Gregg Free Library // 1907

The Wilton Public and Gregg Free Library is the public library for the town of Wilton, New Hampshire and is among the town’s most grand architectural designs. The library was the gift of David Almus Gregg (1841-1928), a native of Wilton who owned a successful building parts business in Nashua manufacturing doors, window blinds, and window sashes with his father, David Sr., who lived in the home featured previously. Gregg was significantly involved in the design and construction of the building, providing the highest quality building materials and contractors to the project, which was estimated to cost $100,000 when completed in 1907. The architectural firm of McLean and Wright was commissioned to design the building, who completed it in the Classical Revival style, like many of their other library designs in New England.

Woodlawn Cemetery Lodge // 1897

Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, MA was established in 1850 as a rural, private cemetery in the tradition of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. The story of Woodlawn Cemetery began in 1850 when a group of ten prominent Bostonians petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to organize a corporation “for the purpose of procuring, establishing and preparing a cemetery or burial place for the dead in Malden” (present-day Everett was established in 1870 from Malden). Adjacent to the Cemetery Gate and Tower (last post), the Woodlawn Cemetery Lodge replaced an 1850s lodge and office constructed of wood, in the Gothic-style, that was deemed unsatisfactory for later boards managing the cemetery. The group hired Boston architect William Hart Taylor to design the gate and lodge, the latter in the Classical Revival style. The buff brick building features terra-cotta trim and a red tile roof with dentil cornices and copper cresting along the ridges and eaves. The square entry tower has a columned belfry and incorporates additional Classically-inspired features including Ionic columns, moldings, swags, and wreaths, which looks like a Greek Temple plopped onto the top. Gorgeous!

Second Everett High School // 1922

In 1892, the growing municipality of Everett, Massachusetts incorporated as a city. While Everett’s population had remained small compared to nearby towns throughout much of the nineteenth century, its close proximity to Boston resulted in dramatic population growth between 1885 and 1915. During this late industrial period Everett’s population was one of the fastest growing in the state, doubling between 1870 and 1880, nearly tripling from 1880 to 1890 and doubling again between 1890-1900. This massive population growth put a strain on public facilities, necessitating new housing construction, new public utilities, and schools. By 1889, planning for the first purpose-built high school had begun. The resulting first Everett High School, first known as the Home School, in 1893, the year after Everett’s incorporation as a city. That building was almost immediately outgrown and the city acquired a new site for a school that was large enough to educate the ever-growing town’s students. The City of Everett selected the architectural firm of Ritchie, Parsons, and Taylor for the construction of the new high school. The firm was led by Scottish-born James H. Ritchie, who designed the Classical Revival building. In the early 2000s, the building was again deemed inadequate and a third high school was built about a mile away. The building is now occupied by the Everett Community Health and Wellness Center and the Webster School Extension.

Everett Masonic Hall // 1910

Further up Broadway from Everett City Hall, you’ll find the town’s Masonic Hall, a now-vacant institutional building which contributes to the diverse streetscape and character of Everett’s built environment. The local Palestine Lodge of the Masons in Everett originally met in its original lodge, built in 1870. A corporation known as the Everett Associates, which included only Masons, subsequently constructed the original Masonic Building. The property burned in a fire in 1908, leading to a new building campaign by members. A site was acquired further up Broadway, and the groundbreaking was held on June 11, 1910, led by Everett Mayor Charles Bruce, a past master of the Palestine Lodge. Mayor Bruce also served as the chair of the Building Committee. In his remarks at the groundbreaking, Bruce noted the membership of the lodge as over 500 men! Inside the cornerstone, members placed: original papers from the former Masonic Building, a history of the Palestine Lodge, a list of lodge members, photographs, news articles, and other ephemera. The Boston architectural firm Loring and Phipps was responsible for the design of the building, which is constructed of water-struck brick and is of the Classical Revival style. After WWII, membership declined sharply, and the organization sold the building in the 1980s. From the mid-1990s to 2019 the building was owned by the Islamic Association of Massachusetts, and suffered from deferred maintenance. The red “X” on the building is for firefighters not to enter the building in case of fire or emergency. Luckily, the building was purchased and the new owner hopes to convert the building into housing, preserving the structure and using Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Fingers crossed!!

Pollard Block // 1895

Proctorsville Village (in present-day Cavendish, Vermont) was established in last decades of the 18th century along the Black River, where the slope allowed for suitable locations for small water-powered mills. The community grew slowly for the early part of the 19th century as farmers, craftsman and merchants established enterprises around the handful of small mills built along the river. The establishment of the Central Vermont Railroad through the village aided manufacturing expansion, and by the late 1800s, Proctorsville was home to many large mills. As employment in the mills grew, the local economy shifted from the barter economy of a farming community to a cash-based economy generated by wage employment. The general store was essential to this transition supplied the townspeople with essential goods via the railroad, and the major store in Proctorsville was the Pollard General Store. Don Carlos Pollard (1840-1921) was born in Plymouth, Vermont and opened his first store there under his father’s name. He moved to Proctorsville in 1860 and opened a general store in the village. The store was an immediate hit, and later managed by Don’s two eldest sons, Fred and Park out of a brick building. A fire destroyed the brick building in 1895, but construction began of a new building immediately that same year. The present wood-frame building exhibits the retail presence and early commerce in many small villages in New England. It blends Italianate and Classical Revival details with the bracketed eaves and one-story corner pilasters and dentils. Swoon!

