Abbott Lawrence House – Union Club // 1835

Located at 8 Park Street, across from the Boston Common in Beacon Hill, this amazing brick rowhouse is both architecturally and historically significant. The home was built for Abbott Lawrence (1792-1855), one of the richest men in Boston who has been cited by many as being the founder of the New England textile industry. Lawrence’s older brother Amos took Abbott under his wing when Abbott was 15 years old, and in 1808, brought Abbott to Boston from Groton, MA to work as a clerk. By the 1830s, the brothers were major stockholders of the Tremont Company in Lowell and went on to develop the city of Lawrence, not far from Lowell. In 1847, Lawrence gave Harvard University $50,000 to establish the Lawrence Scientific School. He gave $10,000 to the Boston Public Library. He built lodging houses for the poor in 1845, and pushed for education for the lower class. He supported Lawrence Academy and was active in Boston’s Unitarian Church. He later served as a politician and was elected as a Whig representing Massachusetts to the 24th Congress. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

In October of I863, the Lawrence mansion became the home of the Union Club, which combined the two rowhouses at 7 & 8 Park Street. The Union Club was established in April of I863 primarily as a political club supporting the Union cause. With the end of the war, the Union Club adopted a more traditional role, a mens social club for some of the most established and well-respected Boston-area elite. The club later became the first of Boston’s traditional men’s clubs to admit women to full membership. The Union Club remains at the space to this day. The club altered the traditional Greek Revival homes in 1896 in the Queen Anne-Colonial Revival style with decorative ironwork and a fifth story with wall gables.

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