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[p. 54] we are told the new school building was for a little time thus used. In 1852 the West Medford Lyceum and Library Association was incorporated, and continued operative until 1871, and may have had its earlier meetings in the school hall, or until the building known as Mystic hall was erected in 1852.

This was done by Mr. T. P. Smith, who was alluded to by Mr. Caldwell in his minority report. Mr. Smith had purchased the almshouse just vacated by the town, thus adding the old town farm to his extensive domain, which stretched away to the river and on which was the large house in which he lived. (See Register, Vol. XI, No. 3, frontispiece, for this and Mystic hall.)

Upon the completion of this structure it became the social center for such public gatherings as the West End had, with those of the Lyceum Association, and there was the latter's library, until placed in the care of the Village Improvement Society in about 1880. Later this building was the home of the famous Mystic Hall Seminary, which was opened subsequent to the death of Mr. Smith by his widow, and which took its name from that of the hall.

During the sixty-three years that have elapsed it has been more or less a social center of West Medford, seminary, lyceum, Sunday school, union religious services, churches, fraternal organizations, clubs and polling place. It still houses, as it has in all the forty-six years the writer has known it, a village grocery, with the exception of a few months, conducted by the present proprietor. This is not an advertisement, but history, and ‘custom’ need not forbid mention of the name, Joseph E. Ober.

Possibly its owner (its builder's name has escaped us) may have been dissatisfied with the schoolhouse wrangle and erected Mystic hall as a rival; if so he builded better than he knew for a social center, but certainly both these buildings were and are a credit to their designers and constructors, and the latter bids fair to so remain.


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