The Manse, Northampton (1744)

The Manse

The Manse is a house at 54 Prospect Street in Northampton. It was built in 1744 (or as early as 1737?) on the foundation of the original 1684 parsonage house of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, Northampton’s second minister and the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards. The original house passed to Rev. Stoddard’s son, Colonel John Stoddard, who built the current house. Col. Stoddard negotiated the return of the captives taken to Canada from the Deerfield Raid of 1704. The Stoddard family owned the house until 1812. A later resident was Josiah Gilbert Holland, an editor of the Springfield Republican and a founder and editor of Scribner’s Monthly. Holland also wrote novels, poetry and such non-fiction works as a History of Western Massachusetts (1855) and an influential biography of Abraham Lincoln, published in 1866. He and his wife Elizabeth were also friends and frequent corespondents of Emily Dickinson. The house’s cupola is a mid-nineteenth-century addition. The house was an inn for a time in the twentieth century.

Meetinghouse, Hancock Shaker Village (1793)

The Meetinghouse, Hancock Shaker Village

The original Meetinghouse at Hancock Shaker Village was built in 1786. To gain more space, its first roof, a gambrel, was altered to a gable roof in 1871. By the late nineteenth century, the Shakers primarily used the meeting room in the Brick Dwelling for worship services. In the early twentieth century the Meetinghouse was being used for storage. It was taken down in 1938. In 1962, after Hancock Shaker Village became a museum, it acquired the Meetinghouse from the former Shaker Village in Shirley. The Shirley Meetinghouse was then moved to Hancock. Built in 1793 by by Moses Johnson, who had constructed the Hancock Meetinghouse (among many others), the Shirley Meetinghouse is the only eighteenth-century Shaker Meetinghouse to remain unaltered in its original firm.

William Cullen Bryant Homestead (1785)

William Cullen Bryant Homestead

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was a major poet and for 50 years was editor and publisher of The New York Evening Post. He was born in a log cabin in Cummington. When he was two, Bryant‘s father, Dr. Peter Bryant, moved the family to a house in Cummington that the doctor’s father-in-law had built in circa 1783-1785. The house became young William Cullen Bryant‘s boyhood home and is now called the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. In 1865, after the old farmhouse had been out of the family for 30 years, Bryant purchased and extensively altered it in to reflect Victorian stylistic tastes. He began by raising the original section of the house, creating a new ground floor. He also added a gambrel-roofed study, a replica of his father’s medical office, which projects from the front facade, and constructed an addition to the house’s original rear ell. The renovated house would serve as his summer home until his death. It is now owned by the Trustees of Reservations and can be toured by the public. Read More

Sessions House (1710)

Sessions House is a colonial residence at 109 Elm Street in Northampton that is now used as a Smith College dormitory. It was built around 1710 (or perhaps as early as 1700) by Captain Jonathan Hunt (1665-1738) and was the first house in Northampton to be built outside the early settlement’s protective stockade. The house has a staircase that was originally designed as a secret passageway for the family to hide in during Native American raids. The house passed to the Henshaw family by marriage and was later owned by other families. Eventually, around 1900, it passed to Mrs. Ruth Huntington Sessions, who ran it as off campus housing for Smith College students. Born in Cambridge in 1859, Ruth Huntington moved with her parents to Syracuse, New York when her father, Frederic Dan Huntington, became Episcopal Bishop of Central New York. In 1880, her family sent her to Europe, where she studied piano under Clara Schumann. In 1887 she married Archibald Lowery Sessions and moved with him to New York City. A social activist and writer (her memoir, Sixty Odd: A Personal History, was published in 1936), Sessions (d. 1946) spent her summers at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House in Hadley, given to her by her father, and her winters in Northampton. She sold the Northampton house to Smith College in 1921. Read More

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.

Thomas Smith House (1757)

Built c. 1757, the Thomas Smith House stands at 251 North West Street in the Feeding Hills section of Agawam. Thomas Smith was born in Suffield (now in Connecticut, but then in Massachusetts) in 1725, married Esther Ball in 1755, and died in 1814. The house, previously known as the Matthew Noble House (Noble, one of Agawam’s earliest settlers, first owned the land on which the house was built), was purchased by the Agawam Historical Association in 2002. Remarkable for the fact that it has not been significantly altered since it built, the Association has restored (pdf) the the house with funding from the Agawam Community Preservation Act. It is now a living history house museum.

Eden-Browne-Sanders House (1762)

The asymmetrically-laid-out house at 40 Summer Street in Salem was built around 1762 by Capt. Thomas Eden (d. 1768), who lived with his family in one part while running a retail shop in the other. Later owners partitioned the house as a residence between them. In 1889, the entire house was owned by the Browne family and in 1923 it was purchased by the Sanders family. The house has a matched-board gable end.