First Congregational Church of Stockbridge (1824)

First Congregational Church of Stockbridge

At 4 Main Street in Stockbridge is the the First Congregational Church, built in 1824. The church began in 1734 with John Sergeant‘s mission to the Mahican people of the Berkshire Hills. The first church building, erected in 1739, stood where the Chime Tower is today. The second church building, built in 1785, stood at the foot of Old Meeting House Road. The current brick church was restructured in 1865 to accommodate a Johnson Organ.

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Sylvester Graham House (1800)

Sylvester Graham House

The house at 111 Pleasant Street in Northampton was built around 1800. In 1836 it was purchased by Sylvester Graham, who lived there until his death in 1851. Sylvester Graham was a dietary reformer and temperance advocate who emphasized vegetarianism and baking a type of bread made with unbolted wheat flour, known as Graham Flour. The Graham Cracker is also named for him. The house‘s original gable roof was later replaced with a mansard roof.

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Old Custom House, Salem (1805)

Old Custom House

The building at 4-10 Central Street in Salem was built in 1805 as block of stores for William S. Gray and Benjamin H. Hathorne. It was built by John Chandler and Joseph McIntire and possibly designed by Joseph’s brother Samuel. Originally called the Central Building, it now known as the Old Custom House because it was used by the U.S. Custom Service in 1805-1807 and 1813-1819. The arched windows on the first floor were added during a 1970s restoration.

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West Triple House (1834)

West Triple House

Erected circa 1833-1834 is a triple house at 5-9 Summer Street in Salem. It was built as an investment by Capt. Nathaniel West, who lived in one of the three units. The house is now part of The Salem Inn. Capt. West had been involved in an infamous scandal when he was divorced from his wife, Elizabeth Derby West, in 1806. In the trial he had lost to her his estate in Danvers, Oak Hill, but later reacquired part of it after her death. He moved it to Salem where it became the front section of the Philips House on Chestnut Street.

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Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church (1821)

Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church

In 1821, part of the membership of Harvard’s First Church who objected to the town’s granting use of the meeting house to the Unitarian Society split off to form their own separate congregation, the Calvinistic Congregational Society. As related in History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1732-1893 (1894) by Henry S. Nourse:

This formal withdrawal left the meeting-house and church furniture in legal possession of those refusing Calvinistic doctrines, and the records, though detained for a time by the clerk, Reuben Whitcomb, a leader in the new society, were soon surrendered to them. April 16, 1821, it was voted to apply to the town tor a piece of the common whereupon to build a meeting-house, and a committee was instructed to present a plan.

April 29 the town gave the ground now in possession of the society, agreeing to remove the pound and hearse-house, then standing upon it. A building forty-four feet by fifty was agreed upon, its cost being divided into one hundred shares of twenty-five dollars each.

Nourse describes later additions to the church:

In August, 1827, a subscription, headed by Seth Nason with a gift of one hundred dollars, was raised to add a cupola to the front of the meeting-house and provide a bell. The sum of $903.50 was obtained, and the addition was made, including an increase in the number of pews. In 1836 a new pulpit was built by a few individuals of the society.

[. . .] March 12, 1855, the society changed its name to “The Evangelical Congregational Society.” In 1858 the gallery pews in the meeting-house were fitted for more convenient use, and two years later the building of a “piazza” brought the church into temporary debt.

The building, at 5 Still River Road, continues to be the home of the Congregational Church of Harvard.

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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. Read More

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