The building at 340 Main Street in Worcester was built c. 1894-1897 to designs by the prestigious architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. Known today as the Commerce Building (named for later tenant Commerce Bank), it was originally built for the State Mutual Life Insurance Company. Founded in 1844-1845 as the nation’s fifth life insurance company, it had previously been located in an 1870 building at 240 Main Street.
Three buildings on North Street in Pittsfield are depicted in the image above. On the left is the Blaisdell, 413-419 North Street, built in 1907 for the head of the Blaisdell-Kavy Co., and designed by Pittsfield architect George Edward Haynes. In the center is the Wood Brothers Building, 421-429 North Street, also designed by Haynes. It was built in 1922-1923 to house the Wood Brothers music store, founded in 1880 and still in business today at another location. The building’s facade is constructed of 40 tons of cast stone from the Art Stone Co. of Millers Falls. The building on the right, 441-445 North Street, is the Farrell Building. Dating to 1913-1915, it is also the work of Haynes.
The building at 245 High Street in Holyoke was built c. 1885. It was originally owned and designed by architect James A. Clough. By 1888 the building was owned by Gilbert Russell and Archie J. Osborne, who ran a hardware and cutlery shop. By 1891, William W. Porter’s Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke Express, a trucking and teamsters service, operated out of the same shop. As described in the Hardware Dealers’ Magazine (May, 1918):
The firm of G. E. Russell & Co., which has been in business for 35 years in Holyoke. Mass, has changed its name to the Osborne Hardware Co. There is no change in the personnel of the firm. A. J. Osborne, whose name the firm adopts, has been conducting the business since 1907. Mrs. G. E. Russell’s interest purchased by Mr. Osborne.
Archie J. Osborne went with Mr. Russell as clerk to learn the hardware business. Six years later he was taken into the firm. Mr. Russell died in 1907 and since then Mr. Osborne has conducted the business.
Mr. Osborne is one of the charter members of the New England Hardware Dealers’ Association. He was its first vice president and was president in 1914; is also an active member of the Western Massachusetts Hardware Dealers’ Association and was president of that organization also. For thirty years or more Mr. Osborne has been engaged in the hardware trade. He was born in North Hadley, Mass, on Jan. 18, 1862, and attended the schools of that town.
Mr. Osborne is president of the Chamber of Commerce, an organization with which he has been actively connected years. He was vice president for a number of years, when he carried the burden of the association, being always ready to put his shoulder to the wheel in any movement for the betterment of Holyoke. He is also active as a member of the Rotary Club.
L. J. Rigali, a dealer in cigars and tobacco, erected the building at 341-346 High Street in Holyoke (on the right in the image above) in 1887. It was designed by George P. B. Alderman. Various businesses have occupied the building over the years. Just to the left of the Rigali building in the picture above is the building at 345-347 High Street, occupied by the YMCA from the late 1880s until 1893 and then occupied by the YWCA until 1910. In the late 1940s the two buildings were taken over by Henry A. Moquin (1919-1976), a dance instructor who restored the structures and had his dance studio on the third floors.