Thomas Ustick Walter
|Architect of the Capitol|
June 11, 1851 –May 26, 1865
|President|| Millard Fillmore |
|Preceded by||Charles Bulfinch|
|Succeeded by||Edward Clark|
|Born||September 4, 1804|
|Died||October 30, 1887 83) (aged|
Thomas Ustick Walter
|Buildings|| Moyamensing Prison |
|Projects|| United States Capitol dome |
Philadelphia City Hall
Thomas Ustick Walter (September 4, 1804 – October 30, 1887) was an American architect, the dean of American architecture between the 1820 death of Benjamin Latrobe and the emergence of H.H. Richardson in the 1870s. He was the fourth Architect of the Capitol and responsible for adding the north (Senate) and south (House) wings and the central dome that is predominately the current appearance of the U.S. Capitol building. Walter was one of the founders and second president of the American Institute of Architects.
Born in 1804 in Philadelphia, Walter was the son of mason and bricklayer Joseph S. Walter and his wife Deborah.
Walter received early training in a variety of fields including masonry, mathematics, physical science, and the fine arts. At 15, Walter entered the office of William Strickland, studying architecture and mechanical drawing,then established his own practice in 1830.
Walter was commissioned by Spruce Street Baptist Church to design its new building at 418 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. The 1829 building is today home to the Society Hill Synagogue.
Walter's first major commission was Moyamensing Prison, the Philadelphia County Prison. Designed as a humane model in its time, the prison was built between 1832 and 1835.
Walter also designed the First Presbyterian Church of West Chester, which opened its doors in January 1834.
In March 1834, the Walter-designed Wills Eye Hospital opened on the southwest corner of 18th and Race Streets in Philadelphia (on Logan Square).
He first came to national recognition for his design of Girard College for Orphans (1833–48) in Philadelphia, among the last and grandest expressions of the Greek Revival movement.
Walter also designed mansions, banks, churches, the hotel at Brandywine Springs, and courthouses.In 1836, he designed the Bank of Chester County at West Chester, Pennsylvania; a decade later, he designed the 1846 Chester County Courthouse in Greek Revival style. He designed the St. James Episcopal Church (Wilmington, North Carolina) which opened in 1840. In Lexington, Virginia, he designed the Lexington Presbyterian Church in 1843. The same year he designed the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In Norfolk, Virginia, he designed the Norfolk Academy in 1840. The Tabb Street Presbyterian Church was erected at Petersburg, Virginia in 1843.
It has also been suggested that Walter designed the Second Empire-styled Quarters B and Quarters D at Admiral's Row in Brooklyn, New York.
Among the notable residences designed by Walter were his own home, located at High and Morton Streets in the Germantown section of Philadelphia ; the Nicholas Biddle estate Andalusia; Inglewood Cottage; and St. George's Hall, residence of Matthew Newkirk, president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad (PW&B).Walter also designed the Garrett-Dunn House in Philadelphia's Mt. Airy neighborhood , which was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning on August 2, 2009.
Among his smaller designs was the 1839 Newkirk Viaduct Monument, commissioned by the PW&B to mark the completion of the first rail line south from Philadelphia.
The most famous of Walter's constructions is the dome of the U.S. Capitol. By 1850, the rapid expansion of the United States had caused a space shortage in the Capitol. Walter was selected to design extensions for the Capitol. His plan more than doubled the size of the existing building and added the familiar cast-iron dome.
There were at least six draftsmen in Walter's office, headed by Walter's chief assistant, August Schoenborn, a German immigrant who had learned his profession from the ground up. It appears that he was responsible for some of the fundamental ideas in the Capitol structure. These included the curved arch ribs and an ingenious arrangement used to cantilever the base of the columns. This made it appear that the diameter of the base exceeded the actual diameter of the foundation, thereby enlarging the proportions of the total structure.
Construction on the wings began in 1851 and proceeded rapidly; the House of Representatives met in its new quarters in December 1857 and the Senate occupied its new chamber by January 1859. Walter's fireproof cast iron dome was authorized by Congress on March 3, 1855, and was nearly completed by December 2, 1863, when the Statue of Freedom was placed on top. He also reconstructed the interior of the west center building for the Library of Congress after the fire of 1851. Walter continued as Capitol architect until 1865, when he resigned his position over a minor contract dispute. After 14 years in Washington, he retired to his native Philadelphia.
In the 1870s, financial setbacks forced him to come out of retirement, and he worked as second-in-command when his friend and younger colleague John McArthur, Jr. won the competition for Philadelphia City Hall. He continued on that vast project until his death in 1887.
For their architectural accomplishments, both Walter and Benjamin Latrobe are honored in a ceiling mosaic in the East Mosaic Corridor at the entrance to the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress.
Walter's grandson, Thomas Ustick Walter III, was also an architect; he practiced in Birmingham, Alabama, from the 1890s to the 1910s.
Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe was a British-American neoclassical architect who emigrated to the United States. He was one of the first formally trained, professional architects in the new United States, drawing on influences from his travels in Italy, as well as British and French Neoclassical architects such as Claude Nicolas Ledoux. In his thirties, he emigrated to the new United States and designed the United States Capitol, on "Capitol Hill" in Washington, D.C., as well as the Old Baltimore Cathedral or The Baltimore Basilica,. It is the first Cathedral constructed in the United States for any Christian denomination. Latrobe also designed the largest structure in America at the time, the "Merchants' Exchange" in Baltimore. With extensive balconied atriums through the wings and a large central rotunda under a low dome which dominated the city, it was completed in 1820 after five years of work and endured into the early twentieth century.
