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 was a mason's apprentice to his father. He also studied architecture and technical drawing at the Franklin Institute.
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.[ citation needed ]
Walter designed mansions, banks, churches, the hotel at Brandywine Springs, and courthouses.In 1836, he designed the Bank of Chester County at West Chester, Pennsylvania. In 1845, he was commissioned 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.[ citation needed ]
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 in 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. He was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.
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.
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.
Robert Mills, a South Carolina architect known for designing both the first Washington Monument, located in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the better known monument to the first president in the nation's capital, Washington, DC. He is sometimes said to be the first native-born American to be professionally trained as an architect. Charles Bulfinch of Boston perhaps has a clearer claim to this honor.
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.
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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.
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The Newkirk Viaduct Monument is a 15-foot white marble obelisk in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Installed in 1839, it is inscribed with the names of 51 railroad builders and executives, among other information.
First Presbyterian Church of West Chester is a historic Presbyterian church located at 130 W. Miner Street in West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was designed in 1832 by Thomas U. Walter, who later became the fourth Architect of the Capitol. The church is a stuccoed stone building measuring 75 feet long and 45 feet wide in the Greek Revival style. Additions were built in 1860 and 1955. The front facade features a recessed porch flanked by two projections with pilasters.
John Torrey Windrim was an American architect. His long time chief designer was W. R. Morton Keast.
Isaac Pursell was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based architect.
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.
Nicola Monachesi (1795–1851) was an Italian painter believed to have painted the earliest frescos in America. He was born in Tolentino, Marche Italy and was considered a citizen of Rome. When he died in Philadelphia, he had become a naturalized citizen of the United States. In Italy he was a pupil of the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, studying under Gaspare Landi, and won his first prize for painting. After studying in Rome, he emigrated to America in 1831-32 entering through New York and settling in Philadelphia. He worked mostly as an interior decorator, drawing neoclassical artistic paintings on wall surfaces and portrait paintings on canvass decorating churches, commercial buildings, and Mansions.
Walter Horstmann Thomas (1876–1948) was an American architect from Philadelphia whose career spanned 44 years. He is best known for approximately eighty church designs.
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