Peabody Institute Library // 1891

One of the most ornate buildings in Danvers, MA has to be the Peabody Institute Library on Sylvan Street. Built in 1891 in the Classical Revival style, the iconic public library is set in a park of over 4 acres overlooking a pond. The library was a gift to the town of Danvers by George Peabody (1795-1869), who was born into a poor family in Massachusetts, and later went into business in dry goods and later to banking. His business took in Junius Morgan as a partner in 1854 and their joint business would go on to become J.P. Morgan & Co. after Peabody’s 1864 retirement. Now, back to the library!

Main facade.
Rear (pond facing) facade.

The first Peabody Institute Library in Danvers was designed by Gridley J. F. Bryant and built in 1868-69; this Gothic Revival structure was destroyed by fire in 1890. The library’s trustees elected to rebuild on the same site, retaining Little & Brown (whose chief draftsman was Lester Couch, a Danvers resident) to design the replacement. The wood frame library is covered in flush-board siding to resemble masonry construction. The most character-defining features of the building include the porticos on the two main facades and large Palladian windows, evoking the early years of the Colonial Revival style.

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