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John Rudolph Niernsee

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John Rudolph Niernsee
BornMay 27, 1814
Vienna, Austria
DiedJune 7, 1885
BuildingsSouth Carolina State House
ProjectsBaltimore and Ohio Railroad structures
Green Mount Cemetery Chapel

John Rudolph Niernsee (May 27, 1814 – June 7, 1885) was an American architect. He served as the head architect for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B. & O.). [when?] Rudolph also largely contributed to the design and construction of the South Carolina State House located in Columbia, South Carolina. Along with his partner, James Crawford Neilson, Rudolph established the standard for professional design and construction of public works projects within Baltimore and across different states in the United States.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

He was born as Johann Rudolph Niernsee in Vienna, capital city of the old Austrian Empire and immigrated to the United States in 1837, at age 22.


He apprenticed to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, II, (1806–1878), engineer and manager at the B. & O. and other railroads, (and son of another well-known architect, his father Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1764–1820).[3] In 1847, with James Crawford Neilson, (1816–1900), he formed the Niernsee & Neilson architectural firm that largely served the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, (B. & O.).[3]

He is credited with having mentored Ephraim Francis Baldwin, (1837–1916), another well-known Maryland and Baltimore architect (and formed the similarly locally-famous firm Baldwin & Pennington with Josias Pennington, [1854–1929]), who also designed buildings and stations for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B. & O.).

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Niernsee served in the Confederate States Army as a Major.[1]

Selected works[edit]

Works by Niernsee or by the firm (with attribution) are:

Johns Hopkins Hospital completed 1889

Not in date order:

Personal life[edit]

Niernsee was buried at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina.


  1. ^ a b "John Niernsee: Architect, Engineer and Surveyor". underbelly. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "Niernsee, John Rudolph and Francis McHenry Niernsee". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Michael Caplinger and John Bond (October 2003). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops" (pdf). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 18 photos, exterior and interior, from 2001 and undated. (5.00 MB)
  4. ^ a b c d "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  5. ^ Note: NRIS indicates that this was designed by Niernsee & Baldwin
  6. ^ Potter, Janet Greenstein (1996). Great American Railroad Stations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 131. ISBN 978-0471143895.
  7. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". National Register of Historic Places: Aigburth Vale. Maryland Historical Trust. March 21, 2009.

External links[edit]