THE J. S. GREEN BUILDING, CHELSEA SQUARE
The James S. Green building, located at Broadway and Second Street, was constructed by a man who looked beyond the critiques and skeptics of his day. At the time the building was erected, Chelsea was still a village with most of the business of the town being done between Winnisimmet Street and the Ferry. James Green had foresight and it was his building that spearheaded the development of Chelsea Square.
James S. Green was born in 1826, in what is today Revere. His ancestors were among the first settlers of the Rumney Marsh region of Chelsea. At a very young age, Mr. Green, following in his father's footsteps, went to sea. After three shipwrecks at sea, James Green changed his mind about being a seaman. In 1849, Mr. Green joined the gold rush to California. He had reasonable success in the gold fields. James Green returned to Chelsea and became proprietor of a livery stable on Williams Street. Being very successful in the livery business, Mr. Green, in 1853, obtained a permit to construct a livery stable in Chelsea Square. The site chosen was considered rather remote for business. Despite criticism and ridicule, James Green, built his stable, the largest for miles around, on the remote corner of Broadway and Second Street.
After many years of success, the stable was remodeled into a large business block in 1869. The building being three stories high, measuring 62 X 120 feet in width and length was the largest building in Chelsea. Stores were created on the ground floor with offices and resident apartments on the two upper floors. Mr. Green occupied one apartment in the front of the building.
A room was acquired and set up in Green's block by the board of trustees of the Library. The room was opened to the public, January 1870, as the first free library in the City of Chelsea. The public library remained at the Green Block until 1874, when it was moved to larger quarters. Several organizations and churches originated or held their first meeting in the hall of the Green building. In 1890, James Green sold the building to George B. Guild.
Two disastrous fires in the 1950's destroyed the building. The first fire eliminated the attic and the third floor. The second fire on December 6, 1957, completed the destruction of the building. The building was beyond repair and had to be torn down.