1800 - 1829

Architect, engineer and humanist Benjamin Henry Latrobe is considered to be the first professional architect in America. (This is a controversial title among proponents of master builder/architects such as fellow Philadelphian Robert Smith, who built the Christ Church steeple, and gentlemen amateurs such as Thomas Jefferson.) When the English-born Latrobe moved to this city, Philadelphia was the new nation's undisputed cultural and architectural capital. It was Latrobe's appointment as architect of the Bank of Pennsylvania (1798-1801, demolished c. 1870) that brought him here. His design for this bank is credited as the first major American example of the Greek Revival. Later, the Greek Revival was chosen for a number of banks and other important public buildings in the city, including the Merchant's Exchange and the Second Bank of the United States, both by William Strickland, who apprenticed under Latrobe. Other examples are: the Fairmount Waterworks by Frederick Graff; Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb - now University of the Arts - by John Haviland; the Ridgway Library by Addison Hutton; and Girard College by Thomas Ustick Walter. (Walter apprenticed under Strickland and was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects when it was formed in New York in 1857.)