Category Archives: Commercial

Naumkeag Trust Company (1900)

Naumkeag Trust Company

The building at 217 Essex Street in Salem was built in 1900 to house the retail store of W.E. Hoyt Company. A decade later, the Hoyt Block was acquired by the Naumkeag Trust Company, which hired Boston architects Franklin H. Hutchins and Arthur W. Rice to remodel the interior to become a bank building. The history of the Naumkeag Trust Company is related in Vol. II of the Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts (1922):

The Naumkeag Bank was incorporated March 17, 1831, with $200,000 capital, subsequently increased to $500,000. It commenced business in the Benjamin Dodge store building, on Essex street, opposite the Essex House, then was moved to the Manning building, and in 1872 to the second floor of the Asiatic building, Washington street. David Pingree was its first president. In 1864 this institution was changed to the Naumkeag National Bank.

It then became the Naumkeag Trust Company, which was established October 7, 1909. The building is now home to The Gathering at Salem, an interdenominational Christian church.

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Parks Building (1873)

Parks Building (1873)

Oren B. Parks operated a grocery store in Westfield and became a successful businessman and civic leader in the late nineteenth century. He played a major role in developing the Northside section of Westfield. Around 1873 he built the three-story commercial building at 57-59 North Elm Street to accommodate his expanding business.

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Memorial Square Building (1911)

Memorial Square Building

Located in Springfield‘s Memorial Square neighborhood, near the former Memorial Congregational Church, now St. George Greek Orthodox Church, is the Memorial Square Building at 2291-2295 Main Street. Built in 1911 by the E. J. Pinney Company, the building (now called Memorial Square Apartments) has retail space on the first floor with five stories of apartments.

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Central Exchange Building (1896)

Central Exchange Building

The Central Exchange Building at 301-315 Main Street in Worcester stands on the site of the Old Central Exchange Building. This predecessor was built in 1830, burned down in 1843 and was rebuilt the following year. The current Central Exchange Building was constructed in 1895-1896. Designed by architect W.G. Preston, its first owner was Elizabeth Davis Bliss Dewey, wife of Francis H. Dewey II, a trustee of the Mechanics’ National Bank and the Worcester Mechanics’ Savings Bank, which would be early tenants of the building. In 1902, an additional section of the building, 301-303 Main Street, was added, designed by Fuller & Delano. (more…)

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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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203 Church Street, Clinton (1885)

Original Post Office, 203 Church Street

The building at 203 Church Street in Clinton was built in 1885 and was the town’s first Post Office. The second floor was once rented to the Prescott Club, a private club for businessmen. In the 1940’s, the Liberty Club, an Italian-American organization, purchased the building. Renovated inside in 1987, the building is now used as retail and office space.

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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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