The brick house at 21 Park Street in Florence in Northampton was built in 1846 by Hall Judd, a founder and last secretary of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. Part of the communitarian movement of the nineteenth century, the NAEI was a utopian community that was dissolved the same year that Judd was building his home. From 1851 to 1894, the house residence to (his widow?) Frances P. Judd. Dormer windows and a wraparound porch were added to the house around 1910. The house has a hidden staircase that suggests it was used in the Underground Railroad.
In 1877 a house on Deerfield‘s Town Common on the Old Albany Road was moved back to make way for a new main school building constructed by Deerfield Academy (and since demolished). The house was believed at the time to have been the one built in 1707 for Reverend John Williams. Survivor of the 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield and subsequent captivity in Canada, Rev. Williams wrote the book The Redeemed Captive about his experiences. His new house replaced the one destroyed in the raid. The current Williams House was actually built in 1760 on the site of the 1707 house by Rev. John Williams’ son, Elijah Williams, who was a shopkeeper and tavern-owner. When the house was in danger of being torn down in 1877, Deerfield historian George Sheldon wrote a series of articles (collected in the book The Rev. John Williams House, published in 1918) that raised awareness of the home’s importance and helped save it from destruction. Today the house is used by Deerfield Academy as the Elijah Williams Dormitory. The house’s original Connecticut River Valley doorway, crafted in 1760 by Samuel Partridge, a renowned joiner, was removed in 2001 to preserve and display it (the doorway is now in Historic Deerfield‘s Flynt Center of Early New England Life). The current doorway is a reproduction.
This is the 600th post for Historic Buildings of Massachusetts! The oldest house in Hadley is the Samuel Porter House at 26 West Street. It was built in 1713 by Samuel Porter (1660-1722), the son of Samuel Porter, an original settler of Hadley. The house is famed for its Connecticut River Valley scroll pedimented doorway, which was probably added to house by Eleazer Porter in about 1761. The house remained in the Porter family until 1868, when it was purchased by Oliver Thayer, a stagecoach driver. It was later in the McQueston family for over a century. A nineteenth-century side porch was later replaced by the current two-level porch on the south side of the house. The property is currently for sale.
The Nathaniel Seymour House in Stockbridge was built in 1814 by a tailor and later owned by the Seymour family of storekeepers. Later owned by William Seymour, after his death it was sold in 1923 to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and moved to be set back from the street in front of the Parish House (the former George Seymour House), to become St. Paul’s Rectory.
On Main Street in Northampton are two nearly identical commercial blocks located side-by-side. The Fleming Block, on the left, was built in 1868 at 189-191 Main Street. It replaced the earlier Lyman Block. The Astman or Williams Block, on the right, was built in 1871 at 183-187 Main Street to replace a building destroyed in the fire of 1870.
The house at 51 Court Street in Westfield was built in 1845-1846 for Merwin Loomis, a prominent grocer, and his wife, Lydia. Later, the house was the residence of his granddaughter, Florence, and her husband, Harold Stevens, a former bank treasurer for the Hampden National Bank. Today, the house is home to Lydia’s Gathering Place, a by-reservation-only dining alternative for Small Group Gatherings named for Lydia Loomis.
The Village Library Association was founded in South Deerfield in 1871 and in 1893 it became the South Deerfield Village Library, supported by town funds. The library had several homes, moving from a room in a private building to a newly erected room in the Congregational Chapel in 1876, it moved again in 1906 to the ground floor of Tilton’s Grocery Store. Chauncey B. Tilton, a local grocer, had died in 1900. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts later ruled that money he had left for charitable purposes could be used for literary or educational purposes. This enabled the construction of Tilton Library, built in 1915-1916 as a permanent home for the South Deerfield Village Library. In the late twentieth century, Tilton Library merged with Old Deerfield’s Dickinson Library to become the town of Deerfield’s public library.