Everett Armory: Home to Company B, 8th Regiment Infantry
The following is a weekly feature in the Independent based on the City’s 2018 Historic Property Survey done to note the many little-known historically significant properties within the city.)
The former Everett armory is an imposing brick building designed in the English Revival style and displaying medieval-inspired detailing including crenellation (wrapped in copper), round corner towers, and narrow window openings to evoke the sense of a building that could defend itself from attack. Mixed with these features are Colonial Revival details including a bold metal entablature supported by large console brackets. Originally a low metal arch spanned from one console to the other. The center bay containing the entrance has a battered wall with brick quoining and is capped by a crenellated parapet. All of the original windows were replaced c.1970 including those over the renovated entrance which contains glass and aluminum doors. To the left of the entrance is a stone with raised letters reading “1902”.
Extending behind the main administrative block is a single-story brick drill hall capped by an asphalt-shingled gable roof. Projecting brick piers with granite capstones order the side elevations into nine equal bays. None of the fenestration is original.
In front of the building there is a small area of lawn and plantings, outlined by an iron fence on granite curbing. Rising from the lawn to the west of the entrance is a World War I Memorial consisting of a rock-faced granite tablet on a granite base with a bronze plaque topped by an eagle and including the names of 42 Everett men who made the supreme sacrifice in the war. The memorial was dedicated in October 1921 and originally stood at Parlin Memorial Library Park. On the opposite side of the entrance is another stone memorial dedicated to those who served in World War II and the Korean War. This rock-faced granite tablet also has a bronze plaque topped by an eagle and reads “Dedicated to God, and Erected in Memory of Those Men and Women Who Served in the United States Armed Forces During World War II and Korean War 1962.”
Inside the lobby of the building there are two additional bronze plaques mounted on the wall. One tablet, installed in 1921, commemorates the erection of the building in 1902 by the City of Everett for Company B, 8th Mass. Infantry. The other lists those from St. Joseph’s Parish who served in World War II. Below the plaque is a wooden pew from St. Joseph’s Church (not extant). The church stood on Bucknam Street and was demolished in 2004.
In 1900 Everett organized its first militia company and the armory was built, as required by law, to provide a location for military training of the local volunteer militia. The land for the armory was acquired from Arthur Whittier in June 1902. Construction of the armory required the removal of the house which had been built on the site by Samuel Drown in 1836. On November 1, 1902 the cornerstone was laid in a ceremony performed by Charles T. Gallagher, Grand Master of Massachusetts Free Masons and assisted by Mayor Charles Bruce. The contents of the cornerstone were described in the Boston Globe on November 2, 1902. The architects of the building were McFarland, Colby & McFarland. The builder was Charles King.
This was the home of Company B, 8th Regiment Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. In its early years the company provided assistance after the Chelsea Fire of 1908 and during the Lawrence Mills labor strike of 1912. The Armory building was taken over by the State in 1910 and was completely renovated for use by the company. New weathered oak floors were installed in the company and officers’ rooms on the ground floor and a maple floor was laid in the drill hall. The basement which had initially extended only under the front portion of the building was extended the length of the building and a rifle range and two bowling alleys were installed in the new basement.
The building was used for military activities through the Vietnam War era but was also the site for various community functions including banquets, exhibitions and social events including military balls. The City of Everett received the building from the National Guard in the 1970s and it received additional renovations in 1989. In October 2006 the building was renamed the Edward G. Connolly Center in honor of longtime state representative and former mayor, Edward G. Connolly (1928-2006). The armory was designed by the Boston architectural firm of McFarland, Colby & McFarland which consisted of C. (Clarence) Thayer McFarland (1866-1923), his brother Robert Dunlap McFarland (1869-1929) and Herbert Warren Colby (1866-1934). The earliest known commission by the McFarland Brothers was Glendale Baptist Church at 701 Broadway in Everett in 1894. McFarland & Colby, later designed the Adams Armory in 1914. McFarland & Colby also designed alterations to the Grace Episcopal Church in Everett in 1914. Late in his career, C.T. McFarland worked with A.W. Laurie in a partnership (McFarland & Laurie) that designed buildings in Brookline, Worcester and Malden. The Everett Armory is eligible for listing in the National Register on the local level under Criterion A, Military/Social History, and Criterion C, Architecture. Under Criterion A, is it significant for its associations with Everett’s long history of military service. Constructed in 1902, this was the home of Company B, 8th Regiment Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. The Armory building was taken over by the State in 1910 and was completely renovated for use by the company. The building was used for military activities through the Vietnam War era but was also the site for various community functions including banquets, exhibitions and social events including military balls. Under Criterion C, the building is a good example of a pre-World War I armory and reflects the eclectic architectural modes of the early 20th century, combining medieval inspired English Revival and Colonial Revival details. It is notable as the work of Boston architects McFarland, Colby & McFarland. Despite alterations for use as a community center, the building appears to retain sufficient integrity for listing on the National Register. The period of significance spans from 1902 to 1968, based on National Register guidelines for a 50-year cut-off for historic significance