Nov. 12, 1839 Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA
Jun. 27, 1912 Wallingford Delaware County Pennsylvania, USA
Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Architect. Served as Captain and commander of Company F, 6th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry ("Rush's Lancers"). He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of Trevailian Station, Virginia on June 12, 1864. His citation reads "Voluntarily carried a box of ammunition across an open space swept by the enemy's fire to the relief of an outpost whose ammunition had become almost exhausted, but was thus enabled to hold its important position". The Medal was issued on October 20, 1899. He had been recommended for the Medal after the war, but refused it until later in his life. Captain Furness was better known as a major Philadelphia architect between 1870 and 1900, and designed over four hundred buildings including banks, churches, synagogues, rail stations for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Ohio railroads, and numerous stone mansions for wealthy businessmen in Philadelphia and along Philadelphia's Main Line, as well as a handful of commissioned at the New Jersey seashore, Washington, D.C., New York state, and Chicago, Illinois. Furness studied architecture in France as there were no schools of architecture in the United States immediately after the Civil War. His bold, heavy, eclectic Gothic style was akin to John A. Roebling's famous Brooklyn Bridge with its imposing Gothic towers. His first major work, Philadelphia's Academy of Fine Arts, is still standing and in use as a teaching institution (located at North Broad Street at Cherry Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Thomas Eakins was a controversial instructor at the Academy of Fine Arts at the time of Frank Furness. During the 1930s, the Victorian era style of architecture fell into disfavor, with a more streamline style taking hold for buildings and automobiles. Between the 1930s and the 1950s, over half of Furness' buildings met the wrecking ball. Almost all of his residential mansions were demolished in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s as fuel oil prices rose, but there are several splendid examples of his residential work still in existence along Philadelphia's Main Line and in Center City Philadelphia.