Category Archives: Organizations

Mt. Tom Engine House (1887)

Mt. Tom Hose Company

At 2 Canal Street in Holyoke is the fire station built in 1887 for the Mt. Tom Hose Company, No. 1, the city’s first volunteer fire-fighting force, which had been established in 1851. The building was later known as Fire Station No. 4.

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Museum of Russian Icons (1853, 1859, 2006)

Museum of Russian Icons

The building at 203 Union Street in Clinton was constructed in 1853 to house the Bigelow Mechanics Institute. This institution was founded in 1846. As described in History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (1896), by Andrew E. Ford:

April 14, 1846, a petition was made to a justice of peace by H. N. Bigelow, J. R. Stewart, L. F. Bancroft, J. B. Parker, Sanborn Worthen, A. S. Carleton and G. H. Kendall, representing that those gentlemen were “desirous of forming an association for the purpose of mutual improvement and for the further purpose of extending improvement to and throughout the village in which they reside, and the neighborhood with which they are more immediately connected, by sustaining courses of lectures upon the sciences and their connection with the mechanical arts, by sustaining, if their means shall allow it, a school for scientific instruction and education in those branches more immediately connected with their employment, and the collection of a library, a reading room and a repository of ‘models and drawings of useful machines and mechanical inventions.” In answer to this petition, a warrant was issued for a meeting for the purpose of organizing an association with these ends in view.

[. . .] The preamble of the constitution presented and adopted offers a broader basis of organization than was suggested in the petition, namely: “In order to promote our mutual improvement in literature, science and the mechanical arts; —to diffuse a taste for literary, scientific and mechanical pursuits in the community in which we reside;—and to develop the social, moral and intellectual natures with which we arc endowed by one Creator.”

The society took the name “The Bigelow Mechanics’ Institute in Clintonville.” E. B. Bigelow, in whose honor this name had been assumed, in addition to other donations, gave to the society as a recognition of his esteem, the valuable air pump, now used by the Clinton High School, and two hundred dollars to be used for the good of the Institute. A fee of five dollars was charged for membership, and some forty men joined.

At various times, from 1853 to 1873, the Institute also rented out space in the building to the postal service, to the Town of Clinton for its armory and to local businesses. Next door to the Institute, the building at 195 Union Street was built in 1859 to serve as Horatio N. Bigelow‘s private office. The brothers, Horatio N. and Erastus B. Bigelow developed Clinton as an industrial community.

In 1873, the Bigelow Mechanics Institute disbanded and its library was donated to the town to become the Bigelow Free Public Library. The Institute’s old building became a tenement. The adjacent building, H. N. Bigelow’s former office, served as the the Second District Court of Eastern Worcester County from 1886 to 1972, and its basement was the Clinton Police Station until 1969. Both buildings later served as law offices. In recent years the complex has undergone an extensive transformation to house the Museum of Russian Icons, founded in 2006 by art collector and industrialist Gordon B. Lankton. A contemporary, aluminum-clad addition to the museum was constructed in 2008.

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Shaker Office, Fruitlands Museum (1794)

Shaker Office

The Shaker community in Harvard began in the 1780s and flouished in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Harvard Shaker Village finally closed in 1917, the original Shaker Trustee’s Office, built in 1794, was moved in 1920 by Clara Endicott Sears to the Fruitlands Museum to become a Shaker Museum.

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Worcester Historical Society Building (1892)

Worcester Historical Society Building

The Worcester Society of Antiquity was first organized in 1875. The Society acquired a permanent home after Stephen Salisbury III donated land at 39 Salisbury Street and $25,000 towards the construction of a new building. Built in 1890-1891, it was designed by Barker and Nourse. It was formally opened on June 28, 1892. The organization’s name was changed to the Worcester Historical Society in 1919 and to the Worcester Historical Museum in 1978. The Museum moved to a new and larger location at 30 Elm Street in 1988. The Museum’s former home is now used as a commercial building.

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Holder Memorial (1904)

Holder Memorial

Located at 210 Church Street in Clinton, the Holder Memorial building was built in 1904 to be the home of the Clinton Historical Society by Francis T. Holder as a memorial to his parents, David and Ruth Bassett Holder. A native of Clinton, F.T. Holder had risen to become president of the Alexander Smith Corporation, which manufactured carpets. You can learn much more about Francis T. Holder and the Holder Memorial in the book The Holder Memorial Given to the Clinton Historical Society, published in 1905.

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East India Marine Hall (1825)

East India Marine Hall

East India Marine Hall, on Essex Street in Salem, was constructed in 1824-1825 by the East India Marine Society. The Society had been founded in 1799 as a charitable and educational organization whose membership consisted of ship masters or supercargos who had sailed around either Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. The Society also maintained a library and a museum, called a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities.” The Society rented rooms in the Stearns Block from 1799 to 1804 and, needing more space for its growing collections, in the Salem Bank Building from 1804 to 1825. Again needing more space, the Society moved into the new East India Marine Hall, which was dedicated on October 14, 1825. The building was designed by architect Thomas Waldron Summer. In 1867 the society deposited its collections with the newly established Peabody Academy of Science which also bought the East India Marine Hall. Additions were been made the the Hall over the years as the institution grew into today’s Peabody Essex Museum, but East India Marine Hall has maintained its original appearance. The building’s grand banquet hall is available to rent for events.

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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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