Thursday Doors – Wendy’s Doors

Thayer Library
Thayer Library

In the comments of the post where I featured the doors of the Captain Benjamin Allyn house, Wendy mentioned that her great-great-great…great grandfather lived in Braintree, Massachusetts back in the 1600s. I told her that, if I ever had the chance, I’d try to snag some photos for her. Earlier this week, while on my way to a meeting in Burlington, MA, and I decided to take a detour through Braintree. I didn’t have much time, but I hoped to be able to find a few doors.

Braintree is a Boston suburb with about 36,000 residents. The town was first settled in 1625. According to its Wikipedia page:

Braintree was the birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as statesman John Hancock. General Sylvanus Thayer, the “Father of West Point” was also born in Braintree, in the section of town now known as Braintree Highlands. General Thayer was an early superintendent of the United States Military Academy and established America’s first engineering school there during his administration.

That last bit about General Thayer figures prominently in my photos. When I entered “Braintree” in the search field, Greta (my GPS) offered to take me to Town Hall. In New England, the town hall is either in the center of a bunch of historic public buildings, or on the other side of the tracks from a now-bustling city. When Greta took me off the main road onto a narrow residential street, I wasn’t optimistic. Fortunately, I noticed that the next turn was onto “JFK Memorial Drive” and I knew we were onto something good. The folks in Mass don’t waste the “JFK” moniker on just anything.

Thayer Library
This is what I saw as I stepped out of my car. Well done Greta!

Greta’s last “Turn right” deposited me directly in front of a free parking space. Finding a free parking space in Greater Boston is like finding a lump of gold in a cornfield. It just doesn’t happen. Not only that, but the parking space was in front of a magnificent little Renaissance Revival building that is presently being restored.

You know me, I love restoration projects. The building, is the original Thayer Library, constructed in 1874. It served as the Town’s library for 75 years before being closed in 1953. After serving as the Water and Sewer Department until 2005, the building was left empty and in need of repair. So far, it appears that they have replaced the roof and the windows. Luckily for me, the building sits in the center of the Local Historic District, which was established in 1980.

Next to the old library is Braintree Town Hall. Across the street is the new library. The Town Hall has also been restored. The Library appears to be a modern building but it was built in a style that compliments the other buildings.

Next to the library is the Thayer Birthplace. This house was built in 1720 in a different area of Braintree but was moved to this location in 1958. The Birthplace was accepted for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Further to the east, the Braintree Historical society maintains the French House and kitty-corner across the street (bringing me almost full circle) is Thayer Academy. These last two stops will be featured in a second post.

For today, please enjoy photos of the Original Thayer Library, the Thayer Birthplace, Braintree Town Hall and Library.

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s series Thursday Doors which is inspiring a growing number of people to share photos, stories and renderings of doors from all over the planet. Click on over to Norm’s page where you can see his doors and a Linky button which will bring you to all the doors and let you enter your own door.

Note to Wendy, and any other Braintree enthusiasts: Some of these links may be of interest:

The Historical Society Preservation page.

The Town of Braintree.

Braintree Wikipedia page.

Elm Street (historic) Cemetery Graves.

In addition, I will be uploading the full-size images to my Flickr site this weekend. If you would like any, you can download them from there.

68 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Wendy’s Doors

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    1. Thanks. I think you’re right that this was meant to be. My GPS almost never picks a good place for me to land. This was perfect. Unfortunately, my wife, and the neighbors, and the town won’t let me have a canon.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. I think Wendy will be happy, and I only spent about 20 minutes in Braintree. There are so many Town Greens in New England that offer up this kind of history. I kept reading about General Thayer, long after I had more than enough to include here. There’s just so much history.


  1. This was a great place to walk around and with a tight schedule and “Greta’s” help this may be my favorite post for Doors, Dan!
    Wow, Thayer Library Doors have gorgeous pediments and the beautiful brick red building sets them off. I didn’t realize Braintree had such a historical past with presidents and spokesmen, too. Funny, over Memorial Day weekend, I have a local president to feature starting with Thursday’s Doors next week! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. I was surprised when I found so much in a tight little group. There are more places in this area that I would like to visit. New England states offer so much history, as do the eastern seaboard states. It’s where it all started, and much of it has been preserved. We are fortunate in that regard.


