Thomas William Silloway

Personal Data

Thomas William Silloway was born on August 7, 1828, in Newburyport, the son of Thomas Silloway and his wife, Susan Stowe.

He never married.

Thomas Silloway died on May 14, 1910, in Allston (Boston).


After working briefly as a West India dry goods merchant in Newburyport, he moved to Boston where he studied architecture as an apprentice to Ammi B. Young. In about 1851, he opened his own practice.

Among his earliest works were the Pearl Street Universalist Church and the Town Hall, both in Milford (1851-1852). In 1857, he was awarded the commission to design the new Vermont State Capitol, the previous building (designed by Ammi Young) having been destroyed in a fire. The project was completed in 1862.

His primary focus was ecclesiastical architecture and, according to his May 17, 1910, obituary in the Boston Transcript, he was “widely known as the ‘church builder'” and drew plans for “nearly 500 religious edifices” throughout the eastern United States. He also designed schools, town halls, libraries, and private residences. In 1886, he oversaw the reconstruction of six churches in Charleston, South Carolina that had been damaged in a major earthquake.

Among his works in Boston were the Church of the Unity in the South End (1859), the Fourth Baptist Church in South Boston (1864), the Second Methodist Church in East Boston (1865), and the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South End (1900).

In addition to his work as an architect, he served as a Universalist preacher and minister. He preached at the Universalist church in Atkinson, New Hampshire from 1854 to 1860, and then at the First Universalist Church of Boston on Hanover Street from 1860 to 1863. He subsequently was ordained as a minister and served as pastor of the Universalist church in Allston until 1867.

He also was author of several books on architecture, theology, and travel.

Back Bay Work

1882 100-110 Commonwealth (Chapel)