Sawyer spacious and beautiful then and now. “What is the future we want?”
from the tourist guide description 1885
“SAWYER FREE LIBRARY
At the corner of Dale avenue and Middle street, a few yards from the City Hall, is the spacious and beautiful “Sawyer Free Library” building. These attractive grounds were purchased by Samuel E. Sawyer, Esq., for the purpose of establishing a permanent home for the library, in February of last year. of Mr. William A. Pew, for the sum of $20,000. The grounds of this noble mansion are extensive and well laid out, and Mr. Sawyer has spent large sums of money in fitting up the place for the purposes of what it is now used. The large rooms and stately halls are carpeted and elegantly furnished.
The walls are adorned with over one hundred and fifty rare and valuable paintings and pictures, collected during Mr. Sawyer’s visits to foreign cities and in this country.
The generous donor has done everything that could be done to make the home of the library that bears his name convenient and beautiful. When the library was dedicated in July, 1884, a large assembly of our best citizens were present, together with several persons from abroad. Mr. Sawyer then presented to the trustees the deed of the entire property, comprising nearly 30,000 square feet of land, and thereby made it a perpetual gift to the citizens of Gloucester. The building was erected in 1764, and is consequently over 120 years old, though during that time it has been somewhat altered and improved by several owners. Mr. Pew built the fine tower upon it and the verandas around the first story, and also the “porte cochere.” He laid out the grounds with considerable taste, and protected them with the fine walls of dressed granite and iron gateways. Mr. Sawyer’s improvements have embellished this valuable estate in many respects, and to-day it is one of the finest sites within our city. The rooms are open daily, afternoon and evening (except Tuesdays), from 2-5 and 7-9- Thursdays, in evening only.
The library owns about 65,000 volumes.”
-from In and Around Cape Ann: A Handbook of Gloucester, Mass., and Its Immediate Vicinity. For the Wheelman Tourist and the Summer Visitor by John S. Webber, Jr with eleven illustrations. Gloucester, Mass: Printed at the Cape Ann Advertiser Office, 1885. in the collection of the Library of Congress
“Brook Bank” Sawyer’s summer home and Sawyer’s Hill (heading to Magnolia)