Pierre Charles L’Enfant (Pierre Charles L'Enfant)

Pierre Charles L’Enfant

Engineer. Born Pierre Charles L’Enfant in France, he came to America in 1777 and joined the Continental Army a volunteer during the War of Independence, and attained the rank of major of engineers, and served to the end of the war. In 1791, when Congress decided to build a capital city on the Potomac, George Washington asked L’Enfant to prepare a design. L’Enfant’s design of Washington, D.C. is based on principles employed by Andre Le Notre in the palace and garden of Versailles, where L’Enfant’s father had worked as a court painter, and on Domenico Fontana’s scheme for the re-planning of Rome under Pope Sixtus V. Through the use of long avenues joined at key points marked by important buildings or monuments, the city is a symbolic representation of power radiating from a central source. L’Enfant was dismissed the year following his appointment after construction had all ready commenced because of his insistence on complete control of the project. He was replaced but his design remained. L’Enfant also designed the old City Hall in New York and the town house of the financier Robert Morris in Philadelphia. He died penniless and was interred on the Digges Farm, also known as Green Hill, Prince Georges County, Maryland. On April 22, 1909, his remains were disinterred from the Digges Farm, and on April 28, 1909 a military escort conveyed the remains to the U.S. Capitol where they lay in state from nine until noon. They were then taken by military escort to Arlington National Cemetery. There they were re-interred on the slope in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion. (bio by: Iola)


  • August, 02, 1754
  • France


  • June, 06, 1825
  • USA


  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Virginia
  • USA

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