Quincy Historical Walk

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Adams Academy, 8 Adams St Quincy, MA

Discover Historic Quincy 

Walk leaders: Jim Edwards, Architect: Pres. of Holmes & Edwards Architecture, Pres. of Quincy Historical Society.  Ed Fitzgerald, PhD: Executive Director of Quincy Historical Society 

Wednesday, October 3rd at 5 PM Quincy boasts the Thomas Crane Public Library [1882], The Masonic Templte[1926] as well as the Hancock Cemetery dating from the earliest years of European settlement (1630's) and was the community's main burial ground until 1854.

Yet these are just a few of the fourteen historic sites that our expert walk leaders will highlight as they guide walkers through centuries of Quincy city history. [see full list below]

As a special treat Mayor Thomas Koch will greet walkers and give a historic talk in front of City Hall.

The walk will end at Sully's Tavern built in 1874 by Dr. Williams Lyman Faxon, a Quincy real estate mogul and Surgeon of the Fourth Regiment. Here walkers will enjoy their last piece of history and will be invited to stay for cocktails and conversation. 

This walk is brought to you by The City of Quincy and WalkBoston

Meet at Adams Academy (8 Adams St, near the intersection of Hancock St and Adams St) at 5PM


Historic Sites:

1.) Quincy Historical Society - formerly Adams Academy (1872): Built on the site of the birthplace of legendary patriot John Hancock, whose father was pastor of the United First Parish Church – and funded by an endowment left by John Adams – Adams Academy began its life in 1872 as a boys’ preparatory school, which operated until 1908. In 1972, the building was renovated by the Quincy Historical Society and is now home to the Quincy History Museum. The museum’s exhibit – titled Quincy: Of Stone, Of Ships, of Minds, offers a comprehensive look at the city’s history from Native American times up through the early 21st century.


2.) Masonic Temple (1926): Quincy Masonic Building Association building, erected in 1926 at 1170 Hancock Street, was in 1935 the headquarters for the Quincy Commandery K. T. No. 47, the St. Stephens Royal Arch Chapter, the Taleb Grotto MOVP of ER, the Manet Lodge, the Rural Lodge and the Theodore Roosevelt Lodge. The Rural Lodge is the oldest, as it moved to Quincy in 1803 after being formed in Randolph in 1801. The Theodore Roosevelt Lodge was instituted in Wollaston in 1919 but transferred to the new temple when it was completed in 1926. The Taleb Grotto, an informal social club organized in 1920, is not officially connected with the Masonic order, yet to join one must be a Master Mason in good standing. The Manet Lodge, the last of the lodges to be formed, was established in 1921.


The architectural firm for the $235,000 Masonic Temple was the well-known J. Williams Beal Sons of Boston with the contractor being C. A. Batson of Brockton. Already a familiar firm in Quincy, J. William Beal Sons had previously designed such outstanding buildings as the Adams Building, 1342-68 Hancock Street (National Register, 1880-85, 1889-1890); and the nearby Elks Building, 1218 Hancock Street (1924) and would design Bethany Congregational Church, 18 Spear Street, in 1927.


• (3)The Munroe Building (1929): The Munroe Building is a historic building at 1227-1259 Hancock Street. It was built in 1929 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.


• (4)Former Elks Building (1924): The Elks Building is a historic building at 1218-1222 Hancock Street. It was built in 1924 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.


5) Thomas Crane Public Library (1882): Designed by the prominent American architect Henry Hobson Richardson – who also designed Boston’s famed Trinity Church – and built in 1881, the Thomas Crane Public Library’s original building is a masterpiece of 19th century Romanesque architecture. Its ornate woodwork and LaFarge stained glass windows are truly works of art. Since the library opened in 1882, several additions have been constructed, including a multimillion-dollar addition in 2001 that combines the architectural spirit of the original Richardson building with the technological capabilities of a 21st century library.


Coletti (1939) & Bertman Buildings (2001): In 1939 a major expansion was undertaken by architects Paul A. and Carroll Coletti, with stone carvings by sculptor Joseph A. Coletti of Quincy; and a recent addition  in 2001 by Boston architects Childs, Bertman, and Tseckares, doubled the size of the original Richardson structure.


• (6)Bethany Church (1927): Bethany Congregational Church is a historic Congregational church building at 8 Spear Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. The church was designed in 1927 by J. William Beal & Sons and added to the National Register in 1989.


• (7)Coddington School (1909): The Coddington School and Coddington Street are named in honor of William Coddington, Quincy's earliest benefactor. Coddington was a treasurer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and a magistrate and also had the distinction of building Quincy's first brick house. He followed Anne Hutchinson and other religious liberals to Rhode Island in voluntary exile and left his land for the support of public schools in areas now included in Quincy, Braintree and Randolph. He later became the first governor and a president of the Rhode Island Colony. The well-known Charles A. Brigham was the architect for the Coddington School and Dennis F. Crowley the contractor. The headmaster for the new school was Walter Bentley, Frank E. Parlin was Superintendent of Schools and Dr. Nathaniel S. Hunting was Chairman of the School Committee. An earlier Coddington School, built in 1855 and enlarged in 1876, was moved 100 feet to make way for the present Coddington School and subsequently demolished. The Coddington School was once  used as Quincy Junior College which was chartered as part of the Quincy Public  School system in 1958. Its future use is being discussed as part of the New Quincy Center Redevelopment.


