history and inspiration

Mechanics Hall was originally a schoolhouse, built in 1852 to replace the District Three Schoolhouse located on Beaman Road. The cost of construction was $600 and included the use of timbers from the original schoolhouse. That schoolhouse was built in 1843, and that is the date that appears on the pediment of Mechanics Hall today. When this lettering appeared on the building remains a mystery.

With two classrooms on the first floor and an auditorium on the second, the building served as a school for nearly ninety years. It also served as a meeting hall and community center. Organizations such as the Princeton Farmers Club, which by 1882 had become the Princeton Farmers and Mechanics Association, held meetings and lectures there.

The East Princeton Village Improvement Society was formed in the late nineteenth century by the wives of factory and store owners. The Society held dances and suppers in Mechanics Hall and raised money for village amenities such as sidewalks, gas streetlights and a band stand.

Mechanics Hall was the last of Princeton’s District schoolhouses to close and did so in 1945. It continued to serve as a meeting place, hosting American Legion Post 334 as well as a branch library. The Improvement Society continued to hold events including children’s parties until the 1980s.

In recent years, the Friends of the Princeton Public Library have held book sales in Mechanics Hall. In 2004, the East Princeton Village Historical District (including Mechanics Hall) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Preservation Massachusetts listed Mechanics Hall as one of Massachusetts' Most Endangered Historic Resources for 2012.

Special thanks to those that set the stage . . .