James S. Dodge Store/Turnpike Building
Backstory and Context
271 Broadway was built in 1879 for James S. Dodge by local builder M. G. Copp. Earlier buildings on this site, including the so-called Hoyte House, were torn down and parts removed at this time. James S. Dodge and Son, Grocers, were located at 271 Broadway until 1901, when the building was purchased by Edward F. Searles. In 1904, Searles moved the J. G. Frederick house from the south side of Park Street and added it to the Dodge building, known for a time as the Turnpike Hotel. Subsequent occupants included the Methuen National Bank and the Methuen Hotel and Tavern. The building originally housed an Odd Fellows Hall, which, according to the newspaper, was frescoed by the firm of Austin and Blake of Haverhill and decorated in a very fine manner. This room was in use until the Odd Fellows built their own building at 5-7 Hampshire Street in 1899.
James S. Dodge was born in 1826 in New Boston, N. H. He and his family lived for a time in Andover and came to Methuen in the 1860s. In 1866 he purchased Samuel Webster's grocery business, then lodged in the Methuen Company Store building at 42-46 Hampshire Street. Dodge's business prospered and in 1879 he erected the store at 271 Broadway, where he and his son, Selwin, catered to a large trade. In 1891 they installed electric lighting and in 1893 they employed 7 clerks and kept 4 teams. An advertisement in the 1896 directory declared them to be dealers in fine groceries, teas, coffees, spices, hardware, cutlery, farming and garden tools, seeds, lawn mowers, King Arthur flour, a variety of choice dairy products, and Moxie Nerve Food. James was a prominent member of the community, as was his son Selwin, who served as a member of the Board of Selectmen and a member and officer of the Republican Town Committee. James died August 3, 1906.