8) United First Parish Church (1639): Considered the finest existing Greek Revival church in New England, United First Parish Church is a National Historic Landmark. It was designed by noted architect Alexander Parris, who also designed Quincy Market in Boston. It is also known as The Church of the Presidents because it is the burial place of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their wives Abigail Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams. Last resting place of John Adams (1735-l826), a Signer of the Declaration of Independence for Massachusetts, second President of the United States, lawyer, politician, diplomat, and the first Vice-President of the United States, Adams' remains are located in the basement of this building. Beneath the vestibule lie buried both John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams together with their wives. On April 1, 1828, the bodies of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, were placed in their crypt, which is located in the basement and under the vestibule of the newly completed church. On December 10, 1852, the mortal-remains of President John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa Catherine, were also buried in this crypt. The church is in excellent condition and is open to visitors.


9) Quincy City Hall (1844): This building is associated with both the town and city forms of government and has been the seat of government activities since its construction in 1844. On May 24, 1841, the Town voted to build a townhouse of stone but it was not until April 18, 1844, that the Town authorized the Treasurer to purchase a lot next to the seventeenth century Hancock Cemetery. Solomon Willard supervised the construction of the hall that same year. Quincy Patriot Ledger reported the following in an article: ”The building Committee of the Town House has effected a contract for the building of a Town House which will be one of the most elegant edifices in New England. The Town House will be fifty feet by eighty feet and thirty-five feet, six inches to the eaves, of fine hand stone, the front to be like the Merchants Exchange in State Street, Boston, having four beautiful fluted pilasters (26-3/4 ft. in height) and handsome capitols with frieze and cornice -- the sides to be finely hammered, and laid in Ashlar courses six inches rise.” The City Hall is an excellent example of academic Greek, Revival architecture which was described by Ralph Adams Cram as one of the outstanding specimens of mid-century classical American design in the country. It is unusual in both its monumentality and in the severity of its granite detail. These features may be attributed to its architect Solomon Willard, who was instrumental in the development of the granite industry in Quincy.


10) Hancock Cemetery (1640): Quincy's Hancock Cemetery dates from the earliest years of European settlement (1630's) and was the community's main burial ground until 1854. Early Puritans took a pragmatic attitude towards death and burial: grave markers were often impermanent or non-existent and the cattle roamed freely here. Consequently, many more people are buried here than there are existing markers. Only in 1809 did a group of citizens, including John Adams, purchase the lot and officially donate it to the town. The handsome iron fencing along Hancock Street is from 1844. For more than 200 years, Quincy’s most illustrious residents and civic leaders were buried in historic Hancock Cemetery. Located across the street from First Parish Church – where John Hancock’s father served as minister – Hancock Cemetery is the final resting place of Henry Adams, the first Adams to live in Quincy and ancestor of John Adams; Colonel John Quincy, for whom the city is named; patriot Josiah Quincy and other notable historical figures.


11) Adams Commercial Building (1880): The Adams Building is significant as an intact, early example of commercial architecture in Quincy and as an example of the work of a noted regional architect. Retaining integrity of design, materials, workmanship, location, and setting, the building meets criteria A and C of the National Register. The Adams Building has long been a landmark in Quincy Center and was one of the City's first large business blocks. The original, southern section of the building, on Hancock Street, was constructed between 1880 and 1885; the northern part, which extends around Temple Street, was built in 1889-90. The design was by J. Williams Beal (1855-1919), a Boston architect whose firm (J. Williams Beal and Sons) was responsible for many prominent buildings in the metropolitan and Plymouth County areas. Among these are the extant South Shore National Bank Building (1919) and Bethany Congregational Church in Quincy. The Adams Building was erected for John Q. Adams II, father of the Honorable Charles Francis Adams, and remained in the family until 1952. Originally the building was designed as an all-purpose structure, with stores on the first floor, offices on the second floor, and the Odd Fellows Hall on the third, extending up into the fourth floor. The remainder of the third and fourth floors was apparently used as a rooming house. For many years, the building had the distinction of having as tenants many prominent doctors and lawyers from the Quincy area. Several mayors, state representatives, and senators have had their legal practices in this building. In the early years, the offices of John Q. Adams II, Col. Francis Parker, the first superintendent of Quincy schools, a bank, and the District Court of East Norfolk were all located in the Adams Building. Recently, a variety of commercial establishments have located on the first floor, with offices on the upper two floors. Current rehabilitation work, certified by the National Park Service, will retain stores on the ground floor and place offices on all three upper floors. The Adams Building is a large Jacobethan Revival commercial structure located in the center o£ Quincy's business district. Surrounding properties include the 17th century Hancock Cemetery, City Hall (1844), the First Parish Church (1826), all National Register, and several late 19th to early 20th century masonry commercial buildings. The 3 ½ story, crescent-shaped building occupies a lot o£ about 15,000 square feet of land, with no front or side setbacks. Heavy timber framing supports a pseudo-half-timber facade and steep gable roof; the latter is sheathed in slate shingles and flares at the eaves. The irregular plan of the Adams Building results in a repetitious but irregular facade, consisting generally of (modern) ground floor storefronts, overhanging second and third stories, perpendicular half-timbering framing stucco panels, grouped 2/2 windows, frequent bay windows, and seven steeply pitched cross gables. On the second floor, flush and bay windows have stained and leaded glass transoms the cross gables feature multi-paned sash. Brick fire walls with projecting stepped gables divide the building into three irregular sections and culminate in corbelled chimneys.


