Post Office (Lawrence, MA)


This photograph shows three men working behind the windows at the Lawrence, Massachusetts Post Office (address).  A calendar on the wall gives the date as January of 1918.  The name “Wm. Dallon” is written in pencil and “January 1918” in ink on the back.

The first US Post office in Lawrence, Mass. was established Sept. 7, 1846.  The location was on Turnpike St. (now Broadway) at the intersection with Common Street.  Lawrence was then Merrimack and first Postmaster was George A. Waldo of Methuen.  A year later the Post Office moved to the corner of Amesbury and Common Streets and only a few months later to the first Bay State Building to Nathaniel Wilson’s Drug Store.  In 1855 the offices moved to Appleton Street, then the Schaake block across the street in 1869.  On March 31, 1905 the Lawrence Post Office moved into the first building built for use as a Post Office at the corner of Broadway and Essex Street.  It was a two story white marble building and housed 225 employees.  The building came down during urban renewal.

The image above and two others are available  on Digital Commonwealth.





Anna and Fred Sargent (Lawrence, MA)


These two photographs were given to the Lawrence Public Library in memory of Anna C. and Fred H. Sargent.  Each photograph has been encapsulated and mounted on gray stock.  Image 1  shows the original Bay State Building  (above) on the northeast corner of Lawrence and Essex Streets.  Approximate date is 1873.  The cupola of City Hall is also visible.  Image 2  is a picture of the Appleton Block at the corner of Appleton and Essex Streets .  Both images are on Digital Commonwealth.

Bernard Sullivan (Lawrence, MA)


2004281These three photographs were a gift of Bernard Sullivan.  The 1st  shows workers engaged in building the Ayer Mill chimney.  The 2nd image shows the completed Ayer Mills chimney.  A 3rd mounted photo  is another image of the workers on the Ayer Mill chimney.  It is a different view from number 1.

The three images are available on Digital Commonwealth.

Elsie Marsden (Lawrence, MA)


The three photographs in this collection were a gift to the library from a Miss Elsie Marsden, 18 School St., Lawrence.  Image 1 is a sepia photograph is a group shot of employees of McKay’s Machine Shop was taken in 1895.  The shop was located at the corner of Haverhill and West Streets.  It was bought by United Shoe Machinery and moved to Winchester, Mass. that year.   Miss Marsden’s father, Alfred, is first row 3rd from the left.

Image 2 is a black and white photograph picturing men from the water department clearing the filter beds and the pumping station around the year 1900.  Three men are identified: Superintendent Collins at far right, Payroll clerk Tom Anderson directly in front/left of him, and Alfred Marsden, supervisor, second from the left.

The 3rd and final image documents  ice making on the Merrimack River.  It shows a hand-operated machine that takes the cut ice up on a pulley.  Several piles of ice are visible and 2 machines.  The entire collection is in view on Digital Commonwealth.

Pacific Mills vs. Lawrence, Mass. Assessors


This collection documents the law suit waged between the Pacific Mills in Lawrence and the Assessors’ Office from 1886-88.  It includes evidence, testimony and arguments.

The tax case of the Pacific Mills against the Assessors of the City of Lawrence began with the rereading of a Massachusetts law.  “The law provides that a city may levy a tax upon the ‘plant’ – the buildings and machinery, of any manufacturing corporation located therein; then, if the market value of the whole number of shares exceeds the value of the plant, the state is entitled to levy a tax on such excess, such tax to be finally returned to the cities and towns where the stock is held, pro rata on the shares.”  (Lawrence Daily American October 16, 1886)   The disagreement started in 1886 and culminated in a hearing that ran from December of 1887 through March of 1888.  The tax had not been recently increased nor had the corporation complained that it was too high.  The plant of the Pacific Mills is believed to have cost 8 to 9 million dollars.  The Lawrence assessment was 4 million.  The Massachusetts Tax Commissioner (Charles Endicott) found the present market value to be less that the 4 million so he set the figure at $2,475,000 and stated that Lawrence tax only this amount.  The corporation demurred to pay Mr. Endicott’s and the City of Lawrence’s demands, suggesting a lower figure.  Pacific Mills petitioned the Count Commissioners on appeal from the assessors.  They asked for a reduction of taxes assessed for the year 1886.  A similar petition was brought for 1887.  A. E. Stone, Esq. was employed as counsel with the City Solicitor, William Knox.  Knox directed the litigation and after a prolonged trial the valuation of the Assessors was upheld.  Pacific Mills did not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.


Lawrence, MA Moth Department


moth1This collection is one ledger book that reads “Moth Dept. City of Lawrence Harry Roche Spt.”  There are also 27 more volumes beginning in 1912 and ending in 1929 attributed to the Moth/Parks Department.

The Moth Department was a division of the Parks department which was a division of the Public Property Division.  Originally Isaac Kelley held both supertendencies of both the Parks and Moth Departments.  The job of the Moth department was to exterminate the brown-tail and gypsy moths as well as the elm tree beetle and the tent caterpillar.  Spraying was first done by spraying from the trees, but by 1911 spraying with powerful nozzles from the ground was done.  In 1913 the name had been changed to the Moth Extermination Department.  Besides the spraying workers were cutting off brown-tail moths nests and treating Gypsy moth nests with creosote during the winter.  Work on private property continued with a fee from the owners.  In the middle of May the staff began spraying for Elm Tree Beetles and this continued to July.  The city was divided into 29 sections with a list of streets in each section given to the crews.  Each street in each district was completed until the entire city was covered. The first mention of the Moth Department in the City’s annual reports was in 1911.  The reports continued until the annual reports ceased in 1915.


The browntail moth was accidentally introduced into Somerville, Massachusetts from Europe in 1897. The moth was a scourge in New England at the beginning of the 20th century.  Since that time, populations of this pest slowly decreased due to natural controls until the 1960’s, when browntail moth was limited to Cape Cod and a few islands off the Maine coast in Casco Bay.



City Hall Day Books (Lawrence, MA)

This collection is composed of 23 day books.  They were found in a box that had been kept in one of the vaults in the Lawrence City Hall.  A copy of the cover is shown below.  The books cover the schedule of events at the Lawrence City Hall from 1872 to 1895.  Some of the books are in very poor condition. There are two books for 1874 and 1882 and 1888 are missing.


Concerts, meetings, church fairs, examinations (civil service and postal), dances, church services, lectures, graduations exercises, banquets, caucuses, voter registrations, rallies, circuses, and inauguration ceremonies.  Beside use by Lawrence city government departments rooms in City Hall were used by the GAR, Old Resident’s Association, The White Fund, YMCA, Orpheum Club, Police Relief Association, Lawrence Liquor Dealers, labor unions, fraternal organizations, musical organizations, Lawrence Food School, Fr. Mathew3s temperance Society, French Naturalization Club, Merrimack Cricket Club, political parties, Lawrence City Mission, and local churches.  The back of each book has accounts to show amounts paid the city to use the rooms.