In 1813, the Shakers of Hancock constructed a building, the Trustees’ Office, in which to conduct business and accommodate visitors from what they referred to as “The World.” Part of Hancock Shaker Village, it is located just across the border from Hancock in Pittsfield (the town line passes through the eastern end of the village). In 1852 the Shakers more than doubled the size of the original building by extending it to the south. It was also reoriented to face west. A kitchen ell was added in 1876, which joined the Office to a woodshed to the east. The entire structure was completely altered in an eclectic Victorian style in 1895. There was also a gift shop/fancy goods store in the building. The Office was home to the Trustee and Central Ministry Eldress Mary Frances Hall (b. 1876) until her death in 1957. Read More
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was a major poet and for 50 years was editor and publisher of The New York Evening Post. He was born in a log cabin in Cummington. When he was two, Bryant‘s father, Dr. Peter Bryant, moved the family to a house in Cummington that the doctor’s father-in-law had built in circa 1783-1785. The house became young William Cullen Bryant‘s boyhood home and is now called the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. In 1865, after the old farmhouse had been out of the family for 30 years, Bryant purchased and extensively altered it in to reflect Victorian stylistic tastes. He began by raising the original section of the house, creating a new ground floor. He also added a gambrel-roofed study, a replica of his father’s medical office, which projects from the front facade, and constructed an addition to the house’s original rear ell. The renovated house would serve as his summer home until his death. It is now owned by the Trustees of Reservations and can be toured by the public. Read More
The house at 38 Broad Street in Westfield was built in 1873 by Noah Strong, a local contractor. The architecture of the house reflects an amalgam of styles. The town purchased the house in 1909 to use it as a vocational school. For Westfield’s 250th Anniversary celebration in 1919, the building was used for “The Hostess House and Loan Exhibit,” under the direction of the art committee of the Women’s Club of Westfield. According to The History of the Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town of Westfield Massachusetts, August 31, September 1, 2, 5, 1919:
Here tea was served every day to thousands of guests, who were received by hostesses in quaint, old costumes.
The rooms of the house were arranged for the occasion in a colonial style with many antiques, early portraits and family heirlooms on display. A “Museum Room” featured relics of past wars, including the recently concluded First World War. In 1920, American Legion Post 124 began leasing the building from the city and purchased it in 1962. The second floor was made into a meeting hall in 1928.
The Kyle Estate, also known as the Rosbrook-Kyle House, is an interesting Victorian residence at 18 Park Street in the village of Florence in Northampton. It was originally constructed as a one-and-a-half story Gothic cottage around 1865. The land on which the house was built was purchased by Francis O. Rosbrook in 1850 and passed through three other owners before it was purchased in 1844 by Oscar N. Kyle, treasurer and manager of the Florence Machine Company. He hired local architect Charles H. Jones to remodel the cottage, which was elevated one story. The front porch on the ground floor features Eastlake elements and the ornament of the porch on the second floor suggests Middle Eastern design. A three-story octagonal tower was also added at the southwestern corner of the house. The altered house combines different architectural styles, with the Gothic style retained on the original Gothic section (now the second floor and attic gable). The second floor and part of the gable have board-and-batten siding, while wood shingles cover the third story of the tower and the upper section of the gable. The house is now divided into apartments. Read More
By the late 1890s there was clamoring for a gymnasium to be constructed at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. The College Gymnasium, noted at the time for its state-of-the-art ventilation system, was built in 1899-1900 and was designed by William C. Brocklesby. In 1950, the building was converted into offices and housed the campus post office. In 1988, it became the Blanchard Campus Center, named for Elizabeth Blanchard, an 1858 graduate who served as principal (1883-1888) and acting president (1888-189) of the College. The building was much expanded with additional facilities in 2003.
Stonehurst was the country house of Robert Treat Paine, Jr., a lawyer, housing reformer and great grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Located in Waltham, the earliest part of the house was a Second Empire building, designed by Gridley James Fox Bryant and constructed in 1866 for Paine and his wife, Lydia Lyman Paine. This house was moved to a new site atop a ridge and a large addition in the Shingle style was designed by the architect H.H. Richardson. Begun in 1884, the project was almost complete when Richardson died in 1886. In collaboration with Richardson was the great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. The organic relationship of the completed house and the landscape is a notable feature of what is considered to be an architectural masterpiece. The estate was given to the City of Waltham and is open to the public.