Edwin Forrest Durang

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Roman Catholic High School (1890), Broad & Vine Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Edwin Forrest Durang (April 17, 1829 – June 7, 1911)[1] was an American architect. He kept offices in Philadelphia and specialized in ecclesiastical and theatrical design.

Life and career[edit]

Durang was born in New York City, into a distinguished theatrical family. His grandfather, John Durang (1768–1822), has been credited with being the first native-born American actor,[citation needed] and his parents, Charles Durang (1791–1870) and Mary White Durang (b. London, England, 1802), were also well known for their contributions to the stage. His father and uncle, Richard Ferdinand Durang, were the first to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner", and his father also worked as the director and prompter at both the Chestnut Street Theater and the American Theater in Philadelphia. After his retirement in 1853, Charles Durang taught dancing and wrote several books on dance and a history of the Philadelphia stage. In addition to her stage work, Edwin Durang's mother wrote six children's books. Durang was named for his father's friend, noted actor Edwin Forrest.

Little is known of Durang's youth or education, but by 1855 he had set up as an architect in Philadelphia. By 1857 he had begun working with John E. Carver, a residential and ecclesiastical architect. On Carver's death in 1859, Durang succeeded him, emulating his practice by also specializing in ecclesiastical design, mostly for the Roman Catholic Church. He designed many churches, rectories, convents, and schools throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere during a practice of more than fifty years.

In November 1909, Durang was joined by his son Francis Ferdinand Durang (1884–1966), who, in turn, succeeded him after his sudden death in Philadelphia in June 1911.

Edwin Forrest Durang's great-grandson is the American playwright and actor Christopher Durang (1949–).[2]


In addition to the buildings listed below, which were almost entirely his own projects, he made interior alterations to the Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He contributed to the interior of the Academy of Music, 1854. He was also responsible for substantial additions and alterations to the Pro-cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul in Scranton, Pennsylvania prior to the building's reconsecration as the Cathedral of St. Peter in 1883.


Church of the Gesu (1879-88), Girard Avenue & 18th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia suburbs[edit]

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (1882), Media, Pennsylvania

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania[edit]


Church of the Immaculate Conception, Halifax, North Carolina.


  1. ^ Tatman, Sandra L. "Durang, Edwin Forrest (1829-1911)". Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Christopher Durang Biography (1949-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  3. ^ E.F. Durang at the Historic Campus Architecture Project
  4. ^ Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years — 1983 at www.lowermerionhistory.org
  5. ^ Church info at www.bethlehempaonline.com
  6. ^ FolkFinders Archives at www.folkfinders.net
  7. ^ Keeping Faith: European and Asian Catholic Immigrants; Jeffrey M. Burns, Ellen Skerrett, Joseph M. White; Sep 1, 2006
  8. ^ http://www.bettshouse.org/lost/cincy_index_sep21.swf

External links[edit]