Charles Bulfinch (August 8, 1763 – April 15, 1844) was an early American architect, and has been regarded by many as the first native-born American to practice architecture as a profession. Bulfinch split his career between his native Boston and Washington, D.C., where he served as Commissioner of Public Building and built the intermediate United States Capitol rotunda and dome. He is praised as the the origin of a distinctive Federal style of classical domes, columns, and ornament that dominated early 19th-century American architecture. His son was Thomas Bulfinch (1796–1867), author of Bulfinch's Mythology.
In the summer of 1817, Bulfinch's roles as selectman, designer and public official coincided during a visit by President James Monroe. The two men were almost constantly in each other's company for the week-long visit, and a few months later (1818) Monroe appointed Bulfinch the successor to Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764–1820) as Architect of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (The Capitol Building had been partially burned by the British in 1814.).
The capital and the Adams and Jefferson Buildings which are part of the Library of Congress are joined by tunnels he created. They run on several levels below the surface. He also built tunnels leading from the State House in Boston and University Hall at Harvard. His architecture style is noted for the 4 exterior chimneys that provided access to the tunnels through their arches in the basement. This addition alleviated flashing problems and created a draw system to bring fresh air into the tunnels. Samuel McIntire would emulate this design in Salem for the same purpose for his Federalist employers. Bulfinch built the original Derby Mansion in Derby Square, The Essex Bank Building, looby Asylum, and Old Town Hall. All of which have tunnels connected to them.
Read more about the history of the tunnels on our blog!
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"Salem Secret Underground :The History of the Tunnels in the City"
by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin
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