Category Archives: Federal

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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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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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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Congregational Church of Interlaken (1827)

Congregational Church of Interlaken

In 1824 plans were made to build a new meeting house by the Stockbridge Congregational Church. The location of the building was a point of contention between members of the congregation. Although it was eventually built near the site of the community’s first meeting house, church members living in the north section of town, known as Curtisville (named for the mill complex erected by Stephen Curtis), felt that the distance was too far to travel. In 1825, after much debate, it was decided to let a new Congregational Society be formed in Curtisville. The North Congregational Society met in the Red School House on Larrywaug Crossroads until its own church, also on Larrywaug Crossroad, was dedicated on January 10, 1827. The building was used until 1834 when it was taken down and and rebuilt at its present site at 6 Willard Hill Road. Curtisville later became known as Interlaken and the church as the Congregational Church of Interlaken A brick edifice, it was in use as a church until 2002, when declining membership led to the congregation’s sale of the building. It was converted into the second home of a New York architect.

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Jonas Merriam House & Tavern (1807)

Jonas Merriam House & Tavern (1807)

A tavern had long stood at the site where Jonas Merriam built a Federal-style house in 1807 at 1 Elm Street, near the Common, in Harvard. Merriam built the house to also serve as a tavern that would take advantage of traffic expected to pass by on the newly opened Union Turnpike. As described in Vol. 2 of the History of Harvard (1894), by Henry S. Nourse:

When the Union Turnpike was completed and Harvard expected to become a way station on a great thoroughfare between Boston and the upper valley of the Connecticut, Jonas Merriam’s tavern was opened in rivalry with Ezra Wetherbee’s, which faced it across the common. Neither turnpike nor inn rewarded the owners’ hopes, and Merriam removed to Shirley in 1816, selling his estate to Seth Nason.

Seth Nason was a founder of the Evangelical Church and town treasurer from 1825-34. He operated a shop in the house before purchasing the building at the corner of Still River Road and Massachusetts Avenue in 1820. Among later owners of the house was Dr. Augustus Robbins. The Evangelical Church also used it for a time as a parsonage in the mid-nineteenth century. The house has had various owners since then.

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Calvin and Jacob Haskell House (1800)

Calvin and Jacob Haskell House

The house at 216 Still River Road in Harvard is believed to have been built by the brothers Calvin and Jacob Haskell around 1800. Calvin was licensed to sell alcohol to travelers along the well-traveled thoroughfare of Still River Road. In the 1820s he gave up this business and became active in the local temperance society. Jacob Haskell served as terms as selectman and Justice of the Peace in 1822. The house passed to his son Levi in 1843 and was bought by William Bowles Willard in 1864. He was clerk of the Baptist Society, to which he donated a Stevens organ in 1870. In 1868 he exchanged his house for the nearby Baptist parsonage. The house at 216 Still River Road then became the new parsonage until it was sold in 1939.

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