  2. Nice one Dan. You are so fortunate to live in a historical area with so many cool buildings and doors. I have two thoughts about your post: 1) Let’s hope the building restoration doesn’t include siding. 2) You need the cannon at work, for the naughty ice cube people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mary, That made me smile. I don’t think they will be putting vinyl over that library. As for the canon. I could actually hit the fridge from the door of my office. That might not be a bad idea. I wonder if I could sneak that into my budget?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A cannon? Really? Ah, men and their ordnance…
    So the doors, and the buildings are gorgeous, with all the brick and stone details! I’m glad Wendy mentioned her ancestors so we could see these photos! Well done! :)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We just need it to protect our loved ones. I too am glad that Wendy gave me an excuse to drop into this little corner of New England a walk around. It was a very nice way to spend my lunch time. I like the brick and stone details, but my favorite is the carriage house doors (behind the canon).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another nice set of doors, Dan. As a history buff, I’m a sucker for a good cannon shot. *rimshot* ;) The Thayer Library has a great old look, of course – not so much the door proper, but the cement columned framing, and the alternating stone-lengths on the corners of the building itself. The Town Hall reminds me of how many of the buildings look at the University of Maryland (my alma mater), but then, that’s a fairly common style, it seems. If you’re ever there, perhaps you could snap a few doors.

    And if you’re ever in Philadelphia, maybe you can snap some doors there as well. My father’s family settled in Philadelphia generations ago, sometime after my great-great-etc-grandfather came over from Ireland in the 1860s. There’s a city rich in history — and doors. You could fill several months’ worth of posts right there, I would think!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was in Philadelphia several times Paul and I have photos, but not so much door photos. I guess it was before I was addicted to doors. You’re right though, that city is swimming in history, not to mention cheese steaks.

      Your alma mater ran a cyber security class for our industry, but I sent the Director who works for me. He’s also an alum, so it was a good fit. Next time, I’ll send him with a punch list of photo assignments.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha, what a nice post, Dan, thank you so much!

    So this is some of what Braintree has to offer. I really like that you included the “Welcome to Braintree” sign (not sure what the proper term for those cloth ones is). Those tall wooden library doors are magnificent. But I’m especially fond of the Thayer Birthplace house because that’s EXACTLY the type of building that I’ve been imagining in Braintree all these years. It’s the very definition of the term “quaint”. How exciting to think that Richard and his wife Sarah might have walked through the areas you captured in your photos. And I have to admit, the cannon is pretty cool! I honestly wouldn’t be opposed to having one of those in my yard either.

    Thanks again for taking this little side trip. Can’t wait to visit Braintree myself some day. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad that you like them, I was happy to have an excuse to visit, Wendy. It was a lot of fun and I was very lucky that the Historical Society maintains two properties in the same area. I may just put Part-II out here next week, so I don’t keep you waiting.

      You could probably find places like this in every town in Greater Boston, but I enjoyed having a personal connection here.

      I was already a little afraid of ever getting on your bad side, with the whole chainsaw thing you have going. If you get a canon, I might have to start drinking Coke :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not just Coke but FLAT Coke. Lol!

        I look forward to reading Part II, Dan. Oh, and thanks for including those links at the end. I found a public records request form on the town’s site, and I think it might be worth trying to get myself some tangible documentation!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. These doors (and windows) are beautiful, Dan. Now, regarding a cannon in your front yard….the high-fallutin’ attorney who live across the street from me (I had posted my ‘cropped’ photo of the Mayor attending one of his high-fallutin’ parties awhile back) has not one but two cannons in his front yard. I don’t care if they are behind some fancy scrollwork, need-a-passkey-to-get-in front yard, nothing says, “Welcome, neighbor!” like two cannons pointing directly at you…. So, yeah, let me know when you come to Florida…. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ! Thanks Lois. I don’t think I’m moving south anytime soon, but I’ll keep a look out for canons pointing my way. I guess a canon in your yard in the 1600s was different than having one in 2016. I’m guessing General Thayer knew how to load that puppy. From what I read about that party, I’m guessing the attorney and the mayor, might have hurt themselves.


