Methuen History

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Historic Sites: S-W

Salem Street


Address: 57 Salem Street

Date: c. 1856

History: The earliest map on which 57 Salem Street (then called Mill Street) definitely appears is for the year 1872, but it is likely that the building was on the site in as early as 1856 but the map for that year is not clear. G.P. Poor owned the house in 1872, but by 1884 it had been sold to John Boardman, a farmer. In the early 20th century, the house (then known as 55 Salem Street) was owned and occupied by John W. Hall, who was also a farmer. Beginning around 1918 with the development of Methuen’s Armenian community, the Hovnaton Depoian family occupied the house for at least thirty-two years, and continued to farm the land into the late 1920s. Over the years, Depoian shared the residence with Hovnasvanus Ajskarian (farmer), Hovanes Apkarian (operative), John Apkarian and Jacob Demerjian. In 1950, the property, still numbered 55 Salem Street, was the residence of Katherine Depoian.




Tyler Street

Name: Tyler Street Church

Address: Tyler Street

Date: 1916

History: Built on land given to the Primitive Methodist Society by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Redford, this small church building was erected in 1916, and its interior was completed in 1917. It was designed by architect L. Firth. William D. Hartshorne laid the corner stone. The Society incorporated as an independent church in 1922 becoming the Third Primitive Methodist Church in Methuen, serving the western part of town. In more recent years it was converted to a residence (ca. 1970s).




Address: 169 Tyler Street


History: As early as 1806 there were two houses in this approximate location belonging to the Messer family. Although the existing buildings appear to largely date from a later time, it is possible that portions of early 19th century houses could be contained within the existing structures. By 1846, what is today the main house was owned by James Messer while the one to the east was owned by Benjamin Farrington. The same was the case in 1856. By 1884 the property was owned by G.O. Messer, who is listed in town directories as a farmer. Between 1885 and 1901 the farm was acquired by William J. Leach; directory research indicates that Leach lived in one house while the other was occupied by Bagdasar Boornasian, a farmer and milk dealer, roughly between the years 1901 to 1905. By 1914 the directories list only Nasham Boornasian (farmer and milk dealer) at this address. By 1929 the occupant is listed as Nasham Hovanasian (farmer); this remains the same until at least 1950 when he is listed as a poultry farmer.




Address: 179 Tyler Street

Date: c. 1766

History: According to the 1978 Methuen survey, 179 Tyler Street was built in 1766. Map research into the early history of the house reveals that a building was on the site as early as 1806, when it was owned by the Whittier family. By 1846, ownership was in the hands of Moses Smith, who owned it until at least 1872. In 1884, the owner was J. Foster, who was listed in the 1885 city directory as a heel manufacturer living on Tyler Street (known then as Plum Street). Joel was followed by Alice J. Foster, who lived on Tyler Street until at least 1906. The next occupant was Hercules S. Moore, a contractor and later a mason, who lived at 179 Tyler c. 1914-1921. John Arakelian, a farmer, lived in the house from at least 1924 to 1936.




Address: 191 Tyler Street

Date: c. 1906

History: 191 Tyler Street was built between 1906 and 1914. In 1906, it was not yet on the town maps, but by 1914 the city directory listed it as the residence of Henry J. Harris, a mill operative. Harris, presumably the first owner, lived there until at least 1936. The house remains a single-family home.




Union Street

Name: The freight house

Address: Union Street

Date: c. 1850

History: In 1848-1849, The Manchester and Lawrence Railroad constructed a line through Methuen on a north/south route, west of the Methuen Company complex. The railroad can be seen on the 1853 Essex County map, with a small depot and freight house on the west side of the tracks. The same building can be found on the 1872 atlas map. The absence of these two buildings on the 1884 map seems to be an error since they appear again on the 1896 atlas map. In 1908, the depot was replaced by a new station (55 Union St), donated by Edward F. Searles. The old freight house remains on the site. It appears to date to c1850; if so it is the oldest remaining building associated with the railroad in central Methuen.



Name: The Hall House

Address: 39 Union Street

Date: 1877

History: The house at 49 Union Street was begun in 1876, finished in 1877 and taxed to Charles H. Hall, a hatter, who lived on Broadway. Directories in 1885 and 1896 list Hall on Broadway, so this may have been a rental property. Assessor’s cards say that a garage was added to the Hall House (39 Union Street) property in 1951/54.



