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Association Hall Guest Blog Part 3!

Guest Blogpost 3


This is the third in a series of guest posts by Pinkerton Academy’s historian Mark Mastromarino on the history of Association Hall, the 1875 building at 1 Pinkerton Street in which the shop is located.


LM: I assume that the Robert Frost connection is why the building is listed on the state’s register of historic properties?


MM: Actually, the state did not accept that reason as significant enough, but accepted our nomination primarily for the building’s manifestation of the pattern of post-Revolutionary villagedevelopment and as a symbol of the response of a local elite to counter disruptive centrifugal forces. That response was associationism, the impulse to voluntarily join with others to achieve various civic, social, cultural, or moral reform goals outside of the political system.


LM: It must have helped to have the building named after it.


MM: Yes, that couldn’t have hurt our chances. In this case, as we have seen, Association Hall’s builders voluntarily associated with one another in financial self-interest as well as social camaraderie and psychic bonding in order to profit by providing in one building a money-making commercial space, a community-building assembly room, and a fraternal meeting hall for male bonding over convivial social events and secret Masonic rituals. The state also agreed with our assessment that Association Hall embodies the distinctive characteristics of the Second Empire architectural style as successfully interpreted by a talented New England architect, about whom we so far know little, working in the area’s traditional building materials. Washington Gregg’s sense of proportion and knowledge of the style’s vocabulary; the preservation of the original structure; and the sensitive treatment of later additions; along with the absence of similarly styled public buildings in Derry, make Association Hall the best example of vernacular nonresidential Second Empire structures in the area.


LM (laughing): You sound like a professor.


MM: Sorry. It’s true I sometimes get carried away and overly esoteric.


LM: Thanks for sharing the old photographs of the building.


MM: I’ve included another couple in this post.


LM: Thanks. It’s sad that all the trees are gone from the front.


MM: Yes, and the site and building itself has changed in other ways. Originally, there were no porches, front or back, and the front entrance had six stairs running across the entire facade. But the greatest loss to the treescape was the magnificent horse chestnut tree that was right off the northwester corner of the building. A legend grew up about this tree that I’ll be happy to share another time.


For more, see Mark’s article “Association Hall’s New Lease on Life” on pp. 6–7 in Pinkerton Academy’s Spring 2019 Alumnusmagazine at


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