Daniel Hudson Burnham

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Daniel Hudson Burnham

Also Known As: "Daniel H Burnham"
Birthplace: Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, United States
Death: June 01, 1912 (65)
Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of Edwin Burnham and Elizabeth Burnham
Husband of Margaret Burnham
Father of Ethel Burnham; John Burnham; Herbert Burnham; Margaret Burnham and Daniel Burnham

Managed by: Private User
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About Daniel Hudson Burnham

Daniel Hudson Burnham (September 4, 1846 - June 1, 1912) was an American architect and urban planner. He was the Director of Works for the World's Columbian Exposition and designed several famous buildings, including the Flatiron Building in New York City and Union Station in Washington D.C.

Burnham was born in Henderson, New York and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His parents brought him up under the teachings of the Swedenborgian Church of New Jerusalem,[1] which ingrained in him the strong belief that man should strive to be of service to others. After failing admissions tests for both Harvard and Yale, and an unsuccessful stint at politics, Burnham apprenticed as a draftsman under William LeBaron Jenney. At age 26, Burnham moved on to the Chicago offices of Carter, Drake, and Wight, where he met future business partner John Wellborn Root (1850-1891).

Burnham and Root were the architects of one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building[2] in Chicago. Measuring 21 stories and 302 feet, the Temple held claims as the tallest building of its time, but was torn down in 1939. Under the design influence of Root, the firm had produced modern buildings as part of the Chicago School. Following Root’s premature death from pneumonia in 1891, the firm became known as D.H. Burnham and Co.

World's Columbian Exposition

Court of Honor and Grand Basin - World's Columbian Exposition

Court of Honor and Grand Basin - World's Columbian Exposition

Burnham and Root had accepted responsibility to oversee construction of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago’s then-desolate Jackson Park on the south lakefront. The largest world's fair to that date (1892), it celebrated the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus' famous voyage. After Root's death, a team of distinguished American architects and landscape architects, including Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim and Louis Sullivan, radically changed Root's modern and colorful style to a Classical Revival style. Under Burnham's direction, the construction of the Fair overcame huge financial and logistical hurdles, including a worldwide financial panic and an extremely tight timeframe, to open on time.

Considered the first example of a comprehensive planning document in the nation, the fairground was complete with grand boulevards, classical building facades, and lush gardens. Often called the "White City", it popularized neoclassical architecture in a monumental and rational Beaux-Arts plan. The remaining population of architects in the U.S. was soon asked by clients to incorporate similar elements into their designs.


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Daniel Hudson Burnham's Timeline

September 4, 1846
Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, United States
June 1, 1912
Age 65
Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany