In 1782, Salem Federalists erected the Assembly House, also known as the Cotting-Smith Assembly House, at 138 Federal Street to serve as a gathering place for social and cultural events. Lafayette and Washington were both entertained there in the 1780s. The original building was most likely quite plain, but it was significantly altered around 1798 by Samuel McIntire, who added elaborate Federal style ornamentation to the front facade. By that time, the building had ceased to be used as an assembly place and was converted into a residence. Jonathan Waldo, an original funder of the Assembly House, had become sole owner in 1796 and sold it to Samuel Putnam, a local judge, two years later. Around that time, Waldo and his partners, William Stearns and Col. William Pickering, built the Stearns Block on Washington Street, which included their own new assembly space called Washington Hall, intended to supercede the Assembly House. In 1919, the Old Assembly House was acquired by Joseph Newton Smith, whose daughter, Mary Silver Smith, gave the house to the Essex Institute, now the Peabody Essex Museum, in 1965.