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Jack Quinan

(b Hartland, CT, June 15, 1773; d Springfield, MA, July 26, 1845).

American architect and writer. Benjamin was one of the most influential architect–writers of the first half of the 19th century in the USA and was trained as a housewright in rural Connecticut between 1787 and 1794. Two of his earliest commissions, the carving of Ionic capitals (1794) for the Oliver Phelps House in Suffield, CT, and the construction of an elliptical staircase (1795) in Charles Bulfinch’s Connecticut State Capitol at Hartford, reveal an exceptional ability with architectural geometry that was to help to determine the direction of his career. Benjamin worked as a housewright in a succession of towns along the Connecticut River during the 1790s. In 1797, dissatisfied with the publications of William Pain, an English popularizer of the Neo-classical style of Robert Adam, Benjamin wrote The Country Builder’s Assistant, a modest handbook for carpenters that was the first such work by an American writer. In ...


Darryl Patrick

(fl 1820–50).

American architect. There is evidence that Bond was trained by Solomon Willard. Certain of Bond’s designs suggest the Greek Revival approach that Willard brought from Washington, DC. Bond’s style moved between Gothic Revival and a Neo-classical heaviness. In the Salem City Hall of 1836–37 the two-storey Greek Revival façade shows his carefully proportioned details. An example of Gothic Revival is St John’s Episcopal Church and Rectory (1841), Devens Street, Boston, which has a rather heavy granite façade dominated by a square tower with a battlemented roof-line; there are large quatrefoil windows in the walls below. In the same year Bond was called to Oberlin College in Ohio to design First Church, which had to be a Greek Revival design. He worked on Lewis Wharf (1836–40; later remodelled), Boston, where certain walls reflect his attraction to boldly massed granite surfaces. Bond’s best-known buildings during his life were at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. These included Gore Hall (...


Leslie Freudenheim

(b Ellisburg, NY, 1859; d Burlingame, CA, Jan 21, 1896).

American architect. Despite his tragically brief career and six Neo-classical buildings, A. Page Brown will be remembered for his Ferry Building, the centerpiece of San Francisco’s waterfront; that city’s Swedenborgian Church with its Mission-style chairs, both icons of the American Arts and Crafts Movement; and his Mission-style California building for the 1893 Chicago Exposition, a structure that helped establish Mission and Mediterranean styles as appropriate for both domestic and commercial designs throughout the Southwest.

After briefly attending Cornell University, Brown spent three years with the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. By December 1884, after two years studying European architecture, he opened his own New York practice. Commissions in San Francisco from the Crocker family in 1889 led him to open a West Coast office. He supervised the completion of the first Grace Cathedral (1890, replaced), designed the city’s second skyscraper and, in February 1892, his Mission Revival style design won the competition for the California State Building for the ...


W. McKenzie Woodward

(b Pawtucket, RI, July 26, 1801; d Providence, RI, Sept 28, 1890).

American architect. Bucklin’s early training in architecture was as apprentice to John Holden Greene. When he was 21 he formed a partnership with William Tallman, a builder and timber merchant, and they remained associates until the early 1850s. Russell Warren worked with them between 1827 and the early 1830s, as did Thomas Tefft between 1847 and 1851.

Tallman & Bucklin was a prolific firm. It engaged in speculative residential construction and was awarded some choice local commissions between the late 1820s and 1850s. Most of these were Greek Revival, including the Providence Arcade (1828), a monumental covered shopping mall; Westminster Street Congregational Church (1829; destr.); Rhode Island Hall, Brown University (1840); the Washington Row (1843–5; destr.); the Providence High School (1844; destr.); and Athenaeum Row (1845), all in Providence. The Tudor-style Butler Hospital (1847), Providence, is probably by Tefft, the architectural prodigy who was working for the firm while a student at Brown University....


Jack Quinan

(b Boston, MA, August 8, 1763; d Boston, April 15, 1844).

