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Pierre Charles L'Enfant

L'Enfant, Pierre Charles (pyĕr shärl läNfäNˈ) [key], 1754–1825, American soldier, engineer, and architect. Born in France, he volunteered as a private in the American Revolution. He won Gen. Washington's attention with his design for the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati. L'Enfant had remodeled the New York City city hall to serve as a temporary seat of federal government when he was asked (1789) by Washington to submit plans for the capital city at Washington. His plans were presented in 1791, but he antagonized Congress and was opposed by Thomas Jefferson. In 1792 he was dismissed. He was offered in payment of his services 500 guineas and a lot in Washington, which he refused. In 1889, L'Enfant's plans were exhumed from the archives, and in 1901 the design of the capital was developed along the lines that he had laid down. L'Enfant's body was moved to the Arlington National Cemetery in 1909.

See biography by H. L. Caemmerer (1950).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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