You are here

Lynn Common Historic District

-A A +A
N. and S. Common sts.
  • St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • New England Telephone Building (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (Richard W. Longstreth)

Distinctive for its long, linear configuration, Lynn Common dates to 1637. Its current character reflects improvements made beginning in the 1820s, when N. and S. Common streets replaced a road bisecting the Common. The cast-iron fence that borders the Common dates from about 1870. The Civil War monument was added in 1873, the fountain in 1893, and the bandstand by 1900. Just beyond the west end of the Common and separated by a small cluster of commercial buildings lies the old burial ground, established in 1637.

At the east end stands the Lynn City Hall (City Hall Square), a 1948–1949 replacement of the 1867 municipal building designed by Gridley J. F. Bryant and Arthur Gilman. Fred Dyer designed the city hall in a V-shaped plan constructed of concrete with modest Moderne-style ornament. Nearby is the New England Telephone Building (21 City Hall Square), an Art Deco office building designed by Densmore, LeClear and Robbins in 1931.

A number of architecturally prominent buildings face the Common. Foremost among these is St. Stephens Episcopal Church (70 S. Common Street), the last and one of the best of several major churches designed by Ware and Van Brunt. The massing of the Gothic Revival church is highly picturesque, with the entrance through a great tower that terminates in a gable-roofed belfry without a spire. The long facade facing the Common presents a lively silhouette that includes the gable roof of the transept and a broad apsidal bay at the end of the nave. Constructed in 1881, the church has a range of reddish-brown colors derived from walls of locally quarried granite, brick, sandstone trim, and red slate roofs. The interior includes stained glass windows produced by Tiffany & Co.

In 1871–1872 John Stevens of Boston designed the Congregational Church (152 S. Common Street), a classic example in brick of his distinctive church architecture, now sadly vacant, and the spire has been lost. Another major landmark is the Lynn Public Library (5 N. Common Street). A monumental Corinthian portico fronts this large Beaux-Arts classical design constructed in limestone in 1898–1900 and designed by George Moore, a Boston architect better known as a partner in the firm of Little, Browne and Moore during the mid-1890s. Nearly opposite on the other side of the Common looms the red brick Lynn Armory (36 S. Common Street) designed by the local firm of Wheeler and Northend in 1893 in a traditional castellated style.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Lynn Common Historic District", [Lynn, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 372-373.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,