The Wollison-Shipton Building, at 146-156 North Street in Pittsfield, was constructed of Philadelphia pressed brick, with cast iron detailing and plate glass windows and skylights for each of the four stores on the first floor. The second floor of the building contained the Y.M.C.A. and offices, the third floor more offices and the top floor had a photography gallery. The building‘s architect was H. Neil Wilson and the builder was builder was D.C. Munyan, who constructed a number of notable buildings in town.
The commercial building at 4-8 Bank Row at the corner of South Street in Pittsfield has been much altered over the years. It was built around 1820 by William G. Backus, who ran a stove and plumber’s supply store for over half-a-century. Originally three separate buildings fronting South Street, it was later altered to have a unified front and a third story. Herman Melville lived in a house on South Street behind the Backus Block in 1862-1863 after moving from Arrowhead.
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.
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.
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.