Category Archives: Northampton

Ross Farm (1800)

Ross Farm

The farmhouse at 123 Meadow Street in the Florence section of Northampton was built c. 1830 by Theodore Burt, or perhaps c. 1800 by his father, Gaius Burt, who had purchased the farm in 1798. Samuel Whitmarsh, a pioneer of silk cultivation in Northampton, purchased the property in 1835. Whitmarsh’s Northampton Silk Company ceased operation in 1840 owing to a decline in the industry and heavy debt. The property was acquired abolitionist Samuel Hill in 1841 to become part of the utopian community called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry (founded in 1842). Hill, who was active in the Underground Railroad, lived in the house, which is the only surviving NAEI building left today. In 1849, Hill sold the farm to Abel Ross. He lived in the house with his nephew, Austin Ross, who eventually bought the property himself in 1857. Austin Ross also used the house as a station on the Underground Railroad. The property is now called Freedom Farm.

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The Manse, Northampton (1744)

The Manse

The Manse is a house at 54 Prospect Street in Northampton. It was built in 1744 (or as early as 1737?) on the foundation of the original 1684 parsonage house of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, Northampton’s second minister and the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards. The original house passed to Rev. Stoddard’s son, Colonel John Stoddard, who built the current house. Col. Stoddard negotiated the return of the captives taken to Canada from the Deerfield Raid of 1704. The Stoddard family owned the house until 1812. A later resident was Josiah Gilbert Holland, an editor of the Springfield Republican and a founder and editor of Scribner’s Monthly. Holland also wrote novels, poetry and such non-fiction works as a History of Western Massachusetts (1855) and an influential biography of Abraham Lincoln, published in 1866. He and his wife Elizabeth were also friends and frequent corespondents of Emily Dickinson. The house’s cupola is a mid-nineteenth-century addition. The house was an inn for a time in the twentieth century.

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Elisha Hammond House (1845)

26 Maple Street, Florence

Elisha Hammond was an artist and craftsman in Northampton who joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian society, in 1844. The NAEI opposed slavery and supported fugitive slaves–Hammond’s obituary stated that “fugitives were never turned from his door.” In 1844 he painted a well-known portrait of Frederick Douglass. In 1845 Hammond built the house at 26 Maple Street in the Northampton village of Florence.

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Dorsey-Jones House (1849)

Dorsey-Jones House

The Dorsey-Jones House, located at 191 Nonotuck Street in the village of Florence in Northampton, was built in 1849 by Basil Dorsey. He was a fugitive slave who had escaped from Maryland in 1836 to New York with the help of Robert Purvis, a prominent black abolitionist. Florence was home at that time to a utopian community called the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. The NAEI opposed slavery and aided fugitive slaves. Selah B. Trask briefly lived in the house when Dorsey and his family moved to another home in Florence in 1852. Mary Jones, the wife of Thomas H. Jones, who was also a fugitive slave, purchased the house in 1854. Jones had escaped from slavery in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1849, having already arranged for the escape of his free wife and her enslaved children. Jones then published a narrative of his life entitled The Experience of Thomas H. Jones, Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years. Jones and his family lived in Florence until they moved to Worcester in 1859.

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Calvin Theatre (1924)

Calvin Theatre

Sadly missing the “C” from its current marquee is the Calvin Theatre at 19 King Street in Northampton. The theatre was built in 1924 and was once the largest movie theatre in Northampton. It closed in 1994, but later reopened under new management as a live performance venue.

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Calvin Coolidge House (1901)

Calvin Coolidge House

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923-1929), was born in 1872 in Vermont and spent much of his adult life as a lawyer and politician in Massachusetts. From 1906, a year after he married, until he retired from the presidency, Coolidge and his wife, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, rented the left side of a two-family house at 19-21 Massasoit Street in Northampton. The house was built in 1901 by builder J.W. O’Brien. While he lived there, Coolidge served as City Councilor and Mayor in Northampton, state senator and Governor of Massachusetts, and then vice-president and president of the United States. In 1930, the Coolidges moved to another house in Northampton. He died in 1933. The Forbes Library in Northampton is home to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum. It is the only only public library in the United States to hold a presidential collection.

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Oren Smith – Mary Daniels House (1891)

23 Massasoit Street

The house at 23 Massasoit Street in Northampton was built as one of three originally identical houses and is the best preserved of the group. It was constructed in 1891 by Oren Smith, who had purchased the rear section of the Wood Homnestead on Elm Street in 1888. Smith owned the house until 1901, when he sold it to Mary Daniels, the wife of Joseph Daniels, an insurance agent.

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