American architect. Bulfinch was a leading architect of the Federal period in America, but had no formal architectural training.

Born to an aristocratic Boston family, Bulfinch graduated from Harvard College in 1781. In 1785 he embarked on a two-year tour of Italy, France and England, during which he developed a special enthusiasm for the Neo-classical style of Adam, Robert. On his return, he married a wealthy cousin and, by his own account, spent the following eight years ‘pursuing no business but giving gratuitous advice in architecture’. Bulfinch designed approximately 15 buildings during this early period, including three churches, a theatre, a state house for Connecticut, seven detached houses and a group of row houses. The style derives clearly from Adam, but it is notably shallow and linear, owing perhaps to the American use of wood and brick rather than stone, and to Bulfinch’s probable reliance on sketches and engravings of the English models. It is also likely that, at this stage of his career, Bulfinch did not supervise his buildings but merely provided elevations and floor plans to builders who constructed them. Notable among his early works are two churches for Pittsfield and Taunton, MA (both begun in ...


Leland M. Roth

(b Hudson, NY, Aug 24, 1806; d Baton Rouge, LA, May 10, 1852).

American architect. He spread eclectic historicism to the western states in the mid-19th century. Dakin was first trained as a carpenter but in 1829 entered the office of architects Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis in New York. Highly skilled as a draughtsman, in 1832 he became a full partner in the firm. He was responsible for the Rockaway Marine Pavilion (destr.), a large Grecian-style hotel on Long Island. Soon after starting his independent practice in 1833 he designed the Bank of Louisville (1834–6), KY, an excellent example of his adaptation of Greek elements for an American business building. The details recall similar motifs that appeared in Minard Lafever’s books, for which Dakin drew some of the plates. Though known principally for his Classical Greek designs, Dakin was also an early designer in the Gothic Revival style, as in his Washington Square Dutch Reformed Church, New York (...


Patrick A. Snadon

(b New York, July 24, 1803; d Orange, NJ, Jan 14, 1892).

American architect. From the 1830s to the 1850s he was one of the most influential architects in the USA. His work ranges from major government and institutional buildings to ornamental garden structures; his main contribution to American architecture was his introduction of the European Picturesque in his designs for Italianate and Gothic Revival country houses and cottages. With his partner, Ithiel Town, he also refined and popularized the American Greek Revival. He revolutionized American architectural drawing through rendering buildings in romantic landscapes rather than in the analytical, Neo-classical style that preceded him. In 1836 he helped form the American Institution of Architects and advanced professionalism in American architecture through his scrupulous office practices, being, for example, the first American architect to use printed, standardized specifications.

At the age of 16, Davis left school in New York to work as a type compositor in Alexandria, VA. During this time, probably influenced by reading contemporary Gothic novels, he made drawings of prison and castle interiors akin to Piranesi’s engravings of imaginary prisons. In ...


Donna McGee

(b London, 1799; d Montreal, June 23, 1872).

Canadian architect of English birth. His background is unclear, but he was evidently trained in the Neo-classical style, probably in London, and emigrated to Canada in 1838. He settled in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where he completed his first major commission, the Court House (1841) in Sherbrooke, a Neo-classical brick building with a Doric portico. He subsequently moved to Montreal and appears in notarial records as an architect between September 1841 and February 1872. His masterpiece is the Bonsecours Market (1844–7), Rue des Commissaires, Montreal, a commission won by competition in 1842. Combining Greek Revival and Palladian styles, it was conceived as a multipurpose building to be used as a market, concert hall and offices of the city council. Its tin-covered dome crowns a long stone building, with central entrances and end wings. Facing the port, it has three storeys with a rusticated basement, hammer-dressed stone in the main part and channelled ashlar with radiating voussoirs at the wings. The city façade on Rue St-Paul is of two storeys, with a pediment over the entrance supported by six baseless cast-iron Doric columns. The dome is set on a high drum, with wood Ionic pilasters between arched windows. Few other buildings are attributed to him with any certainty....


