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[347] It was let for two dollars per evening, and to a religious society for two dollars per Sunday. The building-committee were Messrs. John P. Clisby, John Sparrell, and Thomas R. Peck.

The first story is occupied by stores on Main Street, and by the selectmen's room on the west. The hall includes the second story.

Oct. 27, 1839: Saturday night it was partly destroyed by fire. Nov. 25, the town voted to rebuild on the original model. The insurance of $5,000 was used to pay for the repairs, and nearly covered the whole amount, which was $5,389.89. The south end was built of brick, and the house made thirteen feet longer than at first. It was again insured, at the same office, for $5,000. The building-committee were Messrs. Darius Waite, Milton James, and John P. Clisby.

Oct. 18, 1850: Saturday night it was again burned in part. The town voted to rebuild; and, having received from the insurance-office $4,580, this money was used for payment. The building-committee were Messrs. Daniel Lawrence, George T. Goodwin, and Charles S. Jacobs; the master-builder, Mr. Charles Caldwell. The cost of rebuilding was $5,941.26. Its dimensions now are ninety-two feet ridge, eighty-three feet body, and forty feet width.


Our intelligent and thrifty Puritan ancestors had no need of alms-houses. They who came here were the robust and young; and they insisted on obedience to the text, “He that will not work, neither shall he eat.” Idleness was whipped out of the men by the magistrates, as out of the boys by their parents. The first mention in our Medford records of any alms-house is May 16, 1737,--more than a century after the incorporation of the town; and then it is proposed to invite neighboring towns to unite in building a common workhouse. The inhabitants chose a committee to confer with the adjacent towns, and to induce them to join in “building a house for employing poor, indigent, and slothful persons.” This proposition was not accepted; and Medford did nothing more about the matter till May 23, 1774, when a committee was chosen to provide a poorhouse on account of the town exclusively.

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