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. Due to 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 124 Front Street. St. Gabriel’s Episcopal church at 124 Front Street has been radically altered since its beginning as a Greek Revival school building. It was built in 1847 as Sippican Academy, a private school for the daughters of whaling captains. In 1860, the upper floor housed the town library and was rented to the Sons of Temperance one evening every week at a rate of 20 cents per evening. In 1874, the Sippican Seminary was bought at public auction for $700 by Andrew A. Harwood of the U.S. Navy for the purpose of divine worship. Over the years, the chapel was gradually transformed into a one-and-one-half-story Carpenter Gothic building. The renowned artisan, Charles J. Connick, whose studio was located in Boston, designed the beautiful stained glass windows.