The Old Bank Building
The ‘old bank building’ as it is often described by long-time Lynners, was designed by Boston architect James T. Kelley to house the First National Bank of Lynn and the Lynn Institution for Savings. Constructed in 1891 for $40,000, it was built to restore and rejuvenate the ‘burned district’ that was the result of the Great Fire of 1889. Built in the Classical Style with beautiful Palladian windows, carved wreathes, and rusticated limestone masonry it became a cornerstone of the emerging banking and commercial center of the City. Decades later, time, man and nature had taken its toll on the historic building and it was in desperate need of repair.
In 1995 LynnArts took up residency in the building, along with a barber school, a fashion design company, a law firm, and a youth center. In 1996 LynnArts submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund in order to restore and preserve this very deserving historical building. The process resulted in the creation of the LynnArts Community Art Center, with two galleries, a black box theatre and 13 studio spaces for artists.
The transfer of title from the City to LynnArts happened the following year and the property once again became a cornerstone in the revitalization of Lynn’s Central Square. From those beginnings, and its opening to the public in 1998, LynnArts has grown into an active, community connected organization providing access to the arts in Lynn and the Greater North Shore.