Architect David Paton Hired, Dismissed at State Capitol
On May 23, 1840, David Paton, supervising architect of the State Capitol, was dismissed just as the structure was nearing completion. While the exterior was designed by New York architects Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis, Paton, from Scotland, took over the project in September 1834 and played a critical role in refining and shaping the final design of the building and its impressive interior.
Paton’s interior changes made the building more functional while also making its appearance more ornate. His work was appreciated by the commissioners tasked with overseeing the building’s construction and by Raleigh citizens for most of his nearly six years of work on the Capitol. Paton claimed that his services as architect were performed under his private contract with Town and Davis, over and above his work for the state as construction superintendent. The commissioners increased his salary from $3 to $5 per day, but eventually tensions drove the commissioners to let Paton go.
During his tenure, Paton kept meticulous records and extensive correspondence related to the construction of the Capitol. Those records are in the State Archives.
Other related resources:
- The State Capitol State Historic Site
- Events at the State Capitol
- David Paton: Architect of the North Carolina State Capitol in the Digital Collections of the State Archives and State Library
For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.