Samuel J. F. Thayer was born on August 19, 1842, in Boston, the son of Rev. Richard Thayer and his wife, Roxanna Vaughan.
He married on November 28, 1864, in Boston, to Emeline W. Goodwin (b. 1841-1842 in Boston; d. 26Oct1909 in Boston), daughter of Henry M. Goodwin and his wife, Lucy Jenkins.
Samuel Thayer died on February 28, 1893, in Boston, a suicide.
Samuel F. J. Thayer was apprenticed at sixteen to architect John D. Towle, where he remained for about three years. In about 1862, he formed his own firm in association with George Ropes, Jr. In September of 1862 he enlisted in the Massachusetts 5th Infantry. According to a biographical sketch in Boston of To-Day (Post Publishing Company, 1892) he was “shortly promoted to engineer service in the Eighteenth Army Corps.” He served until July of 1863.
By 1864, he and George Ropes were in separate practices. From about 1866 to 1868, he worked in association with Abel Camp Martin, and was a sole practitioner thereafter. In 1867, he was a founding member and the first secretary of the Boston Society of Architects.
Among his works were the Brookline Town Hall (1870, demolished); Charlestown High School (1870, demolished); Windsor Avenue Congregational Church at 2030 Main in Hartford (1870; later Faith Congregational Church); Second Hawes Congregational Church at 523 E. Broadway in South Boston (1872; later St. George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral); City Hall in Providence (1875); Stoughton Town Hall (1880); Jordan Marsh’s main store at 450 Washington (1880; demolished); Wilson Hall at Dartmouth College (1884-1885); the Potter Building (1885-1886) at 202 Boylston; the Thorndike Hotel (1885-1886) at 240 Boylston; and The Tudor (1885-1886), a large apartment house at the corner of Beacon and Joy Streets.
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