American architect was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August
8, 1763, the son of Thomas Bulfinch, a prominent and wealthy physician.
He was educated at the Boston Latin School and at Harvard, where
he graduated in 1781. After several years of travel and study
in Europe, in 1787 he settled in Boston, where he was the first
to practice as a professional architect. Among his early works
were the old Federal Street theatre (1793), the first playhouse
in New England, and the "new" State House (1798). He
was chairman of the Board of Selectmen of Boston from 1797 to
1818. He provided for new systems of drainage and street-lighting,
reorganizing the police and fire departments, and straightening
and widening the streets. He was one of the promoters in 1787
of the voyage of the ship "Columbia," which under command
of Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806) was the first to carry the
American flag round the world. In 1818 Bulfinch succeeded B. H.
Latrobe (1764-1820) as architect of the National Capitol at Washington.
He completed the unfinished wings and central portion, constructing
the rotunda from plans of his own after suggestions of his predecessor,
and designed the new western approach and portico. In 1830 he
returned to Boston, where he died on April 15, 1844.
From Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th Edition,