  7. Great pics! Love colonial cities and towns but when growing up in Hawaii and being taught American History there’s a bit of a disconnect when you can’t see the East Coast and colonial states. Once I visited that side of the country all the memories of history lessons came to life.
    You are lucky to have Greta; when my GPS talks to me it usually says, “recalculating”. Speaking of GPS, when we were in Germany we borrowed a car and the family’s old GPS and found the Germans always make their equipment to be very precise; their GPS gave driving instructions that usually said, “turn right, Now!” in a very stern voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’ve traveled up and down the east coast. I think I’ve spent some time in each of the original colonies. They all have a lot of history on display.

      Other than Canada and Mexico, I haven’t driven in other countries. I don’t think that would end well. Great has one voice that is a little annoying, especially when you miss a turn.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. Braintree sounds like a suburb filled with intellectuals and scholars, huh? I loved the windows on that building. Plus I loved the library picture as well. Did you also click the interior pictures of the library? I love to visit libraries, so many books around feels like heaven. Although, I fell in love with books a bit late, but I’m still in love with books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharukh. I didn’t have time to go inside the library. I love books too. Plus, I would have started looking for “History of Braintree” books and I would have never made it to my meeting. General Thayer certainly was a brainy fellow. I’m going to reveal a bit more of his history next week. Stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I understand. I do the same. If I’m passing through a book stall, I would certainly take a good look at it. In my college, the most popular place to hangout was the canteen. If you want to find anybody who can’t be found anywhere, go to the canteen. However, if you want to find me, you either check the classroom, the library or the Art Gallery right opposite to my college building. Probably, that gave everybody a feeling that I was an intellectual, but the true reason I never go to the canteen is because of the noise. Too many people talking at the same time. I will stay tune for your next post.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Back in the early 80s, I was on the road / in the air 60-80% of the time. These days, it rarely gets worse than once a month. I almost don’t count Boston as “travel” because I’m driving. I’m in a hotel, but I have a car and I can get home in under two hours. I used to always do up and back same day. but I’m too old for that kind of driving, especially on back-to-back days and when there might be adult-beverages served at the event.

      I have been to Boston so many times, I should have a million pictures, but usually, it’s drive to the hotel, park, stay, drive home. I should take more time to explore towns like this one.


  9. What a lovely little place this US version of Braintree is. I like it! Today I’ve been to Aylsham to take some photo’s for “Bee’s Travel Thursday” but I also got some good shots of the churches doors and am considering to take part in “Thursday Doors” in July :-). That’ll be interesting :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What beautiful buildings! I love the stone detailing on the corners of the old library. I wonder if that’s the same Thayer family that Thayer David was descended from. His birth name was David Thayer, but The Family objected to an actor in the family, so he “changed his name.” Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. With a name like Braintree, I just knew this little town was going to be interesting :)

    I too love the Thayer library … the entrance, the windows, but also the brick detailing on the corners. Love that!!

    btw – my car’s name is Greta and your GPS sounds a LOT nicer than mine. I call her The Bitch … that should give you a clue about our relationship :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha – I think that’s what my wife thinks about my Greta.

      I love those details on the corners as well. If you look closely, you can see that they mimicked that in the brickwork on the new library across the street.

      Thanks for the comment.


  12. Any post with a cannon in it is a good post in my book. I’ve been to Boston a number of times but never Braintree. I’ll have to check it out – that library building is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. I agree, if you have a canon in your yard, I’m taking a picture of your house. I’m pretty sure you could find similar buildings in almost every Boston suburb. but this is a nice one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Living next door to that library or any would be wonderful wouldn’t it.

        BTW- I like that you named your GPS unit. I call mine Stuck up Stephanie. I’ve forgotten what name she’s supposed to be, but that what she sounds like to me. :)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha! I once had to call Garmin for tech support. The tech started off by asking “what’s your GPS name?” I told him “Greta” and for the rest of the call, he referred to her as Greta.

          Liked by 1 person

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