Robert L. Alexander

(b Paris, 1765; d Paris, 1848).

French architect and draughtsman, active in the USA, England and France. All that is known of the first 40 years of Godefroy’s life is that he served 18 months in the army, probably practised engineering briefly and spent 19 months in Napoleonic prisons before being exiled to the USA. He arrived in New York on 26 April 1805 and in December took up a post as drawing-master at the college founded by the Sulpicians of St Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. His modest competence in drawing, evident in several works in pencil and pen, bistre and coloured washes, suggests training. A few are landscapes and one, the Battle of Pultowa (1804–5; Baltimore, MD Hist. Soc. Mus.), is a historical composition, but most are Neo-classical designs, for example for diplomas, employing allegorical subject matter. Godefroy’s importance lies in his introduction of recent French ideas in the buildings he designed and built in Baltimore. He began to study architecture ...


Leland M. Roth

(b Livorno, Italy, c. 1763–4; d Washington, DC, Feb 5, 1826).

American architect of English origin. After studying architecture with James Wyatt in London, he received the first travelling scholarship in architecture from the Royal Academy (1790). He was, however, frustrated with his progress professionally. On the recommendation of the painter John Trumbull, then serving as Secretary to the American Minister to Great Britain, Hadfield was appointed superintendent of construction of William Thornton’s US Capitol in Washington, DC. In 1795 he emigrated to the USA. While overseeing construction of the Capitol, Hadfield established a practice in Washington, in 1796 designing the first US Treasury building (destr.), the Ionic order of which was based on that of the Erechtheion, Athens. Hadfield thus shares with Benjamin Henry Latrobe the honour of bringing a true Greek Revival to the USA. Hadfield’s boldest Greek Revival design was the emphatic portico he added to the Custis-Lee Mansion (1817–20) in Arlington, VA; the six massive unfluted Doric columns are modelled on those at Paestum. His most important extant buildings show his command of the Greek Revival idiom and include his Ionic Washington City Hall, with its grand Ionic portico (...


George E. Thomas

(b Gudenham Manor, near Taunton, Somerset, Dec 12, 1792; d Philadelphia, PA, March 29, 1852).

English architect and writer, active in the USA. He was apprenticed in 1811 to James Elmes (1782–1862), a successful London architect and writer on art and architecture. In 1815, after the minimal service of four years, Haviland set out for Russia where he hoped to gain an appointment in the Imperial Corps of Engineers. In St Petersburg he met the American ambassador and future president, John Quincy Adams (1735–1826), and his future brother-in-law, George von Sonntag, who encouraged him to immigrate to the USA. In 1816 Haviland arrived in Philadelphia, where he hoped to set up an architectural practice like Benjamin Henry Latrobe before him. Philadelphia had changed, however, since the national capitol had moved to Washington, DC, and the economic centre had shifted to New York. Where Latrobe had pioneered the role of the professional architect in the USA, Haviland initially succeeded to his position of taste-maker, bringing fashionable English styles to anglophile Philadelphia. Like so many of his contemporaries, Haviland needed to use every opportunity to present his talents, including teaching and publications. Shortly after his arrival, he was conducting classes on architecture; simultaneously he wrote ...


Antoinette J. Lee

(b Kilkenny, Ireland, c. 1758; d Washington, DC, Dec 8, 1831).

American architect of Irish birth. He studied architecture under the guidance of Thomas Ivory at the Royal Dublin Society’s School of Architectural Drawing c. 1779. Faced with limited professional prospects in Ireland, Hoban immigrated to the USA in 1785, settling first in Philadelphia. Two years later he moved to Charleston, SC, where private residences and public buildings such as the former State House (1789; now a court-house) are attributed to him. In 1787 he met George Washington, who was then on a tour through the southern states; this meeting led to Hoban’s participation in the competition of 1792 for the design of the President’s House (now the White House). He won with a design for a three-storey rectangular stone building, with a projecting central section of engaged columns above a heavy base. The central section and the floor plan resembled the Neo-classical Leinster House, Dublin, the residence of the Dukes of Leinster, built in ...


