Abbot Hall (1876)

Happy New Year from Historic Buildings of Massachusetts!!! Rising up over Marblehead is one of the town’s most notable landmarks, Abbot Hall, which serves as town hall and also as a museum. Abbot Hall was built through a bequest of Benjamin Abbot (1795-1872), who was born in Marblehead and became wealthy through his cooper business in Boston. In 1875, the town voted to accept his $100,000 bequest and to follow his wishes that part of the legacy be devoted to building Abbot Hall. As related in The History and Traditions of Marblehead (1881), by Samuel Roads, Jr.:

The selection of a site for the new building had for some time occupied the attention of the people, and various localities were strongly advocated through the columns of the local paper. On Saturday, May 22, a town meeting was held for the choice of a site, and a majority of the citizens voted in favor of the Common. Several meetings were held for the election of a building committee, and Messrs. James J. H. Gregory, Simeon Dodge, Moses Gilbert, Henry F. Pitman, and Thomas Appleton were chosen by a majority vote.

In December, the town voted to appropriate $75,000 of the Abbot fund for the erection of the building, and the, committee were instructed to proceed with the work. The opponents of the site chosen by the town, though in the minority, were active and determined in their antagonism; and when, in the spring of 1876, ground was broken on the Common for the erection of the building, a bill in equity was filed in the supreme judicial court to restrain the committee from further proceedings. The bill was based principally on the claim that the town had no legal right to erect the hall on the Common, as the land was the property of the commoners of Marblehead.

The case was tried on Monday, April 17, before Associate Justice Ames, of the supreme judicial court. Hon. Ebenezer R. Hoar appeared as counsel for the town, and Mr. S. B. Ives, Jr., for the petitioners. A decision was rendered in favor of the town, the petitioners being unable to prove an adverse title.

The cornerstone was laid July 25, 1876 and the building, designed by Lord & Fuller of Boston (who also designed the Saugus Town Hall), was dedicated December 12, 1877. Abbot Hall, located at 188 Washington Street, has a historical collection in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room which includes the original version of the painting “The Spirit of ’76” by Archibald M. Willard and the 1684 deed to Marblehead from the tribe of Nanepashemet. The building has a clock tower with a Bell, installed in 1876 and cast by Meneely & Kimberly in Troy, New York.

Capt. Samuel Trevett House (1717)

The house at 65 Washington Street in Marblehead was home to members of the Trevett family, a prominent Marblehead shipping dynasty. The sign on the house states that it was built in 1717 for Capt. Benjamin Trevett and his wife, Elizabeth Russell Trevett, as a gift from her brother, the merchant Samuel Russell. They had married in 1710 and their son, Russell Trevett, had been born in 1714. Russell was the father of Capt. Samuel Russell Trevett, who was born in 1751 in the house (the house is named for him, although in the past it was mistakenly called the Capt. Richard Trevett House). Capt. Samuel Trevett led the Marblehead artillery company at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

12 State Street, Marblehead (1747)

According to the sign on the house at 12 State Street in Marblehead, the structure was built in 1747 by Captain Alexander Watts. From 1776 to 1803, it was owned by John Adams, fisherman and mariner, who also kept a shop in the building. The shop was continued until 1842 by his daughters, Mary and Miriam. From 1845 to 1891, the building was a restaurant, operated by John Fisher. In 1910, J.O.J. Frost, noted Marblehead folk artist, opened a bakery in the building, which has continued to house various businesses over the years. It was restored in 1988.

Thomas Bodkin House (1729)

The Thomas Bodkin House is at 6 Union Street in Marblehead. In its earliest form, it was a gambrel-roofed house, built in 1729 by Thomas Bodkin, a brewer and merchant, around the time of his marriage to Sarah Rhodes. His brewery was located in a separate building behind the house. Bodkin lived in Marblehead until 1748. The house was later owned by Capt. Benjamin Hind who, around 1765, connected the brewery with the main house, which he also enlarged. Hind was responsible for laying out Union Street, which had previously been a cart path.

Capt. Benjamin Stacy House (1735)

On Washington Street, off Market Square, in Marblehead is a house built in 1735 for Capt. Benjamin Stacy, hatter and innholder of the Three Cods Tavern. Benjamin Stacy married Tabitha Glover. She was the widow of Jonathan Glover and her son, John Glover, who would play an important role in the Revolutionary War, grew up in the Stacy House. The house was enlarged around 1770 by John Sparhawk, a merchant.

Three Cod Inn (1680)

At 82-84 Front Street in Marblehead is a 1680 gambrel-roofed building known as Three Cod Inn. It was a tavern in the colonial period and a meeting place for patriots during the Revolutionary War. According to tradition, in 1775 the British frigate Lively fired several warning shots onto the shore, one of which struck the tavern. The cannon ball remained embedded in the wall for many years until it was later found and then placed with the Marblehead Historic Society. Known for many years as the Old Tavern, the building has more recently been used as a restaurant.