Architect Charles Bulfinch

Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844)

Bulfinch was born 1763 in Boston. He was educated at Boston Latin School and Harvard University, from which he graduated with an AB in 1781 and Master's degree in 1784. He then made a grand tour of Europe from 1785-1787, where he was influenced by the classical architecture in Italy and the neoclassical buildings of Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Adam, William Chambers and others. Upon his return to the United States in 1787, he became a promoter of the ship Columbia's voyage around the world. His first building was the Hollis Street Church. Among his early works are a memorial column on Beacon Hill, the first monument to the American Revolution, the Federal Street theatre, the "Tontine Crescent", the Old State House in Hartford in Connecticut and the Massachusetts State House. Over the course of ten years, Bulfinch built a remarkable number of private dwellings and several churches in Boston, of which New North is the last standing. Under his direction, both the infrastructure and civic center of Boston were transformed into a dignified classical style, also he was responsible for the design of the Boston Common, the remodelling, the Massachusetts State Prison, University Hall for Harvard University,  the Meeting House in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the Bulfinch Building of Massachusetts General Hospital and the enlargement of Faneuil Hall. As Commissioner of Public Building, Bulfinch completed the Capitol's wings and central portion, designed the western approach and portico, and constructed the Capitol's original low wooden dome to his own design. In 1829 Bulfinch completed the construction of the Capitol, 36 years after its cornerstone was laid.

Important works by Charles Bulfinch

  • The Capitol, Washington
  • Boston Common
  • Massachusetts State Prison
  • University Hall for Harvard University
  • Meeting House in Lancaster
  • Bulfinch Building of Massachusetts General Hospital