Two 19th-century business blocks anchor the lower side of Superior Street’s West 100 block, the Lonsdale and Providence buildings. He also dove head deep into Duluth society, joining the Kitchi Gammi Club and courting Alice Munger, daughter of prominent Duluth businessman and pioneer Roger Munger and his wife Olive.
He invested in the West Duluth Land Company, expanded his services to include mortgage loans, and joined the Commercial Club.
Little is known of his early life or education, but by the time he was 27 he had landed in the Zenith City and entered the local real estate game while Duluth was rapidly expanding.
Her bridesmaids included the daughters of two former Duluth mayors and her sister, Mary, the bride of Dwight Woodbridge, a mining engineer who in 1910 would coauthor the first history of Duluth and St. also indicate that William Silvey became close friends with Captain Robert Torrey, who lived in Duluth during the 1890s after he built the Torrey Building at 314 West Superior Street in 1892.
The newspaper reported often on Torrey and Silvey’s hunting trips, and Silvey kept an office on the sixth floor of Torrey’s building.
(West Duluthians today know this building as the Gopher Lounge.) His next building would stand in downtown Duluth, on the lower 300 block of West Superior Street with the St.
Louis Hotel separating his new structure from Captain Torrey’s building. Its caption read: Where the above architects have their offices is generally considered to be one of the best planned office buildings in Duluth, and this building, with a number of other business and tenement blocks and private residences planned by Wangenstein & Baillie during their long professional career in Duluth bear evidence to their skill as architects.
Advertisements for space in the building began appearing in newspapers in March, 1895, but it was not referred to by name. When completed in May 1895, the Providence stood five stories high along Superior Street, six along Michigan Street.
Besides real estate, Silvey became involved with building management.
When the Spalding Hotel fell on hard times following the financial panic of 1893, Silvey took it on in receivership until new investors took over.