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 294 Front Street.
The dwelling at 294 Front Street was built in the first quarter of the 19th century for Hezekiah and Mary Mendell. The Mendell family in Marion dates back to the Revolutionary War, when Pvt. Daniel Mendell and Cpl. Church Mendell served. From 1850 to 1880, William C. Mendell, master mariner and a veteran of the Union Navy, owned this house. By 1890, Hosea Morril Knowlton, the prosecuting attorney in the Lizzie Borden trial at Fall River and later the attorney general of Massachusetts, rented this house for many years. His wife, Sylvia, was the founder of the Marion Visiting Nurse Association.