Essential Architecture- New England

Oakes Ames Memorial Hall


Henry Hobson Richardson


North Easton, MA




Richardsonian Romanesque





Oakes Ames Memorial Hall is a municipal building designed by noted American architect H. H. Richardson, with landscaping by Frederick Law Olmsted. It is located at 1 Barrows Street, North Easton, Massachusetts, immediately adjacent to another Richardson building, Ames Free Library.

The hall was built 1879-1881 as a gift to the town from children of disgraced Congressman Oakes Ames. It was originally intended for use as a Town Hall but in practice has mainly served as a meeting space for private groups.

The structure's main facade, altogether 96 feet long by 51 feet deep, presents an arcade of five massive arches with a row of windows set above and an octagonal tower at its right corner. Its first floor is constructed of native, pinkish-gray North Easton granite with Longmeadown brownstone trim. The second floor is brick, with a north-facing dormer half finished in timber and stucco. The steeply peaked roof above is finished in red tile. The front's third-floor, dormer window is wreathed with sculpted foliage, and displays the initials O. A. and twelve signs of the zodiac.

The main hall inside is on the second floor, and 59 feet long by 47 feet wide with a 20 foot height. It contains a stage (26 by 18 feet). This arrangement proved impractical due to inadequate stairway access to the hall. The first floor contains a small meeting room and service rooms; the attic contains a Masonic hall.

Oakes Ames: A Memoir with an Account of the Dedication of Oakes Ames Memorial Hall at North Easton, Massachusetts, November 17, 1881, printed at the Riverside Press, 1883, pages 55-57.
Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, H. H. Richardson: Complete Architectural Works, MIT Press, 1985, pages 33-34. ISBN 0262650150.
Easton Historic Society (with photos)