The Baptist Church in the community of Still River in the town of Harvard was organized in 1776 by fourteen members of Harvard’s First Church. In 1782, the Baptist Society acquired the first meeting house building used in nearby Leominster. It was dismantled and reassembled as the Still River Baptist Church on land donated by the congregation’s first pastor, Dr. Isaiah Parker. The old meeting house was moved again to serve as a parsonage when the current church was built in 1832. Various alterations were made to the 1832 church over the years, including an addition in 1902. In 1967, the building, which is located at 213 Still River Road, was acquired by the Harvard Historical Society with the stipulation that they preserve the sanctuary, organ (added in 1870), and various furnishings. The Society converted the vestry into exhibit space
The Worcester Society of Antiquity was first organized in 1875. The Society acquired a permanent home after Stephen Salisbury III donated land at 39 Salisbury Street and $25,000 towards the construction of a new building. Built in 1890-1891, it was designed by Barker and Nourse. It was formally opened on June 28, 1892. The organization’s name was changed to the Worcester Historical Society in 1919 and to the Worcester Historical Museum in 1978. The Museum moved to a new and larger location at 30 Elm Street in 1988. The Museum’s former home is now used as a commercial building.
Shaker communities were guided by two Elders and two Eldresses who together were known as the Ministry. Hancock Shaker Village was overseen by a Ministry that also had responsibility for the Shaker communities in Tyringham, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut. Like the Shaker brethren and sisters, the Elders and Eldresses were also required to perform hand-labor. The Ministry had an early workshop at Hancock Shaker Village that was moved to north side of Route 20 in 1829 when the Brick Dwelling was constructed. By 1848 there were two Ministry shops, one for Elders and one for Eldresses. A new Ministry Shop was built in 1873 on the foundation of one of these earlier shops. The Ministry Shop was later used as a home for Shakers who had been displaced by the closure of the Enfield, Connecticut community in 1917. Read More
A barn, constructed in 1782 on the Porter-Phelps-Huntington estate, was moved in 1930 to the rear of the Hadley Town Hall. It is now home to the Hadley Farm Museum, which houses a collection of vehicles and equipment used on New England farms from the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. When it was moved, the barn‘s exterior was redecorated with white painted clapboards. A doorway was added, which is a copy of the famous Connecticut River Valley doorway of the Samuel Porter House in Hadley.
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.
In 1813, the Shakers of Hancock constructed a building, the Trustees’ Office, in which to conduct business and accommodate visitors from what they referred to as “The World.” Part of Hancock Shaker Village, it is located just across the border from Hancock in Pittsfield (the town line passes through the eastern end of the village). In 1852 the Shakers more than doubled the size of the original building by extending it to the south. It was also reoriented to face west. A kitchen ell was added in 1876, which joined the Office to a woodshed to the east. The entire structure was completely altered in an eclectic Victorian style in 1895. There was also a gift shop/fancy goods store in the building. The Office was home to the Trustee and Central Ministry Eldress Mary Frances Hall (b. 1876) until her death in 1957. Read More