Asher Benjamin

Asher Benjamin

Architect
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Asher Benjamin

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Description:
Asher Benjamin (June 15, 1773 – July 26, 1845) was an American architect and author whose work transitioned between Federal style architecture and the later Greek Revival. His seven handbooks on design deeply influenced the look of cities and towns throughout New England until the Civil War. Builders also copied his plans in the Midwest and in the South.

Life and work

Asher Benjamin was born in rural Hartland, Connecticut, shortly after which his father died. The first 30 years of his life would be spent in the Connecticut River Valley. He received his early training from a local builder, and showed an aptitude for architecture by carving Ionic capitals for the 1794 modifications to the Oliver Phelps House at Suffield, Connecticut. In 1795-1796 he designed and built a stone spiral staircase in the Old State House at Hartford, which had been designed by Charles Bulfinch. The latter's use of overall symmetry, blind arches, fanlights and smooth brick greatly influenced Benjamin, who would help spread the urbane Federal style into the countryside. Gideon Granger would write of Benjamin that:

"From a poor boy unaided by friends, by his indefatigable industry and talents in a few years he has raised himself to the first rank of his profession." Kenneth Hafertepe, "Asher Benjamin Begins; The Samuel and Dorothy Hinckley House", Old-Time New England, Spring/Summer 1999, p. 19


He first settled in Greenfield,......
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