Gridley James Fox Bryant was born on August 29, 1816, in Boston, the son of Gridley Bryant and his wife Maria Winship Fox. His father was founder the Granite Railway Company and built the Bunker Hill Monument.
He married on September 9, 1839, to Louisa Bryant Braid (b. 1811-1812 in Pawtucket RI; d. 13Oct1883 in Scituate), daughter of John Bryant Braid and his wife, Miriam Pearce Channell.
Gridley Bryant died on June 8, 1899, in Boston.
Gridley J. F. Bryant served as an apprentice to Loammi Baldwin and Alexander Parris, opening his own practice in September of 1837. He designed numerous buildings throughout New England, working both alone and with various designers and partners.
From 1859 to 1867 he worked in association with Arthur Delavan Gilman. Their association coincided with the filling of the Back Bay, for which Gilman is credited with designing the overall grid-based street plan. They 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 September of 1867, Bryant entered into a formal partnership with Louis P. Rogers, who had been a draftsman in Bryant’s office since the mid-1850s. Bryant and Rogers continued until about 1877, when Rogers left Boston for Washington, DC, and later Rochester, New York. Bryant continued to practice in Boston as a sole practitioner.
Bryant is credited with the building or remodeling of 19 state capitols and city halls, 36 court houses, 59 hospitals, schools, or other public buildings, 16 railroad stations, 16 custom or post offices, and 8 churches. Among his Boston works were Saint Peter and Paul Church in South Boston (1845-1853); the State Street Block (1856) across from the Customs House; the Mercantile Wharf Building (1857) on Commercial Street (which Douglass Shand-Tucci’s Built in Boston notes “has been called a masterpiece of what is known as the Boston Granite Style”); the Louvre-inspired Boston City Hall (1861-1865, designed with Arthur Gilman); Boston City Hospital (1864) at the end of Worcester Square in the South End; the second Horticulture Hall (1865) on Tremont; the Discharged Soldiers’ Home (which later became the Home for Aged Men, where Bryant died); and numerous commercial buildings both before and after the 1872 fire (In his Houses of Boston’s Back Bay, Bainbridge Bunting states that the fire destroyed 152 structures designed by Bryant, and that he was engaged torebuild 111).
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