Category Archives: Northampton

Samuel L. Hill House (1845)

Samuel L. Hill House

Samuel L. Hill was one of the founders of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry (NAEI), a nineteenth-century utopian community located in the village of Florence in Northampton. In the 1830s, S. L. Hill had worked as an overseer in a cotton factory in Willimantic, Connecticut. He came to Florence in 1841, where he became a leading citizen and established the Nonotuck Silk Company. An abolitionist, Hill actively aided slaves on the Underground Railroad. Among his other acts of philanthropy was the founding of the Florence Kindergarten, now the Hill Institute. His house, at 29-33 (or 31-35) Maple Street in Florence, was built around 1845. The south wing is the earliest section of the house, which is Arthur G. Hill, his son, also became one of Florence’s leading citizens and lived in the house until the 1920’s.

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Mary Ellen Chase House (1827)

Chase House

Attached to Duckett House, an 1810 residence in Northampton that is now a Smith College dorm, is the Mary Ellen Chase House, another dorm named for a Smith College professor and author. Chase House was built in 1827 (or perhaps as early as 1810) as a residence by Elijah Hunt Mills (1776-1829), a lawyer and politician. After Mills’ death, the house was owned and occupied by Thomas Napier, originally from North Carolina, who was a slave-auctioneer and anti-abolitionist. The house later passed through other owners until 1877, when it was sold to Miss Mary Burnham to establish a school for young ladies (the Northampton Classical School for Girls). The objective was to provide better academic preparation for young women wishing to attend the new Smith College. A new rear wing was soon added to the house to accommodate the school, as well as a central tower (later removed) and a Mansard roof (which remains). The Burnham School later moved out of Northampton and Smith acquired the house in 1968.

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Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Smith College (1955)

Helen Hills Hills Chapel

Smith College did not originally have a chapel because its founders wanted students to be part of the Northampton community and attend local churches. Finally in 1953, an alumna from the class of 1908 named Helen Hills Hills (her maiden name was hills and she married a husband named Hills) offered funds for a college chapel. She stipulated that the building should strictly follow the design of traditional New England meeting houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Designed by William and Geoffrey Platt (sons of Charles Adams Platt) of New York, the nondenominational Helen Hills Hills Chapel was completed in 1955. The interior of the Chapel (123 Elm Street, Northampton) has recently been modified to create a more flexible space: the old fixed pews have been removed in favor of 300 custom-made oak chairs that can be laid out in different configurations.

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Charles and Lucretia M. Daniels House (1873)

Charles and Lucretia M. Daniels House

The Gothic Revival cottage at 29 Arlington Street in Northampton was built on land acquired by Lucretia Daniels, wife of Charles Daniels, in 1873. By 1880 the couple were living in the house with their two teen-aged sons and by 1884 Lucretia was listed as a widow. She lived in the house through 1917.

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Catholic Society Parsonage, Northampton (1866)

41 King St., Northampton

The house at 71 King Street in Northampton was built in 1866 to serve as a parsonage for St. Mary’s Catholic church. It was designed by William Fenno Pratt, who also designed a similar parsonage for the Congregational church. Built in 1845, St. Mary’s was Northampton’s first Catholic church. This almost entirely Irish parish constructed a new church on Elm Street in 1885 and a new French-Canadian parish took over the old church. This was later replaced by a new church, the present Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church at 101 King Street. Since the move of St. Mary’s Parish, the old parsonage has been used for other purposes, including as a funeral parlor.

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Armory, Northampton (1900)

Armory, Northampton

At 131 King Street in Northampton is an armory building constructed by the city in 1899-1900 and purchased by the state in 1912. Designed by Gardner, Pyne & Gardner of Springfield, it served as constabulary headquarters and as barracks for police and military groups. It also provided a large interior space for recreational and civic events. It now houses offices.

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Miss Florence Diner (1941)

Miss Florence Diner

Miss Florence Diner, located at 99 Main Street in the Florence section of Northampton, is a modified 1941 barrel-roofed diner manufactured by the Worcester Lunch Car Company. The modifications were made in the late 1940s when, to increase its size, the diner was remodeled with additions that gave it an L-shape and a cross-barrel roof. The home of the diner‘s original owner, Maurice Alexander, was later attached to the diner and opened as a restaurant.

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