Linehan Patrick (1822-1896)
Patrick Linehan (September 11, 1822-May 26, 1896), a native of Waterford County, Ireland, was one of many Irishmen skilled in stonecutting and quarrying who came to the United States in the nineteenth century and played an important role in executing the nation’s stonework. Arriving in North Carolina in the 1840s, he built up an extensive business as a quarry owner and stone supplier, as well as the builder and contractor for public buildings, railroad projects, and bridges. His only known surviving building project is the United States Post Office and Courthouse (1874-1877) in Raleigh, a stone edifice in Second Empire style designed by Alfred B. Mullett. Although Linehan’s obituary in the Raleigh North Carolinian of May 28, 1896, cited him as a “Well Known Contractor and Builder” and stated that “many noted buildings have been erected under his supervision,” it named only that one building project: “He laid the foundation for the government building here.” In addition to building many railroad bridges, he was also the contractor for a major railroad project in Wilmington, the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company Shops built in 1882 between Front and Nutt streets, which no longer stands.
Because Patrick Linehan’s name was a very common one in Ireland and in the United States, tracing his early life is difficult. Reportedly he immigrated to the United States in 1845, and he was in Raleigh in 1855, when he married Susan Wedding (1840-1894). They were married by Richard Sharp Mason, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church. (It is tempting to speculate that Linehan might have been involved in building or supplying stone for Christ Church, a stone Gothic Revival edifice designed by architect Richard Upjohn, but no evidence of this has been located.)
Patrick was a Catholic and was active in the local congregation. He and his family have not been located in the United States censuses of 1850-1870. The United States Census of 1880 of Raleigh identified “Pat Linnehan” as a “rock mason” and head of a household that included his wife, Susan, and four children. He appeared in a Raleigh city directory of 1886 as a contractor living at 230 N. Person Street in Raleigh.
Linehan’s best known work, the United States Court House and Post Office in Raleigh was a major federal project, one of the first in the South after the war. Linehan’s role is indicated in a notice in the Raleigh News of February 26, 1875, which stated that the employees on the building and the “stone cutters, blacksmiths, laborers, &c., at the sheds of Contractor Linehan, foot of McDowell street,” would be paid on December 17 at 4 p.m.
A description of Linehan’s diverse operation appeared in the Wilmington Post of February 5, 1882, which stated that work had begun on the new Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company Shops— a term for a facility that made or repaired railroad cars. Located between Front and Nutt streets, the large building was a part of major complex that contributed to the city’s importance as a rail as well as shipping center. Linehan was cited as a major railroad stone contractor, bridge builder, and quarryman; for the Wilmington project, he had about 15 men at work “putting down the foundation,” with John L. Mann as supervisor. Whether his workmen also built the brick walls is not established.
Most contemporary accounts focused on Linehan’s importance as a stone supplier. A publication called The City of Raleigh (1887) listed the firm of “Linehan & Co., Quarrymen and Dealers in Granite, Brownstone, etc,” It was located at 409 Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. The company, which employed at that time 300 to 600 hands, had quarries in Vance and Anson counties (sources of two important types of stone: the granite of the broad streak that runs from the Virginia line southward toward Raleigh; and the brown sandstone, fashionable at the time, that occurs in Anson County near the South Carolina border). The publication noted that the company supplied stone for projects in much of North Carolina and in other states, and had produced Belgian blocks (a popular type of paving stone) for pavements in Baltimore and recently in Raleigh. John H. Winder, Jr., Linehan’s associate in the business, was the son of the general manager of Raleigh and Gaston Rail Road.
Linehan’s obituary in the Raleigh North Carolinian of May 28, 1896, which called him a “Well Known Contractor and Builder” likewise principal attention to his role as a stone supplier. “Mr. Patrick Linehan, one of the most useful and best known citizens of Raleigh, died suddenly at 8:45 o’clock yesterday at his residence on North Person street. He was a native of Waterford county, and was about seventy-seven years old. He left the isle of Erin and came to the United States in 1845. He soon settled in North Carolina, where he has lived for nearly half a century”. A number of years ago he bought the fine granite quarries at Greystone, on the Raleigh and Gaston railroad, near Henderson, and has since successfully operated this enterprise. He first ran the quarries on his own account, later forming a partnership with the late Maj. John C. Winder, the firm name being P. Linehan and Company. A few years ago Maj. Winder sold his interest in the quarries and the firm became P. Linehan and Sons. Much of the best paving and building stone in the South has come from this quarry, and it has a wide reputation.
“Mr. Linehan was taken suddenly ill Sunday night and grew rapidly worse until he died yesterday morning. He leaves two sons, Mr. W. A Linehan, of the firm of Cross and Linehan; Mr. J. N. Linehan, superintendent of the Greystone quarries; and two daughters, Miss B. A. Linehan and Miss M. E. Linehan. Mrs. Linehan died a little more than two years ago. Mr. Linehan was all his life long a faithful Catholic. This morning at ten o’clock the funeral will be held from the Church of the Sacred Heart.” Linehan was buried in Raleigh’s Oakwood Cemetery. His estate papers included an inventory of his real estate holdings and personal possessions, the latter illustrating a comfortable domestic setting plus a set of drawing instruments.
The City of Raleigh: Historical Sketches from Its Foundation. A Review of the City in All Its Varied Aspects—Commercial, Industrial, Statistical, Religious, Social, Etc. (1887).
- Variant Name(s):
Century Post Office; Federal BuildingDates:
1874-1879; 1912-1913 [remodeled]; 1938 [expanded]Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:
314 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NCStatus:
PublicImages Published In:
Catherine W. Bishir, Charlotte V. Brown, Carl R. Lounsbury, and Ernest H. Wood III, Architects and Builders in North Carolina: A History of the Practice of Building (1990).
Linda L. Harris and Mary Ann Lee, An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina (1978).
Elizabeth Reid Murray, “Wake County’s Courthouses Through Two Centuries (1771-1970), “ unpublished typescript, copy in State Library, Raleigh, North Carolina, copy courtesy of Elizabeth Reid Murray.
Lawrence Wodehouse, “Alfred B. Mullett’s Court Room and Post Office at Raleigh, North Carolina, “ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 26.4 (Dec. 1967).Note:
A landmark on Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street, the Second Empire style edifice retains its essential character despite the alterations of the 20th century that toned down its ebullient design by removing its chimneys, changing the dormers, and installing a columned entrance, and adding a large rear extension.
- Contributors:Patrick Linehan, contractorDates:
1882Location:Wilmington, New Hanover CountyStreet Address:
No longer standingType:
The railroad shops was part of an immense complex of railroad-related buildings on Nutt and nearby streets near the Wilmington waterfront. The Sanborn Insurance Map of 1889 shows a long brick building with a framed clerestory as the Wilmington and Weldon shops. It contained a machine shop, blacksmith shop, and foundry. The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, which headed north from the port at Wilmington, was vital to the city’s prosperity from the antebellum era onward. In the 1890s, the W&W became part of the Atlantic Coast Line, which made Wilmington its headquarters for many years; ACL’s departure in 1960 was a severe blow to the city’s economy. The once dense and extensive industrial and railroad related area has lost nearly all of the many buildings that once stood there. Still standing are two brick warehouses of 1880 and 1882. It is possible that Linehan was involved with these or other railroad-related buildings in the area.