Alexander Parris bigraphy, stories - American architect

Alexander Parris : biography

November 24, 1790 - June 16, 1852

Alexander Parris (November 24, 1780 – June 16, 1852) was a prominent American architect-engineer. Beginning as a housewright, he evolved into an architect whose work transitioned from Federal style architecture to the later Greek Revival. Parris taught Ammi B. Young, and was among the group of architects influential in founding what would become the American Institute of Architects. He is also responsible for the designs of many lighthouses along the coastal Northeastern United States.


[[United First Parish Church, 1828, Quincy, Massachusetts -- exterior]] -- and interior

  • 1801 - Joseph Holt Ingraham House, Portland, Maine
  • 1803-1804 - Maine Fire & Marine Insurance Company Building, Portland, Maine
  • 1804 - James Deering House, Portland, Maine
  • 1805 - Commodore Edward Preble House, Portland, Maine
  • 1805 - Hunnewell-Shepley House, Portland, Maine
  • 1806-1807 - Portland Bank, Portland, Maine
  • 1807 - St. John's Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • 1809-1810 - Moses Payson House, Bath, New Hampshire
  • 1812 - Wickham House, Richmond, Virginia
  • 1813 - Executive Mansion, Richmond, Virginia
  • 1816 - Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Massachusetts
  • 1818 - 39 and 40 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1819 - Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1819 - David Sears House (now the Somerset Club), Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1819 - Appleton-Parker House, or Nathan Appleton Residence, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1822 - St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Windsor, Vermont
  • 1824 - Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • 1824-1826 - Quincy Market, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1828 - United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts
  • 1834 - St. Joseph's Church, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1834 - Ropewalk, Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts
  • 1836 - Chelsea Naval Hospital, Chelsea, Massachusetts
  • 1837 - Chelsea Naval Magazine, Chelsea, Massachusetts
  • 1839 - Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse, between the islands of Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut, Maine
  • 1847 - Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse, south of Mount Desert Island, Maine
  • 1848 - Libby Island Lighthouse, Machiasport, Maine, at the entrance to Machias Bay
  • 1848 - Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, 6 miles south of Matinicus Island, Maine
  • 1848 - Whitehead Island Lighthouse, Whitehead Island, Maine—southern entrance to Penobscot Bay
  • 1849 - Execution Rocks Lighthouse, Long Island Sound, New York
  • 1850 - Monhegan Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island, Maine

Image:The Wickham House, Richmond, VA.jpg|Wickham House, 1812, Richmond, Virginia Image:Somerset Club, Boston, MA - front facade.JPG|Somerset Club, 1819, Boston, Massachusetts Image:Pilgrim Hall Museum.JPG|Pilgrim Hall, 1824, Plymouth, Massachusetts Image:Executionrocks.jpg|Execution Rocks Light, 1849, Long Island Sound

Boston and federal patronage

In 1815, he moved to Boston, where he found a position in the office of Charles Bulfinch. Like his famous employer, Parris produced refined residences, churches and commercial buildings. When in 1817 Bulfinch was called to Washington to work on the U.S. Capitol Building, Parris helped complete the Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital. With Bulfinch's departure, Parris soon became the city's leading architect, and a proponent of what would be called "Boston Granite Style," with austere, monolithic stonework. Around 1818-1823 he kept an office on Court Street.Boston Directory. 1818, 1823 He belonged to the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association.Joseph Jenkins. An address delivered before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanick Association, December 17, 1818, being the anniversary of the choice of officers, and fourth triennial celebration of their public festival. (Boston: Munroe & Francis, 1819)

[[Quincy Market in 1830, Boston, Massachusetts]] In 1824, however, he began a twenty-year association working for the Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown. He would end his career as chief engineer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. With the federal government as patron, Parris produced plans for numerous utilitarian structures, from storehouses to ropewalks, and was superintendent of construction at one of the nation's first drydocks, located at the Charlestown base. Today, he is fondly remembered for his stalwart stone lighthouses, commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. They are often of a tapered form termed "windswept."

Living octopus

Living octopus

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