Frederick Harris House (1905)

Harris House

The house at 270 Maple Street in Springfield reached its current form in 1905, although parts of it may date back to 1879. It was the home of Springfield banker Frederick Harris (1852-1926), who succeeded his father, Frederick H. Harris, as president of the Third National Bank of Springfield in 1911. He married Emily Osborne, sister of Helen Osborne Storrow, the philanthropist who founded Storrowton Village at the Big E. A school in Springfield is named for Frederick Harris.

George W. Kyburg House (1929)

One of the houses that later became part of the MacDuffie School campus in Springfield was a Tudor Revival home built in 1929 for George W. Kyburg, a wealthy businessman. Located at 6 Ames Hill Drive, the house was designed by Max Westhof, who had moved his practice from New York to Springfield in 1917 and became one of the city’s premiere architects. The Kyburg House, along with the other MacDuffie School buildings, was sold in 2011 when the school relocated to a campus in Granby. While the sale of the old campus, including the Kyburg House, was underway, its buildings were severely damaged by the Springfield Tornado of June 1, 2011. The David Ames, Jr. House, also part of the campus and previously featured on this site, lost its roof and attic story and its front portico was damaged. The sale of the campus proceeded, despite the damage, to a new owner who will continue to use the property as a school, called Commonwealth Academy, a new urban-based private school. Tornado recovery was recently delayed due to an insurance dispute.

Porter Hall, Mount Holyoke College (1897)

A fire destroyed the original seminary building of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley in 1896. One of the first new structures to be built after the fire was Porter Hall, a residence hall completed in 1897. Porter Hall was designed by C. Putnam Karr and was named for Deacon Porter, who was in charge of buildings on the College’s Board of Trustees and was a friend and adviser to the College’s founder Mary Lyon. Read More

Ventfort Hall (1891)

Ventfort Hall

Ventfort Hall, a Gilded Age mansion in Lenox, was built in 1891 by George Morgan and his wife, Sarah, the sister of J. Pierpont Morgan. The house was designed in the Elizabethan Revival style by the Boston architectural firm of Rotch & Tilden. The name of Venfort Hall is from vent fort, or “strong wind.” The house stands on the site once occupied by the Italianate villa owned by the Haggerty family. Annie Haggerty married Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the famous black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, in the Civil War. After the Morgans died, the house passed through various renters and owners, eventually serving as a dormitory for Tanglewood students, a hotel, a summer ballet camp and housing for a religious community. In danger of being demolished, the Ventfort Hall Association (VHA) purchased the house in 1997, restoring it and opening it for tours and exhibits. The mansion appeared as the orphanage in the film The Cider House Rules (1998).