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 Alexander Jackson Davis

Alexander Jackson Davis

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 14 Jan 1892 (aged 88)
West Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Burial Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 15680118 · View Source
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Architect. Recognized as the premier architect of mid-19th Century America, Davis was instrumental in popularizing the Greek Revival style which characterized the nation's public buildings and private houses from the Federal Period to the outbreak of the Civil War. His many works include the old New York Customs House, the state capitols of Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and North Carolina, and the halls of the Virginia Military Institute, among others. He is best known, however, for such picturesque Gothic country houses as "Lyndhurst" in Tarrytown, New York. Originally an illustrator, and profoundly inspired by the Hudson River school of art, he sought to create architecture in harmony with its natural setting, and began a trend toward freer, more irregular building forms. He also pioneered the concept of the residential park suburb as early as the 1850's with the design of "Llewellyn Park", now a gated community in present day West Orange, New Jersey. The son of an itinerant bookseller, Davis spent his childhood in Newark, New Jersey, and in the New York cities of Auburn and Utica. At age 14 he was sent to a half brother in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn the printing trade, but devoted his energies to reading novels and acting in amateur theatricals, developing the romantic imagination that later defined his life's work. It was also during this time that he made connections in Southern society that would lead to many of his commissions. Determined to become an artist, he returned to New York six years later, where he trained at the American Academy of Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design, and befriended Rembrandt Peale, John Turnbull, and other noted painters of the day. His talent as an illustrator led to his employment by architect Ithiel Town, from whom he learned how to turn his visions into reality. The two men formed the first American architectural firm in 1829, a partnership which lasted 15 years. Davis' momentum as America's leading architect was broken when the building industry was halted by the Civil War in 1861. Refusing to work in the 2nd Empire and high Victorian Gothic which became popular in the post war years, he spent the last third of his life making architectural illustrations and designing projects which never materialized. After his death at age 88, he was buried Bloomfield, New Jersey, where the Davis family had been prominent residents since colonial times.

Bio by: Nikita Barlow


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Nikita Barlow
  • Added: 9 Sep 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15680118
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alexander Jackson Davis (4 Jul 1803–14 Jan 1892), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15680118, citing Bloomfield Cemetery, Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .