Category Archives: Vernacular

Harvard Shaker South Family Dwelling House (1846)

Harvard Shaker South Family Dwelling House

Harvard Shaker Village was divided into separate complexes known as the Church, North, South, and East Families. Among the buildings that survive from the South Family is the large Dwelling House (or Dormitory), constructed in 1846/1848 (its current address is 101 South Shaker Road). It is joined at the rear to the laundry, or washhouse, built in 1823 (or perhaps as early as 1800). With their numbers dwindling in later years, the Shakers sold the building in 1899 and the remaining members of the South Family moved to join the Church family. The Dwelling House was later used as a chicken coop and in the 1940s as a fresh-air camp for city children. In 2003, it was converted into living space. The Dwelling House has a bell tower containing its original bell. The building also retains 65 original windows. (more…)

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Harvard Shaker Tailor Shop (1800)

Tailor Shop 1800

The building at 88 Shaker Road in Harvard was built c. 1800 by the Center Church Family of the Harvard Shakers as a workshop. The building was originally on the site of the New Office, built in 1840. Sometime before then it was moved to its current location and it then became the Tailor Shop, where clothing was made for the Shaker Brethren and Sisters. It is now a residence. The current owners built a rear addition in 2001.

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Harvard Shaker Second House (1795)

Shaker Second House

The second house or dormitory to be built by the Shakers of Harvard was constructed in 1795. The Harvard Shakers divided their community into separate complexes: the Church, North, South, and East Families. Located at 79 Shaker Road, the Second House is the only surviving Church Family dwelling house. About 1860/1870, it was enlarged from a gambrel to a gable roof structure. The Shaker Second House was later owned by Dr. Benjamin Woodbury, who divided it into rental apartments during the Second World War. The house remains a private residence today.

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Ministry Shop, Hancock Shaker Village (1873)

Ministry Shop

Shaker communities were guided by two Elders and two Eldresses who together were known as the Ministry. Hancock Shaker Village was overseen by a Ministry that also had responsibility for the Shaker communities in Tyringham, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut. Like the Shaker brethren and sisters, the Elders and Eldresses were also required to perform hand-labor. The Ministry had an early workshop at Hancock Shaker Village that was moved to north side of Route 20 in 1829 when the Brick Dwelling was constructed. By 1848 there were two Ministry shops, one for Elders and one for Eldresses. A new Ministry Shop was built in 1873 on the foundation of one of these earlier shops. The Ministry Shop was later used as a home for Shakers who had been displaced by the closure of the Enfield, Connecticut community in 1917. (more…)

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Elisha Hammond House (1845)

26 Maple Street, Florence

Elisha Hammond was an artist and craftsman in Northampton who joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian society, in 1844. The NAEI opposed slavery and supported fugitive slaves–Hammond’s obituary stated that “fugitives were never turned from his door.” In 1844 he painted a well-known portrait of Frederick Douglass. In 1845 Hammond built the house at 26 Maple Street in the Northampton village of Florence.

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Dorsey-Jones House (1849)

Dorsey-Jones House

The Dorsey-Jones House, located at 191 Nonotuck Street in the village of Florence in Northampton, was built in 1849 by Basil Dorsey. He was a fugitive slave who had escaped from Maryland in 1836 to New York with the help of Robert Purvis, a prominent black abolitionist. Florence was home at that time to a utopian community called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. The NAEI opposed slavery and aided fugitive slaves. Selah B. Trask briefly lived in the house when Dorsey and his family moved to another home in Florence in 1852. Mary Jones, the wife of Thomas H. Jones, who was also a fugitive slave, purchased the house in 1854. Jones had escaped from slavery in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1849, having already arranged for the escape of his free wife and her enslaved children. Jones then published a narrative of his life entitled The Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years. Jones and his family lived in Florence until they moved to Worcester in 1859.

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Tannery, Hancock Shaker Village (1835)

Tannery

An earlier building that had served the Hancock Shaker Village as a Cider House was enlarged in 1835 (the foundation wall has a stone inscribed with the date 1835) for use as a Tannery. By 1875, the Shakers were unable to compete with other large tanneries in the area. The building was then converted into a cider press and a forge was installed in the north end. The upper floor of the structure was later used as a carpenters shop.

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