James Crawford Neilson


1816 – 1900

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Who was James Crawford Neilson?

James Crawford Neilson, or J. Crawford Neilson, was a Baltimore, Maryland-based architect. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1816. After the death of his father in 1822 the famiily moved to England and in 1824 to Brussels. In 1833, he returned to Baltimore and in 1835, became a member of the survey party working on the Baltimore and Port Deposit Railroad. His supervisor was Benjamin Henry Latrobe, II. It was at this time that he first became acquainted with John Rudolph Niernsee, while helping to survey in the area of Martinsburg, West Virginia, for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

He and Niernsee entered partnership in the practice of architecture as Niernsee & Neilson in June 1848. Commissions included railroad stations for the B&O, commercial buildings, several churches, and both country homes and townhouses for the well-to-do, many of whom were in fact directors of the B&O Railroad. The firm disbanded in 1856, when Niernsee was made architect of the capitol of South Carolina. When Niernsee returned to Baltimore in 1865, the partnership was revived. It was at this time, that they took into their office a number of young interns who later became prominent themselves, including R. Snowden Andrews, Eben Faxson, Bruce Price, and, briefly, E. Francis Baldwin. Nielson was a founding member of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects at its charter in 1870. The firm disbanded again in 1875 at which time, through his friendship with George Washington Custis Lee, he worked on several college buildings, the Mausoleum in the Lee Chapel, and faculty residences at Washington and Lee University.

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Oct 14, 1816
  • United States of America
Dec 21, 1900
Harford County

on July 23, 2013


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