Category Archives: Renaissance Revival

D. W. Gillett Block (1899)

Gillett Block

After the Masonic Block on Elm Street in Westfield burned down in 1896, Ralph D. Gillett constructed a new building (100 Elm Street) on the site in 1898-1899. It is a three-story granite and buff brick corner building with terra cotta and metal trim. Gillett was president of the Hampton Railroad, whose offices were in the building, along with McClure Laboratories (which tested food for impurities, gaining Westfield the title of “The Pure Food Town“) and The Great River Water and Power Company. Today the Gillett Block is owned by the City of Westfield and is used by the Westfield Gas and Electric Company.

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Old Town Office Building, Stockbridge (1884)

Town Offices

As related in my previous post, the Town of Stockbridge constructed a new town hall/office building in 1884 at 34 Main Street, but continued to own its previous Town Hall building of 1839, which it returned to and enlarged in 1903. The 1884 building, which displays the words “Town Offices” with the date 1884 A.D., was constructed in the Flemish Revival style. Designed to be fireproof, it contained offices for the Selectmen, Assessor and Town Clerk on the first floor and storage space on the second floor. The basement had two jail cells. The town sold the building in the 1960s and it has since been used as commercial space.

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Clinton Town Hall (1909)


The Town Hall of Clinton was built in 1909. Designed by Peabody and Stearns, it replaced the previous Town Hall built in 1871-1872 that was destroyed by fire in 1907. Brick for the building was provided by Fiske & Co. and terra cotta ornamentation by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company. The building is at 242 Church Street.

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Mechanics Hall (1857)

Mechanics Hall

One of Worcester’s most iconic buildings is Mechanics Hall. It was built in 1857 to house educational and cultural activities by the Worcester County Mechanics Association. This organization was formed in 1842 to promote the mechanical arts and to provide education and training for industrial workers. Mechanics Hall featured meeting rooms, a library, and two halls. The building was designed by Elbridge Boyden, a Worcester architect. By the mid-twentieth century, other organizations had taken up the role once played by the Mechanics Association and other auditoriums had found favor with the public. To raise revenue, Mechanics Hall was rented out for sporting events and for a time was even a roller skating rink. The old building was no longer the cultural center it had once been and was in danger of demolition. Citizens rallied to save Mechanics Hall, which was restored and reopened in 1977. Today, the Mechanics Association‘s primary mission is to maintain Mechanics Hall, which is considered to be the finest pre-Civil War concert hall in the country and one of the four finest in North America. The Main Hall features the 1864 Hook Organ (aka the Worcester Organ). Built by E. & G.G. Hook, it is the oldest unaltered four-keyboard organ in the Western Hemisphere.

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Berkshire Life Insurance Company (1868)

Berkshire Life Building

The corner of North and West Streets in Pittsfield was the site of the Berkshire Hotel from the 1820s to 1866. In 1868, the headquarters of the Berkshire Life Insurance Company was built here (current address: 5-7 North Street). The building as it exists today was constructed in three stages. The first section, designed by Louis Weissbein of Boston, had a basement level below three floors and a Mansard roof with gable windows. In 1911, the Mansard roof was removed and two additional stories were added by Joseph McArthur Vance of Pittsfield. In 1927, the building was extended to the west with a new addition by Henry Seaver of Pittsfield. Berkshire Life, founded in 1851, left the building to move to a new headquarters in 1959. In 2001, Berkshire Life merged with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
Here are links to some historic images of this building:

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Burnside Building (1880)

At 339 Main Street in downtown Worcester is the Burnside Building, built in 1880. The structure is a five-story brick commercial building designed by the architects Bradlee, Winslow and Wetherell of Boston and built by the Norcoss Brothers in an eclectic Romanesque style with sandstone trim. The building replaced an earlier commercial block on the site and was erected by the heirs of lawyer Samuel Burnside. His daughter Harriet Burnside also left money for the construction of Burnside Fountain in Worcester.

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Phoenix Building, Holyoke (1910)

The large commercial building at 592-604 Dwight Street and 221-233 Maple Street in Holyoke was built in 1910 for the Phoenix Realty Company. Designed by Lucius L. Bridge, the Phoenix Building was constructed of steel and reinforced concrete to make the structure fireproof.

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Posted in Commercial, Holyoke, Renaissance Revival | 1 Comment