a general building contractor. To this line of activity he has devoted his energies and attention in undivided manner since coming to this state. He has been connected with most of the important building operations of El Paso, which is rapidly being improved in this direction. He took the contract for the construction of the beautiful Brazos apartment house, for the building of the Southwestern Telegraph & Telephone Company, the Federal Smelter, the school building at Las Cruces and others. He maintains the highest credit and financial standing in business circles, and that he has prospered is indicated in his own beautiful home at the corner of Brown and Nevada streets.
Mr. MacKenzie was married to Miss Nellie Brennick, of a New York family. Mr. MacKenzie has been a leading figure with the famous volunteer fire department of El Paso, almost continuously from his arrival here, is now foreman of Hose Company No. 1, and has been enthusiastic in maintaining the efficiency and reputation of the department in the contests in which it has engaged throughout the state. He belongs to the chamber of commerce of El Paso, is identified with the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, and his name is an honored one in business, social and political circles.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 539-540.