Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church (1821)

Harvard Evangelical Congregational Church

In 1821, part of the membership of Harvard’s First Church who objected to the town’s granting use of the meeting house to the Unitarian Society split off to form their own separate congregation, the Calvinistic Congregational Society. As related in History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1732-1893 (1894) by Henry S. Nourse:

This formal withdrawal left the meeting-house and church furniture in legal possession of those refusing Calvinistic doctrines, and the records, though detained for a time by the clerk, Reuben Whitcomb, a leader in the new society, were soon surrendered to them. April 16, 1821, it was voted to apply to the town tor a piece of the common whereupon to build a meeting-house, and a committee was instructed to present a plan.

April 29 the town gave the ground now in possession of the society, agreeing to remove the pound and hearse-house, then standing upon it. A building forty-four feet by fifty was agreed upon, its cost being divided into one hundred shares of twenty-five dollars each.

Nourse describes later additions to the church:

In August, 1827, a subscription, headed by Seth Nason with a gift of one hundred dollars, was raised to add a cupola to the front of the meeting-house and provide a bell. The sum of $903.50 was obtained, and the addition was made, including an increase in the number of pews. In 1836 a new pulpit was built by a few individuals of the society.

[. . .] March 12, 1855, the society changed its name to “The Evangelical Congregational Society.” In 1858 the gallery pews in the meeting-house were fitted for more convenient use, and two years later the building of a “piazza” brought the church into temporary debt.

The building, at 5 Still River Road, continues to be the home of the Congregational Church of Harvard.

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Lewis J. Dudley House (1891)

293 Elm St., Northampton

Lewis J. Dudley was a prominent citizen of Northampton who built the Queen Anne house at 293 Elm Street sometime between 1891 and 1895. He may be the same Lewis J. Dudley who was the principal and owner of Northampton Collegiate Institute, a private school for boys, and the president of the Clarke School For The Deaf. Frances T. Krause bought the house in 1918 and Dr. David Koffman, the “Singing Chiropractor,” in 1974.

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Memorial Square Building (1911)

Memorial Square Building

Located in Springfield‘s Memorial Square neighborhood, near the former Memorial Congregational Church, now St. George Greek Orthodox Church, is the Memorial Square Building at 2291-2295 Main Street. Built in 1911 by the E. J. Pinney Company, the building (now called Memorial Square Apartments) has retail space on the first floor with five stories of apartments.

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Forbes Library, Northampton (1894)

Forbes Library

Forbes Library

Judge Charles E. Forbes, who wished to build a library for Northampton, left a bequest which funded the construction of the Forbes Library. Opened in 1894, the Richardsonian Romanesque building was designed by architect William Brocklesby of Hartford. The first Librarian (1894-1903) of Forbes was Charles Ammi Cutter, who had created the Cutter Expansive Classification System when he was Librarian at the Boston Athenaeum. The Forbes Library is also home to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum. Continue reading

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Fletcher-Hildreth House (1869)

8 Ayer Rd., Harvard

The French Second Empire house at 8 Ayer Road in Harvard was built in 1869 on the site of the Bigelow-Willard House, which was moved at 18 Ayer Road. The house was built by George H. Fletcher (b. 1833) and his wife, who moved to Clinton in the 1880s. The house was then occupied by tenants until it was acquired by Emily E. Hildreth, who made alterations the building, which included erecting the two-story entrance porch. Hildreth called the house Sunny Side and held weekly summer lectures there from 1888 to 1910. Miss Hildreth‘s sister, Mrs. F. E. Farwell next lived in the house, which was sold in the 1930s to the Dodge family.

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Fruitlands Farmhouse (1825)

Fruitlands Farmhouse

For seven months in 1843-1844, a farmhouse in the Town of Harvard served as the home of the Utopian agrarian commune called Fruitlands. Founded by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane and based on Transcendentalist principles, the experiment was not a success, failing due to the participants‘ inability to grow sufficient food. Alcott soon moved his family, including his daughter, the future author Louisa May Alcott, back to Concord, where he later purchased Orchard House to be the family home.

After the commune broke up, its land was bought by one of its former members, Joseph Palmer, who for 20 years used it as a refuge for reformers called Freelands. Clara Endicott Sears bought the property in 1910 and opened it as a museum in 1914. It is today part of the Fruitlands Museum. The farmhouse is described in its National Register of Historic Places nomination as typical of the late eighteenth-century. The Historic American Buildings Survey documentation describes it as an early 18th century farmhouse. The Fruitlands Museum website describes it as having been built in 1825.

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Asa Colton House (1775)

44 Colton Place

The various sections of the house at 44 Colton Place in Longmeadow were built at different times, but its earliest section, dating to 1775, is attributed to Asa Colton. He was a veteran of the Colonial Wars who fought at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1748. Some sources say the house was later the home of Daniel Burbank, a veteran of the Civil War, while another states that it was sold out of the Colton family in 1865 to D. Erskine Burbank, son of Daniel Burbank (died 1865), the local butcher. Erskine Burbank served in the state legislature during the Civil War and was Justice of the Peace for 28 years. Around 1900, the house was moved from its original location, at the current site of the Center School Annex on Longmeadow Green, to its present address.

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