Category Archives: Architectural Style

Backus-Park Building (1820)

Backus-Park Building

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.

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Pickering-Mack-Stone Double House (1814)

Pickering-Mack-Stone Double House

The three-story brick double house at 21-23 Chestnut Street in Salem was built in 1814-1815 by master builder Jabez Smith for the brothers John Pickering VI (1777-1846), the linguist and polymath who lived in the western half of the house, and Henry Pickering VI, who lived in the eastern half of the house. Judge Elisha Mack and his son Dr. William Mack owned the eastern half from 1837 to 1896. Dr. Mack bequeathed his later home, a house built in the 1850s, with a 25 acre property to the City of Salem as a park. Pickering Dodge lived in the western half while his house at 29 Chestnut Street was being constructed, selling it to the Stone family in 1822. President Andrew Jackson was entertained in the house in 1833. (more…)

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Holyoke City Hall (1876)

Holyoke City Hall

The City Hall of Holyoke, located at the corner of Dwight and High Streets (536 Dwight Street), was built in 1871-1876. It was planned as the Town Hall, but Holyoke had become a city by the time it was completed. It was built with granite quarried in Monson. The building was designed by Charles B. Atwood, who utilized elements of the Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles. During construction, Because Atwood was not delivering updated drawings in a timely manner, the design work was turned over to H.F. Kilburn in 1874. An annex in the same style was completed in 1913. The building has a second-floor auditorium, called the City Hall Ballroom, that features thirteen stained glass windows designed by Samuel West of the Ecclesiastical Stained Glass Works in Boston. In recent years the painted antique glass windows had fallen into disrepair. A campaign was organized that raised funds and the windows were restored last year. Other restoration work has also been done on the building’s exterior and interior. (more…)

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Foster House Hotel (1843)

Foster House Hotel

The building at 50 North Elm Street in Westfield was built in 1843 as a hotel by Micajak Taylor. In the 1850s the building was known as the Pontoosic House Hotel and from the 1890s the hotel and tavern/restaurant was known as the Foster House. Thought to be the oldest continuously operated tavern in western Massachusetts, the Foster House has now been closed for several years.

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First Baptist Church, Clinton (1936)

First Baptist Church, Clinton

The First Baptist Church in Clinton began in 1847, the congregation meeting in a chapel previously used by the local Congregational Church. As related in a historical sermon by Rev. Charles M. Bowers, printed in the Semi-centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Town of Clinton (1900):

The first year of the church had hardly ended before the poor accommodations of the chapel made it necessary to think of building a proper meeting-house, but the question of means was a fearful question. Yet the Lord gave us Alanson Chace and George Cummings to lead in generous subscriptions; others of smaller means were encouraged to follow, and the combined gifts, with contributions from neighboring churches and individuals, provided a neat and comfortable sanctuary at a cost of six thousand dollars, with a seating capacity of four hundred and fifty worshippers. This house was dedicated in 1849. In 1867, or eighteen years after, the church had so increased in numbers that a larger house seemed a necessity, and a new structure by reconstruction and addition was obtained, which, with the organ, cost about eleven thousand dollars, and gave sittings for a congregation of six hundred. The new building was dedicated in 1868.

Twenty-five more years passed away, and it seemed in the judgment of many that with a very popular and attractive preacher we should join the attractions of a still better house. Human nature takes very kindly to human nature, and our third provision for worship in less than fifty years resulted in the beautiful, commodious and well arranged house in which we are now gathered.

The 1890s church burned down in 1934 and was replaced by the current church (14 Walnut Street) in 1936.

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Posted in Churches, Clinton, Gothic | Tagged | Comments Off

Deacon Luke Pollard House (1806)

Deacon Luke Pollard House

One of the Town of Harvard’s most impressive houses, topped with a distinctive belvedere, is the Pollard House at 14 Fairbank Street. It was built around 1805-1806 by Luke Pollard (1774-1866), a deacon of the town’s Congregational Church who became a founder of the seceding Evangelical Congregational Church. Later owners of the house included William and Regina Howerton and Homer F. Harman.

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Sears Building (1896)

80 Race Street, Holyoke

Around 1896, Henry G. Sears and Lemuel Sears (not related by blood) constructed the building at 80 Race Street in Holyoke. Henry G. Sears was born at Shelburne Falls in 1853. As related in volume 6 of the Encyclopedia of Massachusetts, Biographical–Genealogical (1916):

In March, 1871, he entered the employ of Lemuel Sears, a merchant of Holyoke, Massachusetts, remaining but a few weeks when he accepted the advice of an uncle, Henry Eldridge, and went West. He located at Dwight, Illinois, and there made an agreement by which in return for his services he was to receive twelve dollars and fifty cents per month the first year, fifteen dollars the second and twenty dollars the third year, in addition to his board. The West did not prove to his liking, and after one month in his new home he returned to Holyoke and again entered the employ of Lemuel Sears, beginning as clerk at a weekly salary of four dollars and board. He remained in that subordinate position until twenty-three years of age, when he was admitted to a partnership in the business then conducted upon a retail basis only. The partnership, begun in 1876, was continued until the death of Lemuel Sears, March 17, 1912, when Henry G. Sears purchased the interest owned by the heirs and became sole proprietor. Soon after 1876 the business was enlarged and as wholesale and retail grocers the firm became well and most favorably known, the enthusiasm, energy and efficiency of the junior partner agreeing well with the matured wisdom and long experience of the senior. After becoming sole proprietor Mr. Sears, in April, 1913, expanded the business by incorporation, as the Henry G. Sears Company, with Henry G. Sears as president and treasurer, and the business of the company has been built up until it is at the present time (1916) the largest in Western Massachusetts.

The grocery store was damaged in a fire in 1921. The building later housed a local beer and wine distributor and is now home to Paper City Studios.

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