(b Rutland, MA, Oct 28, 1766; d Albany, NY, Jan 31, 1836).

American architect. His earliest training was with his father Samuel Hooker (1746–1832), a carpenter and builder. The family moved in 1772 to Albany, NY, the centre of Hooker’s activity throughout his life. The source of his training in drawing and surveying (the latter always a second profession) is unclear: he was possibly a pupil of the French architect Pierre Pharoux (c. 1760–95), who spent the winter of 1794–5 in Albany. Hooker’s first commission was the North Dutch Church (1796–8; now First Church of Albany). The influence of the Neo-classicism of Charles Bulfinch is strongly evident, particularly the latter’s Hollis Street Church, Boston, of 1787–8. Hooker’s original design is known from drawings, as the central portico of the church was destroyed during renovations in 1857. His next commission was the first New York State Capitol Building (1804–6; destr. 1883) in Albany. Few of Hooker’s buildings survive, although among those that do is the Albany Academy (...


David Rose

(b Devonshire, 1809; d Kingston, Ont., March 27, 1869).

Canadian architect of English birth. After training as a carpenter in Devonshire and a builder in London, he went to Kingston, Ontario, c. 1832. He worked on the Palladian-style court-house (1837–9; destr.) in Belleville by Thomas Rogers (c. 1780–1853), shaping four large tree trunks into Ionic columns for the portico. Returning to England in 1840, probably to acquire further training, Horsey was back in Kingston one year later listed as Architect, Civil Engineer and Master Builder and profitably engaged in building and selling terrace houses and single dwellings. For his family, Horsey built Elizabeth Cottage (c. 1843), 251 Brock Street, Kingston, an Early Gothic Revival residence, as a replica of the Horsey family manor house in Sherborne, Dorset. In 1848 Horsey succeeded William Hugh Coverdale as architect of the Provincial Penitentiary in Kingston. He continued Coverdale’s general classical scheme for the prison and designed a dome for the main building (rebuilt ...


Malcolm Thurlby

(b Bengeo, Herts, July 27, 1803; d Toronto, Feb 3, 1890).

Canadian architect of English birth. Born with the name John Corby, he was articled to the architect William Ford (fl 1820s) in London in 1824. In 1832 he moved to Canada, settling in Toronto, then still known as York, and changing his name to Howard. He was one of the first formally trained architects in the city and he became one of the busiest in Upper Canada in the 1830s and 1840s; he also held the post of Drawing Master at Upper Canada College (1839–56). Of the many buildings he completed in Toronto before his virtual retirement in 1855, only his cottage orné, Colborne Lodge (1836; now a museum), survives. However, he established Neo-classical architecture as the model for commercial and public buildings in Toronto in the 1830s and 1840s with such works as the city’s Third Jail (1838; destr.); the Bank of British North America (...


Robin B. Williams

(b Bath, 1792 or 1793; d Port Louis, Mauritius, 1837).

English architect, active also in the USA. Jay was among the earliest professionally trained architects to practice in the USA. From 1817 to 1820, he worked in Savannah, GA, where his celebrated Regency-style designs for public buildings and houses employed advanced building technology rarely seen in America. The son of a nonconformist minister, Jay was born in 1792 or 1793 in Bath, England, to a family of stonemasons. He was apprenticed in London to the architect David Riddall Roper (1773–1855) from 1807 to 1813 and exhibited student work at the Royal Academy beginning in 1809. Jay’s first commission, the Albion Chapel (1815–16), Moorfields, London, revealed Regency stylistic leanings with its simple square shape, blind arches and a crowning Pantheon-like dome.

In 1817 Jay immigrated to Savannah to design the Richardson-Owens-Thomas House (1816–19), a commission received through a family connection. The house is a tour de force...


