John S. Norris

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Wilmington Custom House, 1843, Wilmington, North Carolina. Demolished in 1915

John S. Norris (1804–1876) was an American architect.

He was born and raised in New York City, where he began his career as a mason. He advanced to being a builder and eventually listed himself in the telephone directory as an architect.

He went to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1839, where he first supervised construction, and then received his first independent commission to design the Wilmington Custom House in 1843. While working on that commission, he was asked to design the Savannah Custom House in Savannah, Georgia, which was built from 1848 to 1852. This led to numerous commissions in Savannah, including the Andrew Low House, the Mercer House, Massie Common School House and the Green-Meldrim House.[1][2] Norris also designed the Unitarian Church, which was originally built in 1853 on Oglethorpe Square; this church was designed for free people of color. The church has since been moved to Troup Square, where it is now The Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah.[3] Norris also designed light houses for the Savannah River and Cockspur Island.

He returned to New York before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860. Six years later, he bought a farm in Blauvelt, in Rockland County, New York, where he lived until his death.