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Acquiring The Essex Company

The South Lawrence Library Branch was seeking, even as Immigrant City Archives moved in, to increase its own collections and its hours, so Eartha began almost immediately after moving in to search for permanent space. Very soon she found the perfect spot: the former headquarters of the Essex Company, which built Lawrence. The current owner was sympathetic, but was trying to sell the complex for one million dollars, which the young organization could not possibly afford. Inside the headquarters were most of the records, tools and equipment of the Company. The owner was enthusiastic about donating these to Immigrant City Archives and agreed to continue to house them until he sold the property. He eventually sold the headquarters to Wilfred Cyr. Always on the alert, Eartha approached Cyr and asked if he would continue to house the records, and he agreed. But as Cyr sought to find an appropriate venture for the property, Eartha made clear to him what her hopes were. After several years Cyr sold the Essex Co. headquarters to Immigrant City Archives for $175,000, less than a third of what he paid for it. Moreover, he personally granted a $125,000 mortgage.

Audio [7]:
It was a nice feeling to be in a building that meant so much to Lawrence history and has the content – has the documentation for all this because the documents reach back before 1845. And we have all the lamp shades and even a hutch and benches.