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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Huebener Brick no. 45 Lyceum Hall, Meeting House Hill
Huebener Brick no. 45 Lyceum Hall
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 Built in 1839 and dedicated in 1840, Lyceum Hall on Meeting House Hill served as a public gathering place for many Dorchester activities during its life.

The Edward A. Huebener collection of over 100 bricks originally collected by Mr. Huebener exhibits brick paintings of the houses from which the bricks came. The bricks have upon them painted scenes of (mostly) old Dorchester houses and landmarks. To see a list of all the bricks, choose the term Architecture in the list at the left of the screen and choose the first subsection -- the Edward A. Huebener Brick Collection and scroll to the bottom of that page to see icons for all the bricks.

Map Detail 1899 Lyceum Hall
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 The detail from the 1899 Richards atlas shows Lyceum Hall located across Parish Street from the First Church at the crest of Meeting House Hill.

Lyceum as Public Gathering Place
First Parish Church and Lyceum Hall
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 Discussions of the abolition of slavery, recruitment for the civil War, discussion of the annexation of Dorchester to Boston, and lectures by traveling speakers from all over the country on the Lyceum circuit took place here.

Demolished in 1955
Lyceum Hall
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 In the 20th century the building was used by the School Department, but its condition deteriorated so that in 1955 it was demolished.

The Boston Globe carried an article on February 25, 1955 titled:

Dorchester Lyceum Hall, 115 Years Old, Razed by William R. Cash

Lyceum Hall on Meeting House Hill in Dorchester, whose foundations once shook with Presidential cheers and the war cry of Civil War volunteers, now belongs to the ages.

The impressive building with its columned facade, a familiar landmark in Dorchester, which also played a part in the education of hundreds of school children, has been razed.

It had been condemned by the Boston School Committee after serving for many years as an annex to the nearby Mather School and as a shop training center for exceptional boys.

Lyceum Hall came into existence in 1839, when several other buildings were built throughout the city to facilitate an election movement.

Building Committee

A building committee was named and it included Col. Walter Baker, founder [sic] of the chocolate manufacturing company; Samuel P. Loud, treasurer, and John H. Robinson, collector of rental fees, all of whom presided at dedication ceremonies Feb. 27, 1840.

The dedicatory orator was Horace Mann, secretary of the State Board of Education. Mann became the speaker when Gov. Edward Everett became ill prior to the ceremonies.

Since its dedication, Lyceum Hall has been used as a place for public meetings to discuss the abolition of slavery and the annexation to the City of Boston; also a gathering spot for the Dorchester Whig Party; and a lecturer hall for traveling speakers from across the nation and abroad.

The hall also catered to the religious and once was used by members of the Episcopalian and Roman Catholic faiths.

During the Civil War era it was both a rallying point and discharge center for volunteers.

President Welcomed

In 1851, during a railroad jubilee and before the railroad extended into Boston, President Millard Fillmore detrained at the Harrison Square, Dorchester, yards and was escorted by a daisy-chain group of school children to Lyceum Hall, where the mounted Boston Lancers took over and escorted the President into Boston.

The Boston School committee in the postwar years of World War II took over the rapidly deteriorating hall for school purposes.

They added four rooms to the rear and constructed a half-ceiling over half of the hall, giving in effect a second story.

Until its condemnation several years ago, the converted hall housed woodworking and sheet metal shops on the first floor and an electrical shop and two small rooms on the second floor.

Today a wrecking crew has knocked down the last pillar and board, thus demolishing a 115-year-old Boston landmark.

Related Images: showing 8 of 45 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 45 images.
Huebener Brick No. 39 Tiger Engine CompanyHuebener Brick no. 45 Lyceum HallHuebener Brick no. 60 Old Brick SchoolhouseMather School
Mather SchoolFire Station on Meeting House Hill Meeting House Hill5 Adams Street
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Created: June 29, 2008   Modified: April 15, 2011