According to his 1880 obituary, John Rice was born in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia and apprenticed as a carpenter. After finishing his apprenticeship, he undertook the business of building, at which he flourished. According to the obituary, he was responsible for building many of the markets in the City, including the markethouse at Broad and Race streets; South Western Market, 19th and Market streets; Franklin Market; Eastern Market, 5th Street above Chestnut; Farmers Market, 12th Street. However, his reputation would spread beyond Philadelphia when he became one of the contractors for the marble to be used in the extension of the U. S. Capitol, under Thomas Ustick Walter. According to the obituary, his last large building commission was for the Asylum for the Insane at Norristown, PA.
A member of the Fairmount Park Commission, Rice also served as a member of the Public Building Commission, an organization of which he was elected president in October 1870, and from which he retired on 17 April 1872. Rice was elected a member of the Carpenters' Company in 1839.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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- Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia
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