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Pierre Charles L'Enfant
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Architect
    (August 9, 1754-June 14, 1825)
    Born in Anet, France
    Architect and civil engineer
    Professor of Engineering at West Point (1813-17)
    Drew up the original plans for the layout of Washington, DC
    His plans for Washington were grandiose, such as proposing a President's house five times the size of the White House and designating the line of latitude on which the Capitol sat as 0 degrees.
    He repeatedly clashed with the three commissioners appointed to oversee construction of the capital.
    He really alarmed the commissioners by tearing down a local bigwig's house to make way for one of his avenues.
    After additional conflicts, he was fired from the project.
    He was offered 500 guineas and a lot in Washington as payment for his services, which he rejected.
    He died in debt.
    He came to the US with Lafayette, serving as a military engineer in the Continental Army.
    He was wounded during the Seige of Savannah (1779).
    As Washington's centennial approached, his plans were retrieved from the archives (1889) and a committee of architects appointed by the US Senate recommended a partial redesign of the city to more closely follow L'Enfant's original plan.
    One of the main changes was the creation of the National Mall on the site of L'Enfant's proposed 'grand avenue.'
    His remains laid in state at the US Capitol and were reburied at Arlington National Cemetery (1909).

Credit: C. Fishel


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