MethuenHistory,org

 Home

 Organizations

 Research

 

 

Historical Photographs of Methuen

 

   Next

Return to the top of the page

To accommodate the growing number of Irish Catholic factory workers, Bishop Fitzpatrick purchased land to build a Catholic church on the corner of Broadway and Park Streets in the mid 1800s. Father Marsden had been saying Mass in the Town Hall. St. Monica's held it's first services on Easter Sunday 1897. Edward F. Searles promised to build a church and rectory for Saint Monica's but died before that project could be done. Arthur Walker, trustee for Searles estate, later deeded land to the church for the rectory which was begun in 1922.

 

Return to the top of the page

  Pleasant Street looking toward monument park, circa 1910.

 

Return to the top of the page

This house at 37 Pleasant Street was built by Richard Whittier between August and November of 1830. Originally a rough stone farm house, the building was purchased in April 1882 by Charles H. Tenney, who converted it to the elegant Gate House. The Gate House is one of two structures of the extensive estate to survive intact and can be seen in many of the historic photographs of Grey Court. It had recently undergone extensive restoration.

 

Return to the top of the page

Grey Court was the centerpiece of the Charles Tenney's Estate. Begun in 1890 and completed three years later, the mansion served as the summer home of Charles Tenney' s family. Ernest W. Bowditch, who designed Tuxedo Park in New York, designed the grounds, which won a prestigious horticultural prize in 1902 .

 

In 1951, the Tenney family gave 26 acres to the town for a High School and sold the rest to the Basilican Salvatorian Order. From 1977-1978 a series of fires eventually destroyed the mansion.

 

Return to the top of the page

All Saints Episcopal Church was one of a several major buildings constructed through the generosity of Edward F. Searles. Its cornerstone was laid in 1904. The church was designed by architect Henry Vaughn. When it was begun in 1904, All Saints had 164 communicants, many of them former members of the Saint Thomas Church of Methuen which had closed in 1901. All Saints remained strong until after World War II when the mill industry declined. In 1950 All Saints merged with Saint John's of Lawrence and was renamed Saint Andrew's.

 

Return to the top of the page

The bridge at the Organ Factory was one of several public works projects donated to the city by Edward F. Searles about 1912. The towers, were designed by Searles' architect Henry Vaughan.

 

Return to the top of the page

The First Baptist Church was formed on March 1, 1815 with thirteen members, five men and eight women. Services were held in the Daniel Frye house and in the old meeting house which was enlarged twice. In 1840 a church was built on this site but burned in 1869. The present church was built the same year and dedicated in January 1870. The bell, which was cast in Baltimore and weighed 1600 pounds was installed in 1878. In 1913, the steeple was removed..

 

Return to the top of the page

Hope Lodge 34, I.O.O.F. was instituted in Methuen in 1844 and by 1879, meeting rooms for the Lodge were located in the James Dodge Store (271 Broadway). The Odd Fellows Building, dedicated in September of 1899, was the culmination of a twenty year effort by the Hope Lodge of Methuen to build a permanent home. The Methuen Post Office and two stores occupied the first floor. The second floor held seven offices and a small lodge room. A large lodge room occupied the third floor, while a banquet hall, kitchen, and smoking room were located on the fourth floor.

 

Return to the top of the page

The First Church was formed when the town was incorporated in 1726. The first church building was erected in 1728 and occupied a site on Meeting House Hill on the triangle of land across from the entrance to the Holy Family Hospital. The second Meetinghouse was dedicated for public service in 1796 but moved to the present site in 1832 when the village at the Spicket River Falls had grown to the point that Meeting House Hill ceased to be a common center. In 1853 the wooden building was torn down and this stone structure was built in its place.

 

Return to the top of the page

 Broadway looking north near the old St. Monica's Church , circa 1910.

