Arthur Delavan Gilman was born on November 5, 1821, in Newburyport, the son of Arthur Gilman and his wife Elizabeth Coffin (Marquand) Otis (daughter of Joseph Marquand and widow of Samuel Allyn Otis).
He married on April 27, 1859, to Frances Juliet Raynor (d. 20Nov1832 in Syracuse NY; d. 14Jun1904 in Syracuse), daughter of Henry Raynor and his wife, Lucy Maria Hanchett.
Arthur Gilman died on July 11, 1882, in Syracuse, New York.
Arthur Gilman was educated at Trinity College in Hartford (Class of 1840) and then in Europe.
In 1845, he established an office in Boston, immediately designing the Gothic-style Winter Street Church in Bath, Maine, followed over the next two decades by a series of ecclesiastical buildings, including the St. Paul’s Church in Dedham in 1845 (and again in 1857, after the first church burned); the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the South End in 1858 (probably in collaboration with Patrick Keeley, who designed several other churches in a similar Classical tradition); and the brownstone Arlington Street Church in 1859-1861. He also designed numerous civic and commercial buildings, including the Louvre-inspired Boston City Hall (with Gridley J. F. Bryant) in 1861-1865, and is credited with the overall street plan of the Back Bay.
Gilman worked in association with Edward C. Cabot until 1857 and then with Gridley J. F. Bryant from 1859 to 1867. Bryant and Gilman shared offices and worked together on a number of projects, but also worked separately and, it appears, there was never a formal partnership of Bryant and Gilman.
In 1868, he joined Edward H. Kendall in designing plans for the New York State Capitol. The plans were rejected, but a subsequent plan he developed with Thomas Fuller was approved. The building was later completed by Henry Hobson Richardson. Gilman remained in New York, where he designed the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway. After the 1872 Boston fire, he designed the Boston Equitable Building (demolished in the 1920s) at Milk and Devonshire Streets.
Several sources credit Arthur Gilman with developing the street plan of the Back Bay. King’s Dictionary of Boston, by Edwin M. Bacon, published in 1883, states that the “plan of the Back-bay improvement was the work of the late Arthur Gilman, one of the eminent architects of the country, as well as a famous wit and bon-vivant.”
For more information, see: Building Victorian Boston: The Architecture of Gridley J. F. Bryant; by Roger Reed (University of Massachusetts Press, 2007).
Back Bay Work