Category Archives: Pittsfield

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pittsfield (1890)

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

The original St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield was built in 1832 near to the Town Hall. When Allen Street was being opened up through its original property, the parish purchased land next door and constructed its current church in 1889-1890. Designed by Peabody & Stearns, St. Stephen’s was constructed of Longmeadow red sandstone. It’s design was no doubt influenced by the Gothic Revival style of the nearby First Congregational Church. Both churches have stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast. Services in the church began in 1890 and St. Stephen’s was consecrated by Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, on November 19, 1892. The Parish House at the rear of the church, built in 1916, was expanded in 1956. The church underwent major renovations in 1984.

Share Button
Posted in Churches, Gothic, Pittsfield | Tagged | Leave a comment

159 First Street, Pittsfield (1876)

159 First St., Pittsfield

The house at 159 First Street in Pittsfield is an example of houses were expanded in the nineteenth century as their owners became more affluent. The rear of the house dates to c. 1850, but the more substantial front section, along the street, was added in 1876.

Share Button
Posted in Houses, Italianate, Pittsfield | Leave a comment

Old Town Hall, Pittsfield (1832)

Old Town Hall, Pittsfield

The Old Town Hall of Pittsfield is a Federal-style brick structure located at 43 East Street. An earlier Town House had stood near here, where St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church stands today. The construction of the church in 1832 had led to the building of what is now the Old Town Hall, as related in J. E. A. Smith’s The History of Pittsfield, (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts, From the year 1800 to the year 1876 (1876):

In December, 1831, the Sun stated that the wardens had already contracted for a building of stone in the Gothic style, to be commenced in the following spring. From what the editors had heard, the Sun was “disposed to think that it would contribute much to the beauty of the village.” A difficulty, however, arose at the very outset. It was the desire of Mr. Newton and his associates, that the church should stand, where it was afterwards built, upon what is now the corner of Park place and School street; and they offered the town five hundred dollars for a lot of sufficient size at that point. But the site was already occupied in part by the town-house, in which the Central school-district claimed an interest by virtue of its occupancy of its lower story for a school-room. For this, and other reasons, Lemuel Pomeroy and other citizens, averse to change in the old order of things, opposed the sale, and the proposition was rejected by the town.

Upon this Mr. Newton announced his determination to erect the church on a portion of the grounds attached to his own residence, and adjoining that of Mr. Pomeroy. And here, in the spring of 1832, the contractors began to collect stone and other material. The danger of a chronic and bitter neighborhood feud was imminent; but it was happily avoided by a compromise offered by Mr. Pomeroy, who proposed that the difficulty should be surmounted by the erection of a new town-hall, and the purchase by St. Stephen’s parish, of the school-district’s interest in the old building.

Lemuel Pomeroy paid for the building of the new Town Hall, reserving the basement for his own use. His heirs sold their rights in the building to the town in 1882. The front and back facades of the Old Town Hall are stuccoed and scored at the corners to resemble quoining (masonry blocks at the corner of a wall). The building served as Town Hall from 1832 to 1891 and then as City Hall until 1968. Municipal offices then moved to the former Post Office building. In 1969-1970 the Old Town Hall was renovated to become a bank branch and offices.

Share Button
Posted in Federal, Pittsfield, Public Buildings | Leave a comment

First Agricultural National Bank (1908)

First Agricultural National Bank, Pittsfield

The impressive white marble building of the First Agricultural National Bank stands at 100 North Street in Pittsfield. Built in 1908-1909, it was the Bank’s fourth home since its founding in 1818. Its first home was the former building of the failed Berkshire Bank. As related in The History of Pittsfield (1916) by Edward Boltwood:

In 1876, the banking rooms of the Agricultural were those now occupied by the Third National, on the ground floor of the building of the Berkshire Life Insurance Company, north of the main entrance. The erection of the handsome white marble structure on the east side of North Street, between Fenn and Dunham Streets, which is at present occupied in part by the Agricultural, was begun by the bank in June, 1908, and finished in October, 1909. The architects were Messrs. Mowbray and Uffinger of New York; and the result of their labors and of those of the bank’s building committee was a notable contribution to the beauty of the business center of the city. The cost of the building was $250,000.

A 1928-1930 addition to the bank was designed by the firm of Halsey, McCormack & Helmer.

Share Button
Posted in Banks, Neoclassical, Pittsfield | Leave a comment

Berkshire Loan & Trust Company (1923)

Berkshire Loan & Trust Company

Established in 1895, the Berkshire Loan & Trust Company was for a time located in the Berkshire County Savings Bank Building until constructing its own Classical Revival building, at 54 North Street in Pittsfield, circa 1923.

Share Button
Posted in Banks, Neoclassical, Pittsfield | Leave a comment

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:

Share Button
Posted in Commercial, Neoclassical, Pittsfield, Renaissance Revival | Leave a comment

Trustees’ Office and Store, Hancock Shaker Village (1813)

Trustees' Office and Store

In 1813, the Shakers of Hancock constructed a building, the Trustees’ Office, in which to conduct business and accommodate visitors from what they referred to as “The World.” Part of Hancock Shaker Village, it is located just across the border from Hancock in Pittsfield (the town line passes through the eastern end of the village). In 1852 the Shakers more than doubled the size of the original building by extending it to the south. It was also reoriented to face west. A kitchen ell was added in 1876, which joined the Office to a woodshed to the east. The entire structure was completely altered in an eclectic Victorian style in 1895. There was also a gift shop/fancy goods store in the building. The Office was home to the Trustee and Central Ministry Eldress Mary Frances Hall (b. 1876) until her death in 1957. (more…)

Share Button
Posted in Commercial, Organizations, Pittsfield, Victorian Eclectic | Tagged , | Leave a comment