Ithiel Town

Chauncey Bradley Ives, Detail of Ithiel Town, 1842, marble sculpture – Yale University Art Gallery

Ithiel Town (1784-1844)

Ithiel Town was one of the most influential architects and engineers of the early 19th century. Born in Thompson, Connecticut, in 1784, in his early 20s he studied architecture in Boston with renowned architect and builder Asher Benjamin. Soon after, Town moved to New Haven and began his own business. In 1820, Town received a patent on his wooden truss bridge—a design that made him famous in the architectural community. Town (in partnership with Andrew Jackson Davis), then went on to form one of the first architectural firms in the United States. Among his most famous designs are the Connecticut State Capitol in New Haven, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, and the State House in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Learn More

Places

“Grove Street Cemetery,” 2016. Link.
“New Haven Museum,” 2017. Link.
“The Wadsworth Atheneum,” 2017. Link.

Documents

Yale University Library. “Finding Aid to the Ithiel Town Papers, 1784-1844,” 2013. Link.
Connecticut Digital Archive. “Ithiel Town Collection,” n.d. Link.
Town, Ithiel. Patent Number 3,169X - Truss Bridge. 3,169X, issued January 28, 1820. Link.
New Haven Museum. “Town, Ithiel: MSS 105 - Alphabetical Index of Manuscript Collections,” 2017. Link.

Books

Carreno, Richard D. Ithiel Town: An American Original. Thompson, CT: Thompson Historical Society, 1995.
Town, Ithiel. Some Account and Description of Ithiel Town’s Improvement in the Construction and Practical Execution of Bridges, Aqueducts and Rail Road Bridges, Whether Built Entirely of Wood, or of Cast or Wrought Iron. New York, 1831. Link.
Seymour, George Dudley. The Residence and Library of Ithiel Town (1784-1844). New Haven, CT: G. D. Seymour, 1930.
Newton, Roger Hale. Town & Davis, Architects, Pioneers in American Revivalist Architecture, 1812-1870, Including a Glimpse of Their Times and Their Contemporaries. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1942.