Samuel McIntire

Samuel McIntire

Samuel McIntire, pastel portrait attributed to Benjamin Blyth; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Samuel McIntire January 16, 1757 February 6, 1811

Samuel McIntire was an American architect and craftsman. He was one of the earliest architects in the United States, and was one of the primary examples of Federal style architecture. Born in Salem, Massachusetts to Sarah (Ruck) and Joseph McIntire, he was a woodcarver by trade who grew into the practice of architecture. He married Elizabeth Field on October 10, 1778, and had one son. He built a simple home and workshop on Summer Street in 1786.

Early on, McIntire was hired by Salem's pre-eminent merchant and America's first millionaire, Elias Hasket Derby, and built or remodeled a series of houses for Derby's extended family starting circa 1780. He taught himself the Palladian style of architecture from books, and relatively quickly made a name for himself designing elaborate houses for the aristocracy in Salem. In 1792 he competed for the design of the United States Capitol.

McIntire worked in the Neoclassical style of Robert Adam, which he inherited from fellow federalist architect Charles Bulfinch. Unlike Bulfinch, however, whose designs were featured across the East Coast, McIntire built almost exclusively in New England, and his work became the commonest style. His houses were typically three-storied, four-bedroom affairs, and his own carved swags, rosettes, garlands, and sheaves of wheat dominate their interior wooden surfaces. McIntire's Salem works include the Peirce-Nichols, the Peabody-Silsbee, the Gardner-White-Pingree, and the Elias Haskett Derby residences. His public buildings are Assembly Hall, Hamilton Hall, Washington Hall, and the courthouse, all in Salem. The latter two no longer stand.