 

Return to the top of the page

Perhaps one of the saddest moments for many Methuen residents was at the loss of the George Washington Monument. Here we see it being dismantled prior to being shipped to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. The statue was commissioned by Edward F. Searles and was unveiled on February 22, 1900. It is a masterpiece by Thomas Ball, a renowned American sculptor. Standing atop a rectangular pedestal is a fifteen foot statue of Washington. The statue was sold and removed from Methuen in 1958 to make way for St, Monica's Grammar School.

 

Return to the top of the page

This 1920's postcard shows Harris Boat House located on an island on the north side of the Spicket River at the dam near the Central Fire Station. The public could rent a canoe to explore the river north of the dam. The building has been taken down in recent years. Behind the boat house is a rear view of the boarding houses on Pine Street built by the Methuen Mills as lodgings for their workers. Similar houses were built throughout the neighborhood. These particular houses were moved to Lowell Street adjacent to the Fire Station.

 

Return to the top of the page

The picture above shows the original Central School built in l905 by Edward F. Searles and given to the town of Methuen to serve as a replacement for the East School. The original building was an excellent example of the style of architecture of Sir Christopher Wren. The original plans were drawn up by Searles' architect Mr. Henry Vaughan. The building was expanded in 1924 when additional classrooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria were added. Great care was taken by the town, as you can see in the picture below, to keep the architecture compatible with the original school, with its main entrance still located on Ditson Place. In the ensuing years, the building has been both a grammar and a junior high school. In 1975 the Central School became a grammar school again.

 

Return to the top of the page

Lawrence Street looking toward the old section of East Street, now one of the entrances to Presentation of Mary Academy, circa 1900.

 

Return to the top of the page

 In 1897, Mr. Searles purchased these two Corinthian columns from the Bank of America in New York and had them delivered to Methuen. These 20 ton granite columns had been in New York since 1838. They were quarried from the same area in Quincy, Massachusetts as the granite used to build the Bunker Hill Monument, Quincy Market in Boston and many of the buildings in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Mr. Searles had wanted to make an entrance to his estate at the corner of Park and Lawrence Street, so that visitors would come up the driveway between the two columns and be greeted at the Waldo House prior to being taken into the grounds of the adjoining estate. The Baptist Church owned a small triangular piece of land at the corner when the town took a strip of their land to build Park Street. When the church refused to sell that piece of land to Searles, the gates were removed and the opening was sealed with granite blocks.

 

Return to the top of the page

The West School was built in 1890. At the turn of the century this two story wooden school was enlarged. It stood at the corner of Lowell and Barker Streets until 1983 when, by recommendation of the State of Massachusetts, it was torn down. The Methuen Senior Citizen's Center now stands on this site.

 

Return to the top of the page

The Nevins Home at 100-110 Broadway was built on the site of the home of Charles Ingalls, one of Methuen's early hat manufacturers. In 1905 the Ingalls property was acquired by the executors for the estate of Julie F. H. Nevins who died in 1904. Mrs. Nevins left $100,000, plus an endowment, for construction of the Henry C. Nevins Home for Aged and Incurable, a memorial to her late husband. Ground breaking began in June 1905 and dedication of the new facility took place in July of the following year.The Nevins Home remained in operation from 1906 until 1982. A modern nursing care facility was later constructed behind the original structure.

 

Return to the top of the page

The Searles High School was built in 1904 for the Town of Methuen by local millionaire and community benefactor Edward F. Searles. It was designed by Henry Vaughan who also responsible for other Searles commissions such as the Serlo Organ Hall (1899-1909), the Central School (1904), All Saints Episcopal Church (1904), and the Railroad Station (1908). The building remained a High School until it was replaced by the new Tenney High School in 1952. It became an elementary school until 1975 and school department offices until 1983. The building was then sold to the Bergmeyer Development Company. They developed the building for office space, opening in 1986. In 1992, the building was repurchased by the town for use as a town hall.
   
   

 


 

Last updated 2/27/2002

 

Site Maintained by Dan Gagnon

Hosted by Valcom
©2001 Dan Gagnon