Category Archives: Italianate

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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Berkshire County Courthouse (1871)

Berkshire County Courthouse

The Berkshire County Courthouse, located at 76 East Street in Pittsfield, was built circa 1868-1871, after the county seat was moved from Lenox in 1868. Constructed of local white marble, the building has been occupied since September, 1871.

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Old Draper Hotel (1871)

Old Draper Hotel

The Warner House, also known as the Warner Tavern or Warner’s Coffee House, was for years the most popular public house in Northampton. After it was destroyed by fire in 1870, a new building, planned by J.M. Miner, was constructed on its former location on Main Street. Called the Fitch Hotel, it consisted of a central block flanked by two wings. Only the westernmost wing survives today. It features an “F” monogram in the center of the roof pediment of the façade. The hotel, located at 179 Main Street, later became the Draper Hotel. The hotel is described in an article (“Industrial Northampton”) that appeared in Western New England (Vol. I, No. 11, October, 1911):

Northampton is unusually well-equiped, for a city of its size, with high-class hotels and restaurants. The Draper, the most prominent hotel in Northampton, is favorably known throughout the country as a result of its entertaining well the people from almost everywhere who are drawn to Northampton by college exercises and by business affairs. The Draper compares favorably in quality with hotels in large cities. The rathskeller is particularly well known among men who have occasion to visit Northampton. The hotel aims to provide its patrons with whatever they wish and to its excellent dining room and rathskeller has recently been added a “self-service” restaurant and lunch room where one may get a wholesome meal in a short time and at small cost. The Draper offers both American and European rates.

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Clark Block, Worcester (1854)

Clark Block

The Clark Block, located at 401-409 Main Street in Worcester (not to be confused with the Clark Building at 492 Main Street, which does not survive today), was built in 1854 for William Clark to plans by Elbridge Boyden. For many years it remained one of the grandest buildings in the city, housing many institutions and businesses. In the 1850s, the adjacent Richmond and Piper Blocks were constructed. J.H. Walker acquired the Clark Block in 1884 and built an addition on the Mechanics Street side of the building. The Clark Block originally had a facade of thirteen bays along Main Street, but six of these (as well as the adjoining Richmond and Piper Blocks) have been covered over. The first two floors of the remaining bays have also been covered, leaving only part of the original facade visible.

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Rogers/Russell Double House (1875)

Rogers/Russell Double House

At nos. 350-352 Essex Street in Salem is a late Italianate double house built in 1875. No. 352 was home to Arthur S. Rogers, treasurer of the Atlantic Car Company, and no. 350 was home to Benjamin W. Russell, a teller (later president) at the Salem National Bank.

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159 First Street, Pittsfield (1876)

159 First St., Pittsfield

The house at 159 First Street in Pittsfield is an example of houses were expanded in the nineteenth century as their owners became more affluent. The rear of the house dates to c. 1850, but the more substantial front section, along the street, was added in 1876.

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Boston Manufacturing Company (1814)

BMC

It can be argued that at least one of the places that the Industrial Revolution in America began was in Waltham in 1813, when Francis Cabot Lowell and The Boston Associates established the Boston Manufacturing Company, which produced cotton textiles. They hired mechanic Paul Moody of Amesbury to design and build the machinery and mill along the Charles River in Waltham. The BMC mills employed a method of production called the Waltham-Lowell System that was later duplicated by the Boston Associates on a larger scale at the famous mills in Lowell and would be copied by other industries. The image above displays the long factory building of the Boston Manufacturing Company which was constructed in three sections. The section on the far right, up to the tower, was built in 1813-1814. Closer to the second tower (seen in the distance) is the mill constructed in 1816. These two buildings were later joined by the middle section, built in 1843. Beyond the second tower, at an angle to the earlier buildings, is a mill constructed in 1852. The 1813-1843 buildings now contain senior housing and artists lofts. The image below shows the 1873-1880 mill building with attached smokestack along the Charles River. This section is now the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.

Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation

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