Daniel Chester French, one of the most prolific and acclaimed American sculptors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is best known for his design of the monumental statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.
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Norfolk Academy (NA) is an independent co-educational day school in Norfolk, Virginia. Chartered in 1728, it is the oldest private school in Virginia and the eighth oldest school in the United States. In 1966, Norfolk Academy merged with Country Day School for Girls in Virginia Beach, Virginia to create the current co-educational school. It serves students in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Suffolk.
William Strickland, was a noted architect and civil engineer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Nashville, Tennessee. A student of Benjamin Latrobe and mentor to Thomas Ustick Walter, Strickland helped establish the Greek Revival movement in the United States. A pioneering engineer, he wrote a seminal book on railroad construction, helped build several early American railroads, and designed the first ocean breakwater in the Western Hemisphere.
Napoleon Eugene Charles Henry LeBrun was an American architect known for several notable Philadelphia churches, in particular St. Augustine's Church on Fourth Street and the Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul on Logan Square. He also designed the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust Streets. LeBrun later moved to New York City, where he established the firm Napoleon LeBrun & Sons, which designed numerous notable buildings.
The West Virginia State Capitol is the seat of government for the U.S. state of West Virginia, and houses the West Virginia Legislature and the office of the Governor of West Virginia. Located in Charleston, West Virginia, the building was dedicated in 1932. Along with the West Virginia Executive Mansion it is part of the West Virginia Capitol Complex, a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The architecture of Philadelphia is a mix of historic and modern styles that reflect the city's history. The first European settlements appeared within the present day borders of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 17th century with most structures being built from logs. By the 18th century brick structures had become common. Georgian and later Federal style buildings dominated much of the cityscape. In the first half of the 19th century, Greek revival appeared and flourished with architects such as William Strickland, John Haviland, and Thomas U. Walter. In the second half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture became popular with the city's most notable Victorian architect being Frank Furness.
Elijah E. Myers was a leading architect of government buildings in the latter half of the 19th century, and the only architect to design the capitol buildings of three U.S. states, the Michigan State Capitol, the Texas State Capitol, and the Colorado State Capitol. He also designed buildings in Mexico and Brazil. Myers' designs favored Victorian Gothic and Neo-Classical styles, but he worked in other styles as well.
Samuel Sloan was a Philadelphia-based architect and best-selling author of architecture books in the mid-19th century. He specialized in Italianate villas and country houses, churches, and institutional buildings. His most famous building—the octagonal mansion "Longwood" in Natchez, Mississippi—is unfinished; construction was abandoned during the American Civil War.
William de Leftwich Dodge (1867–1935) was an American artist best known for his murals, which were commissioned for both public and private buildings.
The United States Capitol dome is the dome situated above the rotunda of the United States Capitol. The dome is 288 feet (88 m) in height and 96 feet (29 m) in diameter. It was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the fourth Architect of the Capitol, and constructed between 1855 and 1866 at a cost of $1,047,291.
Addison Hutton (1834–1916) was a Philadelphia architect who designed prominent residences in Philadelphia and its suburbs, plus courthouses, hospitals, and libraries, including the Ridgway Library and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He made major additions to the campuses of Westtown School, George School, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Lehigh University.
John McArthur Jr. (1823–1890) was a prominent American architect based in Philadelphia. Best remembered as the architect of the landmark Philadelphia City Hall, McArthur also designed some of the city's most ambitious buildings of the Civil War era. Few of his buildings survive.
J. Maximilian M. Godefroy was a French-American architect. Godefroy was born in France and educated as a geographical/civil engineer. During the French Revolution he fought briefly on the Royalist side. Later, as an anti-Bonaparte activist, he was imprisoned in the fortress of Bellegarde and Chateau D'if then released about 1805 and allowed to come to the United States, settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where he became an instructor in drawing, art and military science at St. Mary's College, the Sulpician Seminary. By 1808, Godefroy had married Eliza Crawford Anderson, editor of her own periodical, the Observer and the niece of a wealthy Baltimore merchant.
The Chester County Courthouse is a historic courthouse building located in the county seat of West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1846 at a cost of $55,346 and was designed by Thomas U. Walter. Walter also designed the dome of the United States Capitol. An addition, designed by T. Roney Williamson and constructed from Indiana Limestone, was added in 1893. Another addition was added in 1966.
Stephen Decatur Button was an American architect and a pioneer in the use of metal-frame construction for masonry buildings. He designed commercial buildings, schools and churches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey; and more than 30 buildings in Cape May, New Jersey.
Lexington Presbyterian Church is a historic Presbyterian church building at Main and Nelson Streets in Lexington, Virginia. It was designed by architect Thomas U. Walter in 1843, and completed in 1845. A rear addition was built in 1859; stucco added in the 1880s; the building was renovated and enlarged in 1899; and the Sunday School wing was added in 1906. It is a monumental "T"-shaped, temple form stuccoed brick building in the Greek Revival style. The front facade features a Greek Doric pedimented peristyle portico consisting of six wooden columns and a full entablature. The building is topped by a tower with louvered belfry and spire.
Tabb Street Presbyterian Church is a historic Presbyterian church located at Petersburg, Virginia. It was designed by architect Thomas Ustick Walter and built in 1843, in the Greek Revival style. It has stucco covered brick walls and features a massive Greek Doric order pedimented peristyle portico consisting of six fluted columns and full entablature. It has two full stories and a gallery. A three-story rear brick wing was added in 1944.
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