Much of the character of the city of Syracuse at the time could be attributed to White's architectural vision. Many of the city's key public structures were designed by him including the high school, armory, courthouse, and countless homes, churches and business blocks. The look of the city was a tight assemblage of carefully frosted Italianate and Second Empire structures. The dirt streets with an occasional paved crossing were neatly lined with young trees. The city was dotted with pretty little green parks, lushly planted, decorated with replica classical figures and elaborate cast iron fountains.
|View of Fayette Park, one of Syracuse's early downtown squares from Artwork of Syracuse (1899).|
|View of men raking salt along the salt sheds.|
Silsbee immediately found his place among Syracuse's fashionable elite, sometimes passing time at the local Opera House or at social gatherings at a grand residence or fashionable local hotel. In February of 1874, he volunteered his services to oversee the decorations at one of these gatherings. The Shakespeare hall, in the Globe Hotel, was transformed for the largest charity event of the season, a ball to benefit all of the area hospitals. A temporary chandelier, loaned by the Masons, was lifted into place, and temporary fountains and new furnishings ornamented the space. The stage was filled with evergreens, flags, and lace. The highlight of the display were tropical plants, in full bloom, loaned from the greenhouse of banker and future Syracuse mayor and congressman, James Belden. In attendance that evening were all of the grand families of Syracuse: Longstreet, Leavenworth, White, Amos, Dissel, Lynch, Jenney, McCarthy, Hiscock, Snow, Bruce, Emory, and many more. For Silsbee though, there was probably none as important as the Sedgwicks with their beautiful daughter, Anna, who within a year, would become his bride.
|The Globe Hotel, on Salina Street at Washington Street, the site of the Great Charitable Ball of 1874.|
|Syracuse University Hall of Languages, designed by Horatio Nelson White and constructed from 1871 to 1874. This image shows the main central tower, added by Silsbee partner, Ellis Hall, in 1887.|