Monthly Archives: October 2010

Saugus Town Hall (1875)

Is this a haunted mansion posted for Halloween? No, it’s the Town Hall of Saugus, built in 1875. An earlier town hall, built in 1837, is now an American Legion hall. Construction of the 1875 building put the town $50,000 in debt and was one of the reasons the neighborhood of East Saugus almost seceded to become a part of Lynn (the residents were unable to get a bill in both houses of the state legislature and the issue was dropped after the town appropriated $5,000 for laying water pipes in East Saugus). The Town Hall, which originally had the high school and library in the rear wing, was designed in the High Victorian Gothic and Stick styles by Lord & Fuller and underwent a $3 million restoration in 1998, when the building was returned to its original multi-colored, earth-toned exterior paint scheme. The Town Hall’s conference room was recently dedicated to the town’s history. There is also an organization called The Friends of Saugus town Hall.

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The Bowen House (1695)

The oldest sections of the house at 1 Mugford Street in Marblehead, known as the Old Bowen House, are believed to date to 1695. Located near Marblehead’s Old Town House, the building was the home of Nathan Bowen, a merchant who served as Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, and then of Nathan’s son, Ashley Bowen, a sailor, who kept a detailed journal and wrote an autobiography. Ashley Bowen also illustrated his Journal with his own paintings. Ashley Bowen’s nephew, Nathan Bowen, was a noted cabinetmaker. In the twentieth century, the Bowen House was used as the model for a house described in H.P. Lovecraft’s storyThe Festival” (1925). Lovecraft‘s fictional town of Kingsport is based on Marblehead.

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The Gedney House (1665)

Gedney House in Salem is believed to have been built as early as 1665. As originally built by shipwright Eleazer Gedney, the house had two stories with a gabled attic to the left and a parlor with lean-to roof to the right. Gedney, who was married to the sister of John Turner, builder of the House of Seven Gables, passed the house on to his descendants, who made alterations in 1712. The Gedney family later sold the home to Benjamin Cox, who added two town house ells to the building around 1800, thus converting it to a multi-family residence. In later years, the house served as a boarding house and tenement in what became an Italian-American neighborhood. In 1967, when the house was being prepared for demolition, it was acquired by Historic New England. Now an unfurnished house museum, the original wood structure of the building’s interior is left exposed to display to visitors its original seventeenth-century construction.

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The Boardman House (1687)

The Boardman House in Saugus is believed to have been built around 1687 (or as late as 1692) by William Boardman, a Boston-trained joiner. The house is sometimes referred to as the Scotch House because it was later confused with an earlier building on the site that once housed indentured Scottish prisoners who worked at the Saugus Iron Works. Boardman may have occupied that building before constructing the current home. A lean-to was added to the house by 1696, giving the structure a saltbox profile. Around 1725, William Boardman, Jr. made changes to the house, including replacing the original casement windows with sash windows. At some point, the building’s original two front gables were also removed. The house remained in the Boardman family until 1911, when it faced danger from modern development. In 1914, it was acquired by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England). While some necessary repairs were made, SPNEA founder William Sumner Appleton left the house in unspoiled condition to preserve its seventeenth-century structural fabric.

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The John Ward House (1684)

The John Ward House in Salem is a First Period house built in 1684. John Ward was a currier (leather finisher), who is believed to have fled the plague in England around 1660. The house originally stood at 38 St. Peter Street and consisted of one room over one room. At some point around the time of Ward’s death in 1732, the house was expanded with a matching set of rooms. The house went through various changes over the years, with the original front gables being removed. The building‘s eighteenth-century ell was once used for a cent shop and for a time, Sarah W. Symonds, a Salem artist, had her studio and gallery in the home. In 1910, the house was acquired by the Essex Institute and moved to its current location on Brown Street. It was restored under the direction of preservationist George Francis Dow, with period rooms containing seventeenth-century furnishings. Today, the house is a museum owned by the Peabody Essex Museum.

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The Charles Sumner House (1805)

At 20 Hancock Street on Beacon Hill in Boston is the home once occupied by Senator Charles Sumner. It was built in 1805 by Ebenezer Farley and was purchased by Sumner’s father in 1830. Charles Sumner was a fiery opponent of slavery and the victim of a famous caning, delivered by Representative Preston Brooks on the floor of the Senate on May 22, 1856. After the Civil War, Sumner was a leader of the Radical Republicans. He lived in the house until 1867 and was possibly the one who added the Greek Revival portico that links nos. 20 and 22 Beacon Hill.

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West Granville Congregational Church (1778)

In 1778, residents of West Granville volunteered many hours and much labor to construct a Congregational church. The long distance required to travel to the meeting house in Granville Center had led the people of West Granville to decide to form their own parish, which was officially established in 1781 as the Granville’s Second Congregational Church. Around 1845, the church was remodeled so that it has a transitional Greek Revival/Gothic Revival exterior.

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