Frederick D. Nichols

(b Shadwell, VA, April 13, 1743; d Monticello, VA, July 4, 1826).

American statesman and architect. One of the great founding fathers of the American nation, he was a self-taught and influential architect whose work was influenced by his first-hand experience of French architecture and his admiration for Classical architecture. ‘Architecture is my delight, and putting up and pulling down one of my favorite amusements’, he is reputed to have said. His major works are his own house, Monticello, VA, the State Capitol at Richmond, VA, and his innovative designs for the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. He also conducted one of the earliest systematic archaeological investigations of a Native North American site, excavating a burial mound on his Virginia farm in 1784.

Son of a surveyor working in Virginia, he went on his father’s death to stay with his cousins at Tuckahoe, an early 18th-century plantation still existing on the lower James River. The H-shaped house had ingenious dome-shaped plaster ceilings in the office and schoolroom, possibly an influence on his later work. While a student at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, in ...


Antoinette J. Lee

(b Paris, Aug 2, 1754; d Green Hill, MD, June 14, 1825).

American urban planner and architect of French birth. He was born into an artistic family, members of which served the French court, and grew up in circumstances that imbued him with an appreciation for art, architecture, city planning, and garden design (particularly the landscapes of André Le Nôtre at Versailles and elsewhere). In 1771 L’Enfant studied fine arts at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Paris. Six years later, as a lieutenant in the French Army, he volunteered his services to the new American republic in its struggle with Great Britain. During the War of Independence (1775–81), he saw action at Valley Forge, PA, Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, and produced portraits and other illustrations in such quantity that he was referred to as the ‘Artist of the American Revolution’. In 1782, at the request of General George Washington, L’Enfant designed a temporary pavilion (destr.) in Philadelphia for the celebration of the birth of Louis XVI’s first son. In recognition of his services to the American nation, he was breveted a major in the Corps of Engineers in ...


Denys Peter Myers

(b nr Morristown, NJ, Aug 10, 1798; d Williamsburgh [now within Brooklyn], NY, Sept 26, 1854).

American writer and architect of French descent. He trained as a carpenter and later became an architect, following a development typical of his generation. By 1828 he had moved to New York City. He is best known for the manuals he wrote for builders. His first, The Young Builder’s General Instructor (1829), included plates copied from Metropolitan Improvements (1827–9) by the architectural writer and lecturer James Elmes (1782–1862). Dissatisfied with his own work, Lafever withdrew the book, which was succeeded in 1833 by his second and more mature work, The Modern Builder’s Guide. James Gallier (i), Lafever’s partner from 1832 to 1834, did the frontispiece, and James H. Dakin drew six of the 89 plates. By 1855 seven editions had appeared. The Beauties of Modern Architecture (1835), with 46 plates by Lafever and one by Charles L. Bell, his partner in 1835...


Jeffrey A. Cohen

(b Fulneck, W. Yorks, May 1, 1764; d New Orleans, LA, Sept 3, 1820).

English architect and engineer, active in the USA. His reputation rests on his efforts to introduce into a young USA unfamiliar new standards of professional practice and new advances in design. The standards and advances were those Latrobe absorbed in the 1780s and early 1790s in the offices of engineer John Smeaton and architect S. P. Cockerell, among the most prominent men in Britain in their respective fields. Before Latrobe arrived in Virginia in 1796, European professionals of comparable or greater standing in these fields had come to the USA, including William Weston (c. 1752–1833) in 1792, Etienne-Sulpice Hallet (1755–1825) in the late 1780s, and George Hadfield in 1795. It was Latrobe’s distinction, however, through his own efforts and through those of his pupils, to establish this professionalism in a lasting way in the USA. Beyond this, his works merit consideration for their artistic quality alongside those of the first rank internationally, while the survival of much of his considered testimony about design, about his professions and about the general temper of his times makes him one of the most articulate informants on these topics....