In a profession where advancement is dependent upon knowledge and skill, success is achieved only through individual merit. It is a wise provision of nature that learning cannot be inherited, that we enter this world on an equal intellectual basis, and therefore are dependent upon our own labors and application for the learning which fits us for life’s practical duties. Each individual masters the same rudiments of knowledge as all others, and when this is accomplished it will then be found that he has developed the ability to carry his labors still farther along special lines, fitting him for a particular work. It is true that with only an elementary education some may enter certain lines of business and attain success, or by inheritance or influence secure control of a prosperous enterprise; but in professional life progress and success depend solely upon the efforts of the individual, — his close application, his mastery of scientific principles and his ability to apply them to the affairs of life.
Greater credit is therefore due one who owes his prosperous and enviable business standing to his own labors, as does Mr. Armstrong, who is numbered among the most capable electrical engineers in the entire country. Steadily he has advanced step by step until he has long since left the ranks of the many to stand among the successful few, and material evidences of his marked ability are seen in some of the finest buildings throughout the land. He has his office and maintains his residence in Chicago, but as consulting electrical engineer he has traveled throughout the greater part of the Union, and has gained a reputation scarcely second to any in the country.
Charles Goold Armstrong is one of the “native sons” of whom LaSalle county, Illinois, has every reason to be proud. He was born there August 23, 1858, and in the public schools acquired his preliminary education. His boyhood days were spent upon the home farm, and he early became familiar with the labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. His early school training was supplemented by a course in the University of Illinois, at Champaign, having made his own way through college, thus showing forth the elemental strength of his character, which in later years has enabled him to work his way steadily upward.
For two years after leaving the university Mr. Armstrong was engaged in the drug business, and then devoted three years to civil engineering. Since that time he has given his entire attention to electrical engineering, and in 1890 opened an office in Chicago. During the ten years which have come and gone from the time he first began business in Chicago he has served as consulting electrical engineer in connection with the equipment of many of the finest buildings in the city and throughout the country. He served in that capacity for the Auditorium, the Schiller Theater, the Great Northern Theater and the Stock Exchange Building, of Chicago; the Union Trust Building and the St. Nicholas Hotel, in St. Louis; the Commercial Building of Louisville, Kentucky; the City Hall, the Milwaukee Public Library and the Pabst power plant, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the plant of the Marquette Placer Mining Company, in central Colorado; the Guarantee Building, in Buffalo, New York; the Grand Central Depot and the Union Loan & Investment Company Building, in New York city; and the St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company, at Minneapolis, having an electrical plant of ten thousand horse power, this power being transmitted ten miles, — a marvelous piece of electrical engineering. These serve to indicate the marked ability of Mr. Armstrong, whose close study of electricity and his thorough understanding of its uses have made him one of the leaders in his profession in the United States.
In 1881 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Armstrong and Miss Frances Lowry, a daughter of Colonel Francis Lowry, who was the commander of the One Hundred and Seventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteers during the civil war, and was killed at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee. To Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong have been born four children: Florence, Frances, Clara and Charlotte. In his political views Mr. Armstrong is a Republican. Socially he is connected with the Union League Club of Chicago. His own life, in its splendid success, illustrates most clearly the opportunities which this land, unhampered by caste or class, offers to those who really desire advancement. His social qualities, courtesy and kindly manner have won him many friends, and the circle of his acquaintances is very extensive. ((Source: Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle and Grundy County, Illinois, Volume II, Chicago, 1900, p. 485-487.))