Category Archives: Clinton

Museum of Russian Icons (1853, 1859, 2006)

Museum of Russian Icons

The building at 203 Union Street in Clinton was constructed in 1853 to house the Bigelow Mechanics Institute. This institution was founded in 1846. As described in History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (1896), by Andrew E. Ford:

April 14, 1846, a petition was made to a justice of peace by H. N. Bigelow, J. R. Stewart, L. F. Bancroft, J. B. Parker, Sanborn Worthen, A. S. Carleton and G. H. Kendall, representing that those gentlemen were “desirous of forming an association for the purpose of mutual improvement and for the further purpose of extending improvement to and throughout the village in which they reside, and the neighborhood with which they are more immediately connected, by sustaining courses of lectures upon the sciences and their connection with the mechanical arts, by sustaining, if their means shall allow it, a school for scientific instruction and education in those branches more immediately connected with their employment, and the collection of a library, a reading room and a repository of ‘models and drawings of useful machines and mechanical inventions.” In answer to this petition, a warrant was issued for a meeting for the purpose of organizing an association with these ends in view.

[. . .] The preamble of the constitution presented and adopted offers a broader basis of organization than was suggested in the petition, namely: “In order to promote our mutual improvement in literature, science and the mechanical arts; —to diffuse a taste for literary, scientific and mechanical pursuits in the community in which we reside;—and to develop the social, moral and intellectual natures with which we arc endowed by one Creator.”

The society took the name “The Bigelow Mechanics’ Institute in Clintonville.” E. B. Bigelow, in whose honor this name had been assumed, in addition to other donations, gave to the society as a recognition of his esteem, the valuable air pump, now used by the Clinton High School, and two hundred dollars to be used for the good of the Institute. A fee of five dollars was charged for membership, and some forty men joined.

At various times, from 1853 to 1873, the Institute also rented out space in the building to the postal service, to the Town of Clinton for its armory and to local businesses. Next door to the Institute, the building at 195 Union Street was built in 1859 to serve as Horatio N. Bigelow‘s private office. The brothers, Horatio N. and Erastus B. Bigelow developed Clinton as an industrial community.

In 1873, the Bigelow Mechanics Institute disbanded and its library was donated to the town to become the Bigelow Free Public Library. The Institute’s old building became a tenement. The adjacent building, H. N. Bigelow’s former office, served as the the Second District Court of Eastern Worcester County from 1886 to 1972, and its basement was the Clinton Police Station until 1969. Both buildings later served as law offices. In recent years the complex has undergone an extensive transformation to house the Museum of Russian Icons, founded in 2006 by art collector and industrialist Gordon B. Lankton. A contemporary, aluminum-clad addition to the museum was constructed in 2008.

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Bank Building, Clinton (1881)

Bank Block

The building at 79 High Street in Clinton was built in 1881 to house two banks: the Clinton Savings Bank and the First National Bank of Clinton, which became the Clinton Trust Company in 1919. The Clinton Savings Bank moved to a new building in 1929. The building at 79 High Street housed various successor banks to the Clinton Trust Company. It is currently home to a branch of Santander Bank.

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203 Church Street, Clinton (1885)

Original Post Office, 203 Church Street

The building at 203 Church Street in Clinton was built in 1885 and was the town’s first Post Office. The second floor was once rented to the Prescott Club, a private club for businessmen. In the 1940’s, the Liberty Club, an Italian-American organization, purchased the building. Renovated inside in 1987, the building is now used as retail and office space.

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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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Lancaster Mills Company, Building No. 23 (1870)

Building No. 23, Lancaster Mills Company

One of the buildings of the former Lancaster Mills factory complex in Clinton is a one-story brick octagonal structure that was built before 1870 (c. 1857-1870). Designated Building No. 23, it served as offices. Originally located at the west corner of Mill No. 1, it was moved between 1879 and 1898 to the southwest corner of the complex and connected to a small one-story ell. In 1918, the rear addition was expanded into a larger structure, designed by Lockwood, Green & Co.

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Old Central Fire Station, Clinton (1898)

Old Central Fire Station, Clinton (1898)

The old Central Fire Station, at 42 Church Street in Clinton, was built in 1898. It was Clinton’s second fire station. A modern fire station was constructed next door in 1983.

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First Unitarian Church of Clinton (1853)

First Unitarian Church of Clinton

In 1853, three years after the First Unitarian Society of Clinton was organized the society built at church at 250 Church Street. Now the oldest standing church in Clinton, it was erected on land donated by Henry Fairbanks, one of the partners in the Bigelow Carpet Company. The church was raised in 1872 when the current first level was added underneath the original 1853 church. No longer a Unitarian church, in recent years the building has lost its steeple. It is now the Clinton Spanish Seventh Day Adventist Church.

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