Alexander Parris

Alexander Parris (1780-1852) followed a path similar to that of Asher Benjamin, training as a housewright but eventually emerging as one of Boston’s most important nineteenth-century architects.

A Massachusetts native, Parris brought his skills as a housewright to Maine and Virginia before finally settling in Boston. His works through 1815 showcase simple volumes and delicate details reminiscent of the Federal period. Parris served as construction supervisor for Charles Bulfinch’s Massachusetts General Hospital, and when Bulfinch left Boston for Washington to become architect of the U.S. Capitol in 1817, Parris’ Boston career blossomed. His two most well-known Boston commissions are the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and Quincy Market, both of which showcase the importance of local granite in rendering the crisp lines of the Greek Revival.

Image by W.E. Chickering - The Bostonian Society, Old State House, Boston, MA., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20250602