Converse Memorial Library

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Converse Memorial Library
Converse Memorial Library (Malden, MA) - angle view.JPG
Converse Memorial Building
Converse Memorial Library is located in Massachusetts
Converse Memorial Library
Location 36 Salem Street, Malden, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°25′39″N 71°3′59″W / 42.42750°N 71.06639°W / 42.42750; -71.06639Coordinates: 42°25′39″N 71°3′59″W / 42.42750°N 71.06639°W / 42.42750; -71.06639
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1885
Architect H.H. Richardson; Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
Architectural style Richardson Romanesque
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 85002014
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 05, 1985[1]
Designated NHL December 23, 1987[2]

The Converse Memorial Building, also known as Converse Memorial Library, is a public library building designed by noted American architect H. H. Richardson. From 1885 to 1996, when construction of a new library addition was completed, the building was also home to the Malden Public Library. The Converse Memorial Building is located at 36 Salem Street, Malden, Massachusetts.

The building was a gift of Elisha S. and Mary D. Converse in memory of their murdered son, Frank Eugene Converse who was the victim of the first bank robbery/murder in North America. It was constructed 1883-1885 in an overall L-shape, with a facade of brown Longmeadow sandstone, a tower rising from the L's inner corner, and a heavily arched entry porch set within the L's short arm. The main library room is 50 x 36 feet and finished in elaborately carved white oak with a high, vaulted ceiling. Its furniture was designed by Richardson and manufactured by the Boston firm of A. H. Davenport and Company.[3]

In 1896 two additions were made to the building, designed by Richardson's successors, the firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. One gable-roofed wing extends the building to the rear, along Park Street, following the same general lines of the existing structure. The other addition was a flat-roofed rectangular stack area also attached to the rear. An octagonal gallery space further extended the rear in 1916, designed by Newhall and Blevins.[3]

The Converse Memorial Building is the last of Richardson's library designs and generally considered among his finest works. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Converse Memorial Library". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  3. ^ a b c Carolyn Pitts. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Converse Memorial Library / Malden Public Library" (pdf). National Park Service.  (includes plans and drawings) and Accompanying six photos, exterior and interior, from 1888, 1895, 1905, 1985 PDF (32 KB)