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Wellesley Town Hall and Library

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1881 library, 1883 town hall addition, Shaw and Hunnewell. 525 Washington St.
  • Wellesley Town Hall and Library (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Wellesley Town Hall and Library (Richard W. Longstreth)

The most picturesque of the town halls and libraries in Greater Boston, the Wellesley Town Hall complex, built of random ashlar pink granite and brownstone trim, was the gift of Horatio Hollis Hunnewell. The Wellesley Library was constructed in 1881, the year that Wellesley was incorporated. It was built on part of Etherton Cottage land, the country estate of Dr. William Morton, who in 1846 pioneered the use of ether during surgery. The town hall addition to the west was completed two years later. Shaw and Hunnewell (son-in-law and son of the donor) designed this polychromatic composition in rugged stone, using chateaux-inspired towers and stepped gables to create an animated skyline. Set on a hilltop and surrounded by generous grounds with specimen plantings and a duck pond, the entire building was converted to town offices in 1959, when the library moved to a new building. In 2003, the library relocated to a new structure (Best and Joslin, 530 Washington Street), a two-story brick and limestone building with hipped slate roof, directly across from the town offices.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Wellesley Town Hall and Library", [Wellesley, 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, 515-515.

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