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
Converse Memorial Library is located in the US
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
NRHP Reference # 85002014
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 05, 1985[1]
Designated NHL December 23, 1987[2]

The Converse Memorial Library – also known as Converse Memorial Building – is a historically significant building designed by noted American architect H. H. Richardson. From 1885 to 1996, it housed the Malden Public Library, which now occupies a modern building adjacent to it. The former library 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 successor firm, 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 was the last of Richardson's library designs, and is generally considered among his finest works. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  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 (32 KB)