Goldfarb Tenements // 1910

Constructed in 1910 to house ten apartments, this tenement building is architecturally significant and high-style to blend in with the many Federal and Greek Revival homes in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The building replaced an earlier home and was built for Lillian Goldfarb as an investment opportunity. The tenement block was designed by Max M. Kalman, a Russian-born, Boston-based architect who designed most of the post-1900 tenements on the North Slope. Kalman designed many tenements and other buildings in Beacon Hill and the West End for Jewish property-owners. The Goldfarb Tenement building is a richly detailed example of a tenement whose red brick, brownstone and cast stone-trimmed facades are dominated by substantial cast metal oriel windows. The cast metal is a cheaper material than traditional copper which would patina that same color.

Strand Theatre – Strand Ballroom // 1915

This three-story brick and stone building in Downtown Providence was built in 1915 as a motion picture theatre, one of the first purpose-built movie houses in the city. Local architect Thomas J. Hill Pierce designed the building which had a central theatre core with offices at the street which enhanced the
building’s income by optimizing rental space and providing a sound buffer between the street and the auditorium. Taken over by Publix, the building was briefly known as the Paramount Theatre from 1930-34, when the Strand name was restored. After WWII, populations were moving farther and farther from downtown, the theater struggled to attract customers, so like many other downtown movie theaters, the Strand shifted its clientele by featuring adult films, a revenue stream that only worked for a few years before the owners converted some of the auditorium space into commercial/office use. When Downtown Providence began to see a resurgence, owners re-opened the old Strand as a live music venue, known as Lupos Heartbreak Hotel and Roxy Providence. In 2017, new owners closed the theatre for a three month, $1 million renovation project, reopening as the Strand Ballroom, a wildly popular venue.

Old Forest Hills Station // 1909-1987

Photo courtesy of Boston City Archives

When elevated train service from Boston extended to Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain in 1909, the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and points south were ecstatic to realize the chance to enjoy quicker transit to the city. The station, which opened in 1909, was an architectural landmark and engineering feat, as the new terminal was the largest structure of its kind and the most costly in the country at the time. The large station was made of steel and reinforced concrete, finished in copper at the elevated section, and took nearly two years of construction. City architect Edmund M. Wheelwright designed the station, and upon its opening, it was called “the chef-d’œuvre of rapid transit development in Boston”. Like with many cities all over the country, shifting transportation planning and priorities and shrinking investment necessitated the once grand station to suffer the fate of the wreckingball. As part of the Southwest Corridor project, this station was to be demolished, with a modern station constructed to service the MBTA trains on the Orange Line. Also, plans were developed for a 12-lane highway along the railroad right-of-way between Boston through Cambridge. The residents of the affected areas, including Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South End, Back Bay, and Cambridge, protested against the destruction of their neighborhoods by the planned highway, and won! The old Forest Hills Station was a casualty of the proposal, but a lasting reminder for neighborhood planning and advocacy, preserving character and people over cars.

Hotel Bretagne // 1897

Located at the prominent corner of Mass Ave and Tremont Street in Boston’s South End neighborhood, this beautiful apartment building has long caught my eye, but I finally got around to looking up its history! The building was constructed in 1896-7 by Albert Geiger, a real estate developer who sold the completed building to a Josiah P. C. Marshall. The building is Classical Revival in style and had eleven suites for rental. The blond brick building with Indiana limestone trim are gorgeous, but the showstoppers are the metal bay windows with decorative wreaths and garlands.

Rockport Carnegie Library // 1907

Rockport’s Town Hall opened in 1869. In the year that followed, a series of concerts and lectures—including one by Mark Twain—raised $250 to establish a town library. The town members accepted the donation and approved matching funds for the project in 1871, and a space was allocated in the town hall for the library. This space was quickly outgrown as the town continued to grow, and the townspeople clamored for more books. In the early 1900s, members of the town began negotiating with Andrew Carnegie, who was giving libraries to towns that could not afford them. In 1903, a town meeting accepted Carnegie’s offer to provide $10,000 to build a free public library building for Rockport and the town acquired a lot for the new building. Rockport’s Carnegie Library was built in 1907. The structure is built of locally quarried granite with Classical Revival detailing. The building functioned as a library until the fall of 1993, when additional space was needed and the town converted an old school to serve as the new building. The old Carnegie Library in Rockport was converted to a private home.