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Male, US, born 1855-04-08, died 1940-08-10

Associated with the firms network

Hunt and Burns, Architects; Hunt, Eager and Burns, Architects; Peters and Burns, Architects

Professional History


Draftsman, Luther Peters, Architect, Dayton, OH, 1876-1878. For about two years, he worked in Peters's office at 134 Jefferson Street in Dayton. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1876, p. 98,Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1877, p. 98 and 419 and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1878, p. 95.) Luther Peters was born on 05/11/1846 in Dayton and died 02/17/1921 in the same city. Peters partnered with Burns in either late 1878 or 1879, when he was about 33 and Burns, 24. In 1887, he requested a US Passport for an eight-country tour of Europe, leaving Burns in charge of the office for an extended period.

Partner, Peters and Burns, Architects, Dayton, OH, 1879-c. 1899, specializing in institutional and educational buildings. The Peters and Burns partnership occupied space in the building at 134 Jefferson Street in 1879. At this time, it was one of four architectural firms working in Dayton. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1879, p. 437.) In 1888, the firm occupied Rooms #27-31 in the Kuhn's Block, and, five years later, occupied a suite of rooms #26-31 in the same office building. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1888, p. 482 and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1893, p. 651.)

Partner, Peters, Burns and Pretzinger, Architects, Dayton, OH, 1899-1906. In 1906, their office was in Room #1129 of the Reibold Building. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1906, p. 299.) Chairman, Architects League Limited, Dayton, OH, 1907. During his last year in OH, Burns was listed in the Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1907, (p. 277) as being the Chairman of the "Architects League Limited," which retained its office in Room #1129 of the Reimold Building. This name change coincided with the dissolution of the Peters, Burns and Pretzinger firm. In the Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1907, (p. 1288), Peters formed another firm called "Peters, Hermann and Brown," and Albert Pretzinger formed his own solo practice. Peters, Hermann and Brown occupied Room #1129 of the Reimold Building, while Pretzinger worked in Room #1146.

Partner, Hunt, Burns and Eager, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1907-1910.

Partner, Hunt and Burns, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1910-1930; Burns may have come to Los Angeles in connection with his work building retirement facilities for veterans; (many Civil War veterans would have required assistance in the late 1880s and 1890s); he designed veterans' homes in Los Angeles, Marion IN, and Dayton, OH.

Professional Activities

Burns was granted a certificate to practice architecture in California, 11/1907.

Member, Engineers and Architects Association of Southern California, c. 1913; Member, Union League Club, c. 1913; Member, San Gabriel Valley Country Club, c. 1913; Member, National Citizens' League, c. 1913.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1882.


High School/College

Burns attended a private secondary school in Virginia (what became West Virigina in 1863), and public schools in OH and WV.

B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, c. 1875.



Silas Reese Burns was born in an area of Morgantown, VA (later to become West Virginia, on 06/20/1863), known in 1855 as "Kingwood Pike." (See, Source Information West Virginia, Births Index, 1804-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 10/17/2016. This births index called Burns's birthplace "Ringwood Pike," but such a place doesn't exist; Kingwood Pike was a section of road in the Morgantown area.)

He and his mother lived in Bethel Township in Clark County, OH, just east of Cincinnati, in 1870. His mother worked as a seamstress, and lived with another woman, Eliza Verdier, (born c. 1830 in OH), a housekeeper. At age 14, the US Census reported, worked on a farm to increase the family income. His mother had managed to save $1,000 in 1870, a reasonable savings. (See, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Bethel, Clark, Ohio; Roll: M593_1180; Page: 38A; Image: 3083; Family History Library Film: 552679, accessed 10/17/2016.)

Early in his career, Burns, at times, dwelled in boarding houses in Dayton during the work week, but he felt a deep bond with his mother, and she lived with him for most of his life after 1875. He lived at 34 West 3rd Street in Dayton in 1876. ((See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1876,p. 98.) A year later, he resided at 533 (what was 191) East 3rd Street in Dayton, and, by 1879, at 30 East 6th Street. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1877, p. 98 and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1879, p. 94.) The 1880 US Census indicated that Silas and his mother, Susan Coombs Burns, lived in Troy, OH, on a farm with her father, Elisha (born c. 1797 in MD), a retired farmer, and mother, Elizabeth (born c. 1803 in MD). Troy was a town in Miami County, in the eastern portion of the state, just north of Dayton. Silas was already a practicing architect at this time working with Luther Peters.

