Old Berkshire Athenaeum (1876)

Berkshire Athenaeum

The old Berkshire Athenaeum building, at 44 Bank Row in Pittsfield, was built in 1874-1876. A gift of railway magnate Thomas Allen, it is a High Victorian Gothic building, designed by William Appleton Potter of New York, and displays that style’s distinctive ploychromatic masonry. An addition was made to the rear of the building in 1897. The addition was raised to two stories in 1926, the same year the building’s chimneys were removed. The building served as Pittsfield’s library until 1976, when a new building was constructed across the street on Wendell Avenue. The building was also home to the county museum until the Berkshire Museum was built in 1903. The Athenaeum had responsibility for the museum until it became a separate institution in 1932. The old Athenaeum building stood vacant for three years until it reopened in 1980 as an annex to the Berkshire County Courthouse. It currently houses the Berkshire Probate and Family Court.

Share Button

One Response to Old Berkshire Athenaeum (1876)

  1. Dana T says:

    Reminds me of Frank Furness’s work in Philadelphia– like the Penna Academy of the Fine Arts on N. Broad Street.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *