Marion Music Hall // 1891

You know a town is fancy if it has its own music hall! The Marion Music Hall was (you guessed it) largely funded by none other than Elizabeth Taber the prestigious benefactor of Tabor Academy, the Library, and more in her hometown. This building was first envisioned after Ms. Taber was dismayed by the poor quality of “worldy theatricals” that were taking place in the only such venue at the time, the Congregational Chapel. Her last gift to the town via a provision in her will, allotted money for the construction of a “suitable building for a lecture and music hall”, costing a total of $23,000. Her go-to architect, William Gibbons Preston, was hired to design the Music Hall, which is a pleasing late-Victorian, Queen Anne-Romanesque Revival building constructed of brick. The Music Hall’s lawn was deemed worthy as the site of a handsome cast-iron Soldiers Monument which was dedicated during the summer of 1894 and remains on the site today.

“Old Parsonage” // 1813

The “Old Parsonage” was built in 1813 by Capt. John Pitcher, brother of Elizabeth Pitcher Taber, benefactress of the town of Marion. The side of the building that faces the street (what we see) is actually the back of the original dwelling. The Federal period house sits on a raised stone foundation with a central door and shingle siding above. Behind his home, a large pasture was situated where his sheep and cows grazed on fields. Pitcher used to hang a ship’s bell from the branch of an oak tree and ring it every evening at 9 p.m. as a curfew bell for the town. The bell is now located in the Marion Natural History Museum. When Capt. Pitcher died, he left his house to the Congregational Church, which used it as a parsonage for many years. It was sold in May of 2021 and is likely a private home now.

Tabor Hall // c.1880

This beautiful Italianate building was constructed around 1880 for the newly established Tabor Academy, which was founded in Marion, Massachusetts by Ms. Elizabeth Taber in 1876. After Ms. Taber funded the constructed of a town library and museum and oversaw construction of the new academic building for her school, she endowed money for Tabor Hall, which was to house the school’s Principal, some boarding students, and most importantly, herself. The structure was located on Spring Street, just north of the library, until 1937, when the “Tabor Swap” was finalized. The swap was a deal between the academy and the Town of Marion, who exchanged properties in 1937. The town received the library building, the academic building (soon after converted to Town Hall) and land where this building once sat. The town erected Sippican Elementary, a public school on the land, and Tabor Academy moved this building a block over.

Elizabeth Taber Library // 1872

The first of many generous gifts by Elizabeth Taber to the town of Marion, Massachusetts was this gorgeous Italianate style library building. Elizabeth Taber (1791-1888) was educated in the Sippican Village School, immediately giving back, teaching school in Marion while still in her teens. At 33, she married Stephen Taber, a clockmaker, and they had three children, none living to adulthood. They eventually settled in New Bedford, where Stephen made much more money in his trade, paired with investments in whaling excursions leaving the town. In 1870, eight years after the death of her husband, Elizabeth Taber turned her attentions to engaging in projects for the benefit of her hometown, Marion. In 1870, she bequeathed over $20,000 for the design, construction and furnishing of a new library in town that would also house a natural history museum. The natural history museum component of the building had been eclipsed in importance by the library which was expanded by side wings during the mid-20th century. Encompassing a collection of rocks, minerals, stuffed birds and other curiosities, the second floor museum was designed to complement the first floor’s book-learning activities. By the late 1870s, the Taber Library and Natural History Museum had become a key component of the Tabor Academy campus, founded just years later.