Name: Railroad Station

Address: 55 Union Street

Date: 1908

History: There began to be considerable discussion about the need for a new railroad station in the 1890s. An 1896 letter to the Methuen Transcript called the freight house a disgrace and suggested that the people of Methuen were entitled to better accommodations. A few years later, in 1898, Methuen businessman George W. Tenney made a plea to the Boston & Maine Railroad for new station. Edward F. Searles, who was a major stockholder in the B&M finally donated land and had the station built at his expense. The Methuen Transcript reported that H.B. Fletcher was the architect working with chief engineer H.W. Hayden. Biographer Morgan says that station was designed by Searles’ architect, Henry Vaughan who designed all of Searles’ other major buildings in Methuen. The station opened on July 13, 1908, and was used as a passenger depot until the 1960s. It was renovated in the 1980s and is now used for offices.




Washington Street

Name: Christopher Howe House

Address: 51 Washington Street

Date: c. 1841

History: Deed records and historic maps indicate that this house was built for Christopher Howe, probably shortly after he purchased the property in 1841. In 1872 Howe sold the house along with his 115 acre farm to Joel Foster. It remained in the Foster family as late as 1906 when it was owned by F. Foster. At the time it was built, this was one of many farm houses scattered around the outskirts of Methuen. The map of 1806 indicates that there was a house in this approximate location; it is believed that the rear of the existing house incorporates part of an earlier dwelling.



Name: Nathan Currier House

Address: 222 Washington Street

Date: c. 1840

History: Based on a visual assessment and map research, this house appears to have been built around 1840. The earliest known owner is Nathan Currier who lived here as early as 1846. It was one of about eight farms located near the intersection of Washington and Currier Streets; nearly all the farms were owed by the Currier family. By 1884 this property was owned by Thomas McElroy, a farmer and milkman. The business was continued here by Edward Moreau who owned the property by 1900. Moreau lived here as late as 1944.



Name: The Richardson House

Address: 240 Washington Street

Date: c. 1835

History: The history of this house is not clear but deed research would indicate it to have been built around 1835, shortly after the county laid out the road in 1833. The earliest known owner was Charles Richardson, a farmer, who lived here as early as 1846 and as late as 1885. The property was then passed to Henry G. Richardson (by 1900) who also farmed here and then to George H. Richardson (in the 1930s) who worked in the mills for many years and later as a gardener. The house remains a single-family home. At the time it was constructed, this house was one of about eight farms located around the intersection of Currier and Washington Streets; most of those farms were owned by the Currier family.




West Street


Address: 115 West Street

Date: c. 1854;

History: 115 West Street was assigned a construction (or substantial rebuilding) date of 1868 on the previous survey form. Land and buildings in the vicinity were owned by the Morse family from at least to the mid-18th century and until 1843, when title passed to Andrew Stiles. By 1854, what was then a larger parcel of farmland with a previous dwelling had passed from Stiles to Austin Pinney to Jerome M. Queston and finally to Joseph Gardner in 1854; he is believed to have built the present house. The house remained in the Gardner family for over forty years, although the owners of record became Arthur and Susan (Gardner) Sharp. The Sharps sold to William H. Donovan in 1896, and the house remained in that family for the next sixty years. In 1906 the property was owned by John F. Donovan, a farmer and milk dealer. In the early 1930s, William Donovan, an operative, shared the house with Hiram Chute, a farmer, and Joseph Cohen, a cattle dealer. By 1936, the house was occupied by William Donovan’s daughter, Theresa Malley, a widow. The daughters of William Donovan sold the house to Philip M. Young in 1957.




Winchester Street


Address: 10 Winchester Street

Date: c. 1931

History: City directories do not list Winchester Street until 1931(Winchester Avenue is listed in 1929), suggesting that the street was laid out and subdivided in the late ’20s. The first occupant listed at 10 Winchester was George J. Martin, a conductor, who was still there in 1933. By 1938, the house was occupied by Arthur W. Wright, a wool sorter.


Copyright Dan Gagnon 2021