Category Archives: Commercial

Reuben Whitcomb House & Store (1825)

11 Fairbank St., Harvard

The house at 11 Fairbank Street in Harvard was built between 1823 and 1831 by Reuben Whitcomb, who used it as both a residence (the south section) and a store (the north section). Whitcomb’s widow sold the building in 1865 to Alfred Farwell, who continued its use as a residence/store. For some years, the store section had been used by Gale and Dickson, owners of the town’s General Store, first for storing grain and then as a roller skating rink! In 1895, W.P. Farwell converted the former store area into a two-family residence. In 1946, Rachel and John McTigue bought the house from Gertrude Farwell Sawyer and restored the building to become the Harvard Inn, which had eight rooms for guests, three dining rooms and two sitting rooms. The Inn was converted to apartments in 1953 and from 1993 to 2012 served as affordable housing for the elderly.

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Clarke/Benjamin Block (1884)

Clarke/Benjamin Block

The Clarke Block in Stockbridge was built in 1884 by druggist William B. Clarke. It replaced an earlier drug store that had stood in front of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. When the old store burned down, the area where it stood was converted into a front yard for the church. Clarke built his new store on a lot east of the church. In addition to the store, the building housed the town’s post office. The building was later called the Benjamin Block for Eugene Benjamin, who ran the store and lived next door. In 1923, he moved the building to its present location, at 31 Main Street. It was soon after stuccoed and remodeled in the Colonial Revival style. Its original roof and many of its stylistic features, such as a Stick Style gable screen, modillions, and a hooded stained glass window, were replaced. Retained from the earlier facade are the angled second floor front bay windows and a stained glass segmental-arched window on the west side.

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Bond Corner Store (1929)

Bond Corner Store

In 1811, the Bond family opened a store at the corner of Main and Central Streets in Boylston. When the store burned down in 1929 it was replaced by a new building, which today has the appearance of an American Foursquare house (1 Central Street) set above a modern storefront on its west side (700 Main Street). It was known as the Bond Corner Store, then the Boylston Center Store and is now the Boylston Deli.

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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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New England Telegraph and Telephone Company Building, Holyoke (1931)

322 Maple St., Holyoke

The New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, now Verizon New England, Inc., was founded in 1883. Am I right in assuming this is the same as the New England Telegraph and Telephone Company? Having just previously occupied (from 1902) a building at the corner of Maple and Suffolk Streets in Holyoke, that company moved into a new Art Deco structure, located two blocks south (at 322 Maple Street), in 1931. The building has lost much of its original ornament.

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Morgan Block (1820)

Morgan Block, Westfield

The Morgan Block, 3-7 Court Street in Westfield, was built c. 1817-1820 by Major Archippus Morgan (1772-1857). Morgan operated a general store on the premises with his partner Martin Cowles and rented additional space for other shops. The YMCA’s first hall in Westfield opened in the building in 1866 (it was here for only three years). Sarah Morgan Way made alterations to the building later in the nineteenth century, adding the bay windows, dormer windows and entry door surrounds. The Morgan Block today houses various professional service offices.

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Harvard Shaker New Office Building (1841)

Harvard Shaker New Office Building

Replacing an earlier office next door (now at the Fruitlands Museum), the Harvard Shakers built the structure known as the New Office Building (or Second Trustees’ Office) the at 78 Shaker Road in 1840-1841. Here the Harvard Shakers had their dealings with the outside world. The large building housed the community’s Trustees, hired help and visitors (among whom were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne). A shop on the first floor sold the Shaker Sisters’ fancy work. In 1935/1936, architect Stanley Bruce Elwell remodeled the interior of the building as a summer residence for Robert Treat Paine. The novelist Thomas Wolfe was once interested in buying the house which, like the other buildings of the Harvard Shaker Village, remains a private residence.

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