Category Archives: Federal

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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Jonathan Lewis House (1780)

212 Still River Rd., Harvard

Built around 1780, the house at 212 Still River Road in Harvard is known as the Jonathan Lewis House after the man who constructed it. In 1801 it was acquired by Dr. Ephraim Stone, a major benefactor of the Still River Baptist Church, which is located across the road. After Dr. Stone retired to Boston in 1840, the house passed through several owners. From 1885 to 1901, the house was owned by James Harrod, a blacksmith and son of the noted blacksmith Major Henry R. Harrod.

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East India Marine Hall (1825)

East India Marine Hall

East India Marine Hall, on Essex Street in Salem, was constructed in 1824-1825 by the East India Marine Society. The Society had been founded in 1799 as a charitable and educational organization whose membership consisted of ship masters or supercargos who had sailed around either Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. The Society also maintained a library and a museum, called a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities.” The Society rented rooms in the Stearns Block from 1799 to 1804 and, needing more space for its growing collections, in the Salem Bank Building from 1804 to 1825. Again needing more space, the Society moved into the new East India Marine Hall, which was dedicated on October 14, 1825. The building was designed by architect Thomas Waldron Summer. In 1867 the society deposited its collections with the newly established Peabody Academy of Science which also bought the East India Marine Hall. Additions were been made the the Hall over the years as the institution grew into today’s Peabody Essex Museum, but East India Marine Hall has maintained its original appearance. The building’s grand banquet hall is available to rent for events.

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John Mycall House (1798)

John Mycall House

Stephen Cleverly began constructing the hip-roofed house at 204 Still River Road in Harvard in the early 1790s. As described in the History of the Town of Harvard, Vol. II (1894), by Henry S. Nourse:

Stephen Cleverly, an eccentric genius, son of Dr. John Cleverly, succeeded [the merchant John] Munroe [at Still River] at the close of the Revolution, but his business career was brief and unfortunate. He began the erection of the large dwelling well known as the Mycall or Jerome Gardner house, but his enterprise ended in financial trouble, and he removed to Lancaster with his father. Thereafter he indulged his taste for strong drink, became besotted and insane, and died at the age of seventy-two, A. D. 1832, in the alms-house. He was an educated man, had a talent for rhyming, and in his later years was wont to wander about, half-tipsy, repeating whenever he could find listeners certain scurrilous verses of his own composition, in which he satirized his fellow- men and scoffed at the world in general.

Cleverly’s creditors sold his unfinished house to John Mycall in 1798. Originally from Worcester, England, John Mycall (1757-1840) had emigrated to Newburyport in 1775, where he was editor of the Essex Journal from 1780 to 1790. Mycall operated a retail shop in the rear ell of his house in Harvard. Again quoting from Nourse:

Of John Mycall, when publisher at Newburyport, the following story has been more than once printed. The sheriff had been a regular subscriber to the Journal for a long time, but failed to pay the bills presented to him, save in profuse promises. One day, being urgently pressed for the amount due, the sheriff with his usual earnest manner, said: “Mr. Mycall, you shall have your money tomorrow, if I am alive; you may be certain I am a corpse if you are not paid in full.” When the sheriff began reading the next issue of the paper he was astounded to find staring him in the face the formal announcement of the “sudden death of Philip Bagley, Esq, Sheriff of Essex County,” followed by a flattering obituary, which closed with the sentence: “Alas! Sheriff Bagley had one grave fault—he neglected to pay the printer.” He threw down the sheet in a rage and rushed out to contradict the report. He met several acquaintances, but no one seemed at all surprised to see him in his usual vigor, until he entered the printing office. The publisher put on a look of grave astonishment, ejaculating: “Why, Mr. Sheriff, I thought you a corpse.” “Who told you so?” asked the angry official. “Why, you yourself were my authority”— and he recalled the solemn promise. The sheriff drew his wallet, paid the bill, and demanded that the statement be contradicted in the next week’s Journal. “O,” said Mycall, “that isn’t at all necessary; the notice was printed in but one copy of the Journal; that one sent to you.”

[In 1808] Squire Mycall became entangled in some litigation with Joseph Stone, shook Harvard dust from his feet and returned to Newburyport, where he died.

Mycall’s Harvard property was sold to Jerome Gardner, a merchant and prominent citizen who held a number of local offices. After the Civil War, the house served for a time as a summer hotel, run by Merrick Puffer. In the mid-nineteenth century, the house’s original center chimney was removed and replaced by an Italianate cupola.

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