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 357 Front Street.
In 1854, the Cape Cod Railroad established a station in Marion, connecting West Wareham with Fairhaven. By the 1880s and 1890s, the rails were bringing affluent summer visitors to Marion from all over the country. Sea captain George Allen’s house at 357 Front Street – with its expansive grounds from Route 6 north to the railroad tracks – was impressive enough that the intersection of Front and Spring Streets was, for many years, known as Allen’s Corners. This orate Italianate house was built sometime before 1867, and although altered, is a fine example of a sea captain’s residence.