Today in Irish History.
1831: James Hoban – Irish White House Architect
On this day in 1831, Kilkenny man James Hoban, architect and designer of the White House dies. Born in Kilkenny in 1758, Hoban worked locally as a wheelwright and carpenter until his early twenties until he was given a student place in the Dublin Society's Drawing School on Lower Grafton Street. After a short period as apprentice and junior architect Hoban sought his fortune across the Atlantic, emigrating in 1785 to the US where he established himself as an architect. After designing a number of buildings in South Carolina, President Washington summoned the architect to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (the U.S. capital at the time) in June 1792 . He began working on the White House in July 1792.
In the JFK speech to Dail Eireann in 1963, President Kennedy paid tribute to Hoban:
“Features of this stately mansion (Dail Eireann) served to inspire similar features in the White House in Washington. I know that the White House was designed by James Hoban, a noted Irish-American architect and I have no doubt that he believe by incorporating several features of the Dublin style he would make it more homelike for any President of Irish descent. It was a long wait, but I appreciate his efforts.”