While he lived in OH from c. 1877-1907, Burns moved very frequently. He boarded in a house 130 Brown Street in 1881. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1881, p. 96.) He lived with his mother at 319 West 5th Street in Dayton in 1882-1883. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1882, p. 106 and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1883, p. 111.) In 1885-1886, he lived with his mother at 47 South Perry Street. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1885, p. 120, and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1886, p. 126.) He and his mother lived at 303 East 6th Street in Dayton in 1890. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1890, p. 158.)

By 1893, Burns, who had married c. 1891, moved to larger accomodations. He moved from 126 East 1st Street, where he lived from 1890-1892, to a house at 319 West 2nd Street Street in Dayton with his wife, children and mother. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1892, p. 166 and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1893, p. 8 and 177.) He lived on the corner of Main and Brown Streets in the Oakwood, OH, east of Dayton, in 1899. (Again, his mother resided with them.) (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1899, p. 222.)

The Burns Family lived in rural Van Buren Township, in Montgomery County, OH, in 1900. (There was also a "Van Buren, OH," in Hancock County, but this was much farther north.) The household had 10 inhabitants, including Burns, his wife and four children, his mother, a farm laborer, Norris Vinson (born c. 07/1878), and two African-American servants, widower Sidney Hawkins (born c. 05/1863 in KY) and his daughter, Jennie, (born c. 06/1888 in KY). (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Van Buren, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: 1308; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 0099; FHL microfilm: 1241308, accessed 10/17/2016.)

By 1903, Burns had relocated to a place off the west side of Salem Pike, one-third of a mile north of the Dayton city line. Salem Pike (now known as "Salem Road") was situated to the northwest of Dayton near the town of Clayton, OH. (See Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1903, p. 267,and Dayton, Ohio, City Directory, 1906, p. 299.) The family continued to reside there in 1907.

It is unclear why Burns moved so frequently while he lived in or near Dayton, OH. What is clear, that once he arrived in CA, he became much more rooted in two residences.

Burns made his home in Alhambra, CA, and had an office in the Homer Laughlin Building in Downtown Los Angeles in 1913; (Laughlin, the ceramics magnate, was also from this part of the country, WV, and eastern OH). In 1910, the large Burns household dwelled at 21 South Almansor Street in Alhambra; at this time, the family consisted of Burns, his wife, Louise, their four children, and his mother, Susan. She brought her own retirement income into the household. (See, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: San Gabriel, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_87; Page: 25B; Enumeration District: 0325; FHL microfilm: 1374100, accessed 10/17/2016.) The 21 South Almansor Street address in the 1910s-1930s was variously listed as being in Alhambra and San Gabriel, CA.

The 1920 US Census recorded that Burns, his wife, and son continued to live at 21 South Almansor, Alhambra, CA. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Alhambra, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_118; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 578; Image: 498, accessed 10/17/2016.)

He and Louise resided at 400 East Hermosa Drive in Alhambra from 1924-1937. (See the San Gabriel, California, City Directory, 1924, p. 446, Alhambra, California, City Directory, 1935, p. 594 and the San Gabriel, California, City Directory, 1937, p. 698.)

Burns died 08/10/1940, at his San Gabriel, CA, residence, aged eighty-five.


His parents were Silas (born 01/23/1828- died 12/26/1854) and Susan (Coombs) Burns (born c. 07 or 08/1827 in MD-died 08/25/1916 in San Gabriel, CA). They married in 1854, and had only one child due to Silas, Sr.'s death the day after Christmas 1854. (See, Source Information West Virginia, Marriages Index, 1785-1971 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 10/17/2016.) Silas, Jr., was raised by a single mother during his whole childhood.


Burns married Louise Latham Devereux Burns (born c. 01/1869 in MA) in 1891. She was about 14 years younger than he.


He and Louise Devereux had four children all born in the Dayton area: Shirley D. (born c. 03/1892), Paul D. (born c. 10/1893), Charlotte D. (born c. 05/1895), and Bruce Burns (born c. 11/1897). All of the children were alive in 1910.

Biographical Notes

Who's Who in American Art, vol. IV, 1940-47.

Associated Locations

  • Morganstown, WV (Architect's Birth)
    Morganstown, WV

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    Burns was born in Morganstown when it still was considered in the state of Virginia.

