Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: November 15, 1802 - Gideon Shryock

(Printed verso reads: "MORRISON CHAPEL, Transylvania University. Built by Gideon Shryock, 1831-33. Named for James Morrison, former Trustee.");Postcard Collection, circa 1890-1990: 2008ms016: Color : digitized9-13-2010

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Gideon Shryock, architect, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 15, 1802, the eldest of three sons of Mathias and Mary Elizabeth (Gaugh) Shryock. The couple and her brother, Michael Gaugh, had moved to Lexington from Frederick County, Virginia, in the late 1780s. The two men were partners in the carpentry business.

Gideon Shryock received his primary education at Mr. Aldrige's Lancastrian School in Lexington and apprenticed as a builder under his father's guidance. In October 1823 he was apprenticed to architect William Strickland of Philadelphia, who had been a student of Benjamin Latrobe. After a year with Strickland, Shryock returned to Kentucky, the state's first native-born, professionally trained architect.

In 1824, just before Shryock's return, the Kentucky statehouse burned. In 1827, when the legislature had raised the funds for rebuilding, they chose Shryock's design, modeled on the temple of Minerva Polias at Priene. The building, completed in 1830, was the first Greek Revival statehouse in the United States. It is centered on the curved free-standing stair in a drum under the dome; the plaster is highly ornamental for that period in Kentucky.

The commission made a name for Shryock, who was the state's most prominent architect for the next ten years. After finishing the capitol he returned to Lexington to build Morrison Hall for Transylvania University, completed in 1833 after considerable delay. The portico of the building is based on the Greek Temple of Theseus. In 1832 Shryock returned to Frankfort to build the Franklin County courthouse, a Doric-style building topped by a drum- shaped cupola based on the choragic monument of Lysicrates. In early 1835, as the courthouse was being finished, local lawyer Orlando Brown hired Shryock to design a home for him. Based on a plan of a country house in England, this house, now a museum, is the only residence known to have been designed by Shryock.

In 1835 Shryock moved to the rapidly growing city of Louisville, where his design was chosen for the new Jefferson County courthouse. Shryock's most ambitious design, this project was the downfall of his career. After numerous early mishaps -- including the shearing off of a large amount of faulty stone -- and delays, he worked on the court house until 1842, when he quit in frustration. The building was finished by others just before the Civil War .

Shryock's last completed Greek Revival project was for the medical department of the University of Louisville, during 1837-38. Shryock did not recover from the courthouse debacle and died penniless on June 19, 1880. He was buried in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.

Shryock married Elizabeth Pendleton Bacon on June 30, 1829; they had ten children -- Althea, Mary, Lucy, William, Charles, James, Theodore, Elizabeth, Laura, and A. Lee.

Selected Sources at UK Libraries:

Lancaster, Clay. Gideon Shryock and John McMurtry : Architect and Builder of Kentucky. Place of Publication Not Identified], 1943. Print.
NA 710 .L360 1943, Special Collections Research Center

Jackson, John Thomas. Early Kentucky Architecture ... 1932. Print.
Theses 1932, Special Collections Research Center - Theses Collection

Field, Elizabeth S. Gideon Shryock; His Life and His Work. Lexington, Ky. Print.
NA710 .F540, Fine Arts Library

Flynn, Elisabeth Louise. Gideon Shryock, 1802-1880 : Greek Revival Architect in Kentucky. 1971. Print.
720.9769 Sh874f, Special Collections Research Center

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