Tuesday, June 28, 2011

H.G. Townend

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

Harry Garthwaite Townend lived a very prosperous life in Fitchburg. He was born in Ohio and his parents emigrated from England. His father was a soldier guard at the bier of Lincoln when his body was laid in state.

Townend moved to Fitchburg in 1884 to be a teller at the Fitchburg National Bank, he was later promoted to cashier in 1888. His obituary mentions that he was given a three months leave of absence in March of 1889 and during this time he went to Colorado. When he returned from Colorado his health was still not good and he resigned from his position at the bank.
Following his initial career at the bank, he worked in the census bureau in Washington, D.C. until the death of W.J. Stearns at the Fitchburg National Bank. After Stearns's death, Townend returned to Fitchburg to resume his prior job as a cashier.
In 1912, he was named president of the bank, succeeding Herbert I. Wallace, brother of Rodney Wallace.

Townend's obituary gives a rather lengthy description of the events that may have caused his death in 1928. 
The obituary mentions that "overwork caused impairment in his health prior to auto accident" which reminds me of the verbiage used in Frederick Francis's obituary.
Fig. 1: "HARRY G. TOWNEND, PROMINENT BANKER, DEAD" headline in the 12/24/1928 Fitchburg Sentinel
According to his obituary, "The inroads on his time and energy during the period of the war greatly affected his health. This became more apparent during the past summer. On Sept. 12, while driving through Rowley, their car, driven by Mrs. Townend, crashed into a tree as the driver attempted to avoid a child who ran into the street. Mr. Townend received injuries which greatly weakened him and resulted in his death."

Townend's obituary also mentions his love for photography and that he had many photographs exhibited in public. In the 1903 edition of "Fireside Legends" in Fitchburg, I think I have found one of Townend's photographs.
Fig. 2: "Fitchburg Savings Bank Block" photograph from the 1903 edition of Fireside Legends. "Townend" is credited as the photographer
This photograph is of the Fitchburg Savings Bank Block on Main Street in Fitchburg. In addition to working for the Fitchburg National Bank, Townend was a trustee at the Savings Bank for eighteen years.

The house that was designed for Townend and his family still stands on Ross Street in Fitchburg. It was built in 1911 and is of the Colonial Revival style.
Fig. 3: H.G. Townend's Ross Street Home (photo courtesy of bostongringo.com)

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