[Click HERE for more 'Before' and 'After' photos!]


Bathroom Renovation Project: When ADA Compliance and Historic Preservation Meet!

In 2022, the Lawrence History Center completed an extensive renovation of the bathrooms in its main building at 6 Essex Street, Lawrence. 

What We Did:

  • ADA Compliance: Converted our existing men's and women's bathrooms (each with 2 stalls) into 2 handicap accessible, single stall bathrooms 

    This aspect of the project involved widening of both entry doorways, the removal of existing stall partitions, the removal of old and installation of new wall mounted sinks, mirrors, single-hand operated paper towel dispensers, toilet paper holders, wall mounted soap dispensers, handrails/grab bars, new toilets, new flooring, lighting fixtures and other cosmetic and functional improvements. 

  • Historic Preservation: Brought the spaces back to their original look by uncovering the field stone and brick walls and restoring the windows 

    This aspect of the project included the removal of framing, drywall, and dated floor-to ceiling avocado tile to expose the natural red brick around windows and lower field stone exterior walls. Paint from brick and stone was removed and surfaces re-pointed by a professional mason. Windows were restored and painted and a film was applied to let in natural light, but ensure privacy. 

  • Safety: Brought current plumbing, electrical, and fire detection service up to code 

    This aspect of the project involved rerouting plumbing vent pipes and replacing PVC with cast iron, moving and properly venting an adjacent water heater, installing fire detection strobes in each bathroom and rerouting wiring leading to an exterior building, moving outlets and light switches, and installing new wall mounted heaters.

The improvements outlined above have made the main building completely ADA compliant and allow us to fully serve those with mobility challenges. The project builds on prior investments by funders who supported the installation of a new elevator (state certified in January 2021 ). Because of this support, we are able to provide access to all levels of our archive—the first and second floors, as well as the basement level where the rest rooms are located. 

[Click HERE for more 'Before' and 'After' photos!]


This project was made possible in part by funding support from the Margaret M. Collins Charitable Trust, the city of Lawrence CDBG program*, Lawrence Cultural Council, the William M. Wood Foundation, and unrestricted LHC funds. Special thanks to the incredibly talented contractors who made the project come to fruition:

  • Buddy Latham, Sylvan Property Management
  • Ian Demers, ICD Plumbing Heating & Gas Fitting
  • Jorge Fraga, JF Tile & Remodeling
  • Brian Freeman (mason)
  • David Electrical Contracting LLC
  • DDA Systems (fire detection)

* CDBG funds supported only the ADA aspects of the larger renovation project.