12) Granite Trust/South Shore Bank Building (1929): Quincy's banking services began in 1836 with the opening of the Stone Bank, the first commercial bank in the commnunity and the first in the United States to capitalize through public subscription of its stock. This notable institution which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary grew slowly, and it was not until 1865 that it took a national charter and became the National Granite Bank. Prior to World War I the bank broadened its field of activity and became the Granite Trust Company. Beginning in World War I and continuing through World War II, extraordinary leadership was provided for the bank by Theophilus King and then his son, Delcevare, both of whom are buried by a symbolic granite sphere at Mount Wollaston Cemetery. In 1929 this proud granite tower at 1400 Hancock Street was erected by the Granite Trust Company which, after its latest reorganization, was called South Shore Bank, and is now Bank America. The architectural firm for the $400,000 South Shore Bank building was the well-known J. Williams Beal Sons of Boston with the contractor being L. P. Soule & Son Co. Already a familiar firm in Quincy, J. William Beal Sons had previously designed such outstanding buildings as the Adams Building, 1342-68 Hancock Street (National Register, 1880-85, 1889-1890), the Elks Building, 1218 Hancock Street (1924), the Quincy Masonic Building Association building, 1170 Hancock Street (1926), and Bethany Congregational Church, 18 Spear Street (1927).


13) Greenleaf Building (1876): The Greenleaf Building, built in 1876, was the home of the Granite Trust Company during the 1880's and 1890's. The building is also significant for being the first hotel and the first brick building block in Quincy. At first the building was called Robertson House in honor of its public-spirited proprietor, Joseph Robertson. In 1888 Dr. Dexter Remick bought the building and it became the Greenleaf Hotel. Local architect/builder William Parker was the designer of the Greenleaf Building. The first Coddington School, erected in 1855 and now demolished, was one of several buildings Parker had previously designed in Quincy.


14) Sully’s Tavern (1874): The property located at 28 Chestnut Street is the third section of a block of 5 town houses, on a total of 11,600 square feet of land, built by Dr. William Lyman Faxon (first cousin of Henry Hardwick Faxon) in 1874. Besides being active in Quincy real estate, Faxon studied medicine under Dr. Henry M. Saville and was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers in 1861. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1862 and was appointed Assistant Surgeon of the Thirty-second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, in June 1862. He was promoted to Surgeon within 1 year and served “with distinction” until the end of the Civil War. Faxon established, and was chief officer of, the Fifth Corps Hospital at City Point, Virginia during the last part of his service. In 1871, he accepted the position of Superintendent of the National Sailors’ Home in Quincy, where he also helped establish the Quincy Board of Health and the Quincy Water Works. The 1876, 1888, and 1897 Atlases of the City of Quincy show Faxon as the owner of the entire townhouse block on Chestnut Street (originally Sea Street). Lucy Faxon Washburn, the sister of William Lyman Faxon, was listed as owner of the same block in 1907. As of 1924, the block had been divided into 5 separate ownerships and 28 Chestnut Street (considered 26 Chestnut Street until at least 1934) was owned by Abraham Needle. It was sold in 1926 to Rose and Jacob Asnes, who owned and operated a laundry service on the first floor. The unit was transferred 5 years later in March 1931 to Meyer W. Asnes. The property was sold immediately after it was transferred in May 1931 to Mary A. Hibbett, owner of the Hibbett Plumbing Company, Incorporated. At some point between 1931 and 1934, the individual townhouse was altered to accommodate a restaurant. John A. Sullivan purchased the property in 1935 and opened the first-floor space as a bar and restaurant, known for 75 years as “Sully’s Spa.” It is the oldest continuously operating bar in the City, managed by 3 generations of Sullivans. Interior alterations were made to the restaurant in 1950, prior to John’s death in 1951. “Sully’s” was then taken over by his son Robert J. Sullivan. Robert has since retired and his sons, Brian and Richard Sullivan, currently own the establishment.