Latrobe, Benjamin Henry

Latrobe, Benjamin Henry

Latrobe, Benjamin Henry (Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe), 1764-1820, American architect, b. Yorkshire, England. He is considered the first professional architect in the United States. Latrobe received his training both in architecture and in engineering in England and Germany and then practiced successfully in London. He came to the United States in 1796. He practiced there and in Richmond until 1799, when he went to Philadelphia. In 1803, President Jefferson appointed him surveyor of public buildings. Besides building residences in Washington, Philadelphia, and other cities, Latrobe did much monumental work and introduced Greek forms, an important element of the classic revival. His design (1799) for the Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was modeled after a Greek Ionic temple. This building and his Roman Catholic cathedral in Baltimore (1805-18)—the first cathedral built in the United States—make a group expressive of the best monumental architecture of the time. Other works are St. John's Church in Washington, D.C. (1816) and the penitentiary in Richmond, Va. (1797-1800). His design for "Sedgeley" (1800), a residence near Philadelphia, is supposed to be the first executed example of the Gothic revival in the country. After the burning of the Capitol he was engaged, from 1815 to 1817, in rebuilding it. Latrobe's son Henry had been sent to New Orleans to construct the city's waterworks after his father's design, but he died of yellow fever in 1817. In 1818, Latrobe sailed to New Orleans to complete the project, bringing his family overland in 1820. He too died of yellow fever. Latrobe's other sons were John H. B. Latrobe and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1806-78, an engineer, b. Philadelphia. He served (1847-75) as chief engineer of the Baltimore & Ohio RR, laying out the line between Washington and Baltimore.

See Latrobe's diary of his trips to New Orleans and his stay there, Impressions respecting New Orleans (ed. by S. Wilson, Jr., 1951); study by T. Hamlin (1955).

Latrobe is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States approximately 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

In 1852, Oliver Barnes (a civil engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad) laid out the plans for the community that was incorporated in 1854 as the Borough of Latrobe. Barnes named the town for his best friend and college classmate, Benjamin Latrobe, who was a civil engineer for the B&O Railroad (his father, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was the architect who rebuilt the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. after the War of 1812). Its location along the route of the Pennsylvania Railroad helped Latrobe develop into a significant industrial hub.

The city population was 7,968 as of the 2000 census (9,265 in 1990). It is located near the Pennsylvania's scenic Chestnut Ridge. Latrobe was incorporated as a borough in 1854, and as a city in 1999.

Among its claims to fame, Latrobe is the home of the Latrobe Brewery (the original brewer of Rolling Rock beer), Saint Vincent College, and golfer Arnold Palmer. It was the childhood home of Fred Rogers, children's television personality. He was also buried there at Unity Cemetery after his death in 2003. While it was believed for years that the first professional football game was played in Latrobe, the city refused induction into the Hall of Fame records. Latrobe is also home of the first banana split, invented in Latrobe by David Strickler in 1904. Latrobe is home to the training camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team. Also, comedian Jackie Mason spent three years as a rabbi in Latrobe after his ordination.

In May 2006, Anheuser-Busch purchased the Rolling Rock brands, but not the brewery. In June 2006, City Brewing Company from LaCrosse, Wisconsin entered into negotiations to buy the brewery. In September 2006, City Brewing Company agreed to purchase the brewery, and they licensed it to the Boston Beer Company in April 2007 as a satellite brewery to produce Samuel Adams beers. The brewery employs approximately two hundred workers locally.


Latrobe is located at (40.314940, -79.381171). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km²), all land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 8,994 people, 3,966 households, and 2,458 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,913.6 people per square mile (1,509.8/km²). There were 4,258 housing units at an average density of 1,852.8 per square mile (714.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.78% White, 0.32% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 0.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.37% of the population.

There were 3,966 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 21.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,268, and the median income for a family was $42,168. Males had a median income of $31,802 versus $22,227 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,208. About 6.5% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Notable past residents

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