In 1998, the Sippican Historical Society commissioned an architectural survey of Marion’s historic homes and buildings. The survey was funded one-half by the Sippican Historical Society and one-half by the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Because of the limits of funding, not all of the historic buildings were surveyed, but over 100 were catalogued and photographed. The results of the survey are in digital form on the Massachusetts Historical Commission’s website and in four binders in the Sippican Historical Society’s office (and at the Marion Town Clerk’s office). Marion (Old Rochester) is one of the oldest towns in the United States, and the Sippican Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of documentation on its historic buildings. The Sippican Historical Society will preview one building a week so that the residents of Marion can understand more about its unique historical architecture. This installment features 8 Spring Street.
The Italianate building at 8 Spring Street houses the Elizabeth Taber Library on the first floor and the Natural History Museum on the second. Built in 1872, this building was the first of numerous gifts of buildings to the Town of Marion by Elizabeth Taber. She stated that her gift represented “a testimonial of my esteem and kind regards for the Library Association and Natural History Society and for the inhabitants of Marion, generally.” She had the building insured for $4,000. By the late 1870s, the Taber Library and Natural History Museum had become a key component of the Tabor Academy campus.