Architects Shryock

Historical Marker #945 in Lexington notes the Shryock family of architects, whose Kentucky buildings have become iconic reminders of the nineteenth century.

Carpenter Mathias Shryock moved to Kentucky from Frederick County, Maryland, in the late-eighteenth century. After a return trip to his home state in which he married Elizabeth Gaugh, the couple made Lexington their place of residence.

In 1802, a son was born the Shryocks, who they named Gideon. Seven years later Mathias built the family a brick home on North Broadway, where the Shryocks raised nine other children, one of which was named Cincinnatus, born in 1816. Along with a number of residences, Mathias built the First Episcopal Church in Lexington in 1814.

Gideon Shryock received his earliest building trade training from his father. However, at age 21, Gideon traveled to Philadelphia to study under noted architect William Strickland. Gideon returned to Lexington the following year and entered a design for the construction of the new state capitol building in Frankfort. His Greek Revival design was selected by the building committee and work began in 1827.

With his first major project completed, Gideon received recognition and many other projects. In the 1830 and 1840s he built Morrison Hall at Transylvania University, the Franklin County Courthouse and the Orlando Brown House in Frankfort, the Jefferson County Courthouse, and the Bank of Louisville building. Gideon’s last Greek Revival project was a building for the University of Louisville medical department. He died in 1880 in Louisville and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Gideon’s younger brother, Cincinnatus, received an education from Transylvania University in hopes of entering the medical profession, but eventually transitioned to architecture. Cincinnatus learned a great deal studying under his older brother’s guidance. Unlike Gideon, Cincinnatus focused primary on private residences and church buildings for his projects. Of special note in Lexington were his designs for First Presbyterian Church, Broadway Christian Church, and the old First Baptist Church, which no longer exists. Cincinnatus Shyrock died in 1888, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery.