Pierre L'Enfant was born in Paris, France, on 2nd August, 1754. He began studying art at the Royal Academy of Painting in 1771 but left in 1776 to join the American Revolutionary Army. Congress rewarded him by appointing him major of engineers in 1783.
L'Enfant settled in New York City in 1784 where he established himself as an architect. When it was decided to build a federal capital at Washington, L'Enfant was hired to design the overall plan of the city. Although L'Enfant's plan was followed he was dismissed in 1792 after being responsible for removing without permission, the house of Daniel Carroll, an important resident in the city. Pierre L'Enfant, who was only paid $3,800 for his work, died in poverty on 14th June, 1825.