Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cobb-Norton House (1830)

The Greater Westfield Chapter of the American Red Cross is headquartered in a Greek Revival house at 48 Broad Street in Westfield. Known as the Cobb-Norton House, it is believed to have been built by Cephas Cobb around 1830. Cobb‘s son, Gilbert, was a newspaper publisher and town clerk of Westfield. Gilbert Cobb‘s sister Clara married H.B. Smith, a boiler manufacturer. In 1855, the house was sold to Lewis K. Norton, a hardware merchant and bank president. The house was converted into a Red Cross headquarters in 1945 through the gift of Frederick L. Parker and his wife. Parker was president of the United States Whip Company.

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Landlord Fowler Tavern (1761)

Built around 1761 (perhaps as early as 1755), the Landlord Fowler Tavern is located at 171 Main Street in Westfield. Daniel Fowler was granted a tavern license in 1761 and the building continued to function as an inn until the 1830s. At the start of the American Revolution, Daniel Fowler served on the Committee of Correspondence, which met at the tavern. As related in The Westfield Jubilee (1870):

It is said that General Burgoyne, when he passed through this town as a prisoner from the field of Saratoga, spent the night at this tavern, and with true military politeness, kissed the wife of the landlord, on the morning of his departure.

Another prisoner of war to stay in the house during the Revolutionary War was Hessian commander General Friedrich von Riesdesel. H. C. Schaeffer owned the property between 1885 and 1916, during which time he conducted a cigar-making business on the premises. More recently, the former tavern has been restored and converted into apartments. The Fowler Tavern‘s original Connecticut River Valley broken scroll pediment doorway was removed in 1920 by Wallace Nutting and placed in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The current doorway on the building is a replica.

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Hadley Town Hall (1841)

The Greek Revival-style Town Hall of Hadley was built in 1841. It was constructed by William Pratt, a builder who was the father of architect William Fenno Pratt.

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Ball Block (1898)

The building pictured above is at 225 High Street in Holyoke, diagonally across the street from city hall. It was built in 1898 and known as the Ball Block (or Realty Building). It was later altered on its lower levels to become the Holyoke National Bank Building. Recently renovated (and winning a Preservation Award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission in 2005) the building is now known as the Latino Professional Building.

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Hotel Hamilton (1850)

This building in Holyoke, now vacant and condemned, was built around 1850 as a hotel called the Holyoke House. Located on Dwight Street, between Main and Race streets, it was later known as the Hotel Hamilton and was extensively remodeled and expanded around 1890. The building was purchased in 1911 by Joel Russell and then housed the J. Russell Hardware Company. The hotel closed in 1943 and the building was drastically renovated in 1947, when the top floor was removed (except from the wing on the left). Recently used by several social service agencies, the building is now unsafe and may not long survive. (more…)

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Merwin House (1825)

The Merwin House in Stockbridge was constructed around 1825 by Francis and Clarissa Dresser. It remained in the Dresser family until 1875, when they sold it to William and Elizabeth Doane of New York City. The couple named the house “Tranquility” and used it as a summer home. They substantially renovated the house in 1900, remodeling the interior and doubling the home’s by adding a shingle-style ell. The house was later the year-round home of the Doanes’ daughter, Vipont Merwin (1878-1965), and her third husband Edward Merwin, who died in 1932. She wanted the house, which was acquired by Historic New England in 1966, to become a museum and it is now open to the public several times a year. (more…)

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Mission House (1739)

Rev. John Sergeant was the first missionary to the Mohicans of Western Massachusetts. He came to Stockbridge in the mid-1730s and lived at first in a small cabin. In 1739, he married Abigail Williams and by 1742 had built what is now known as the Mission House. In 1751, Jonathan Edwards succeeded Rev. Sergeant as missionary. The Sergeant family continued to occupy the house until 1867. The elaborate front doorway was added in the 1760s. The house originally stood on Prospect Hill, but between 1926 and 1930, it was moved to its current location at 19 Main Street and was restored by Miss Mabel Choate, the owner of nearby Naumkeag. The Mission House’s gardens were designed from 1928 to 1933 by Fletcher Steele. The Mission House is now a property of the Trustees of Reservations. (more…)

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