  • San Gabriel, CA (Architect's Death)
    San Gabriel, CA

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PCAD id: 188

Automobile Club of Southern California, Headquarters, Los Angeles, CA1921-1923Los AngelesCA
Bent, Arthur S., House #2, Highland Park, Pasadena, CA1909PasadenaCA
Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, CA1910Los AngelesCA
Ebell Club, Clubhouse #3, Wilshire Boulevard, Windsor Village, Los Angeles, CA1926-1927Los AngelesCA
Ebell Club, Clubhouse, Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA1912-1913Los AngelesCA
Ebell Club, Clubhouse, Pomona, CAPomonaCA
Hall, E.S., House, Ojai Valley, CA1911Ojai ValleyCA
Hope Ranch Country Club, Hope Ranch, CA1908Hope RanchCA
Hotel Maryland #1, Old Pasadena, Pasadena, CA 1903-1904PasadenaCA
House, Henry C., House, Oak Knoll, Pasadena, CA1914PasadenaCA
Isaacs, Louis, House, Windsor Square, Los Angeles, CA1916-1917Los AngelesCA
Kerckhoff, William George and Louise Eshman, House, South Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1908-1909Los AngelesCA
Los Angeles Public Library, Vermont Square BranchLos AngelesCA
McKevett, A.C., House, Santa Paula, CA1911Santa PaulaCA
McKinley, Maytor H., House, Lafayette Park, Westlake, Los Angeles, CA 1917Los AngelesCA
Old Soldiers' Home, Sawtelle, Los Angeles
Scottish Rite Temple, Santa Fe, NM1911-1912Santa FeNM
Scripps College, Balch, Janet Jacks, Hall, Claremont, CA1929ClaremontCA
Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, CA1910-1914Los AngelesCA
Wayside Inn, Ventura, CA1910VenturaCA
Wilshire Boulevard and South Westmoreland Avenue House, Los Angeles, CA1908Los AngelesCA
Wilshire Country Club #1, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Building, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
"Auditorium, Balch Academic Hall, Scripps College, Claremont, Sumner Hunt and S.R. Burns, Architects", Architect and Engineer, 111: 1, 27-29, 10/1932. "Residence for W.G. Kerckhoff, Los Angeles", Architect and Engineer of California, 77, 07/1908. "Silas Reese Burns joins firm of Hunt & Eager", Architect and Engineer of California, 84, 12/1907. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Kerckhoff House, 1900", Architecture in Los Angeles A Compleat Guide, 256, 1985. Withey, Henry F., Withey, Elsie Rathburn, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), 100-101, 1970. Withey, Henry F., Withey, Elsie Rathburn, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), 311-312, 1970. Winter, Robert W., "The Arroyo Culture", California Design 1910, 12, 1980. "Wilshire Country Club leased Hancock land", Historical Observer, 2: 1, 1-2, "G. Allan Hancock's interest laid groundwork for Wilshire Country Club", Larchmont Chronicle, 06/1992. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 290, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 196, 1994. "Architects Hunt and Burns prepare plans or E.S. Hall residence in the Ojai Valley", Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2, col 1, 12/19/1911. "Hope Ranch Country Club notice", Los Angeles Times, part V: 24, 11/15/1908. "Among the Architects", Los Angeles Times, 20, 04/26/1908. "Burns, Silas Reese, Obituary", Los Angeles Times, 8/11/1940. "Colleges Plan New Buildings", Los Angeles Times, A16, 9/7/1928. "Hotel Maryland #1 addition proposed", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, 1910-02-13. "Historic-Cultural Monuments", Los Angeles Times, 46, 1987-11-19. Malnic, Eric, "2 Found Dead in Blaze at Historic Mansion: Lafayette Park: A former showplace, the McKinley building was long abandoned. The victims may have been transients", Los Angeles Times, B10, 1994-05-24. "McKevett House plans", Los Angeles Weekly Journal, 2, col 1, 12/19/1911. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Automobile Club of Southern California", Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide, 267, 1994. "Ebell Club, Pomona Notice", Southwest Builder & Contractor, 55, col. 1, 2/15/1924. Bradshaw, Jon, "The Club Game", West, 13, 08/06/1972. Who's Who in American Art, 1947, 4: 1947. Who's Who in the Pacific Southwest, 1913, 69, 1913.