Eben Faxon

Eben Faxon (1826-1868)

Ebenezer Faxon was born 26 May 1826 in West Hartford, Connecticut.  He was the eighth child (and seventh son) of Elizabeth (Olcott) and Elihu Faxon and was named for his Grandfather Faxon.  He was in the eighth generation of descendents of Thomas Faxon of Braintree, Massachusetts.

He married Ambrosia M. Jenkins on 21 July 1853 in the Baltimore Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She was the daughter of Mary and Lewis A. Jenkins of Baltimore and St. Mary’s County, members of a prominent Roman Catholic southern Maryland family.

We do not know when nor why Faxon moved to Baltimore.  At the time of his death they resided at 187 Howard Street (now 610 N. Howard Street) where he died 8 March 1868.  His funeral was from his residence with a Requiem in the Cathedral.  He was buried in the old Cathedral Cemetery and reburied in New Cathedral Cemetery (J-4) in 1886 after the old cemetery was closed, graves were being moved and the land would soon be sold.  “The deceased was a gentleman well-known and much respected, and stood high in his profession as an architect.”

Mrs. Brosie Faxon [sic.] died 13 April 1910 at her residence 1319 N. Calvert Street and a Requiem followed in the Cathedral with Cardinal Gibbons in the sanctuary.  She was buried with her husband in New Cathedral Cemetery (J-4).  “Mrs. Faxon was the widow of Eben Faxon, a well-known architect, who died many years ago.  He  . . .  was prominently identified with important Maryland mining interests in California.”

All references in his adult life style him as Eben Faxon.

Eben Faxon is one of our most obscure architects with but six known building designs to his credit, two being exceptionally important, far beyond the expected for an architect now so obscure:  rebuilding the main building (the “Wren” Building) of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia after a disastrous gutting fire in 1858; and the west portico of Latrobe’s Baltimore Cathedral, now the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, following his appointment in 1860.  He was working on a new jail for the District of Columbia at the time of his death; he also designed two Roman Catholic churches in Baltimore and a house in Charles County, Maryland.  These are his known works.

For at least the last three years of his life he was in partnership with John Ellicott (see his biography on this website) as “Faxon & Ellicott Architects, Civil and Mechanical Engineers and Dealers in Real Estate, 26 N. Charles Street” (now 114 N. Charles Street).  Earlier he may have been in brief partnerships with R. Snowdon Andrews (see his biography on this website) and one Agnew, a name we have not found in any other architectural context.

By James T. Wollon, Jr., A. I. A. with research by John McGrain, Pamela Scott and James Wollon.