50 Church St., Michael Mahanna House – c.1888

50 Church St

Based on Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

This Shingle style building has an asphalt shingle roof, is intact and has a brick center chimney.

This is one of the few Shingle Style 2 story houses in Lenox where the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles enjoyed greater popularity in the 1880’s and 1890’s. Vernacular interpretations of this style are somewhat unusual and this example displays only a few characteristics of the fully developed architect-designed shingle style. The over-sized front gable which dominates the main face has relatively little adornment. Paired windows punctuate the center of the gable and a two-story oriel projects slightly providing surface interest.

Dentils run beneath the oriel and between the second story and the gable. The dentils also ornament the smaller cross-gable on the side façade. The shingles from which this style takes its name are here used only on the upper portion of the house, with the shingled surface flaring out at the point where it meets the clapboards of the first story. The porch recessed into one corner of the house is another hallmark of the shingle style.

It is depicted on the 1893 Sanborn Map with attached barn & labeled “John Gorham Carriage Facy [factory]” in rear portion of property with additional miscellaneous buildings.

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE:

The original owner of this home was Michael Mahanna. Mr. Mahanna operated a livery stable on the premises and rented horses, carriages, sleighs and hacks for funerals.

Upon his death, his son, William T. Mahanna took over the property, renovating the house and detaching the sheds and barns used for the livery stables. He also built the barn that now exists to the rear of the premises. The new barn housed trotting horses as well as a family horse and pony. William Mahanna had extensive holdings in Lenox including the Mahanna Block on Main Street and the Mahanna Hotel on Church Street.

This house remained in the Mahanna family and in 1988 was owned by William Mahanna’s daughter, Marjorie and her husband Edward P. Daley. The property was sold to Anthony B. Chojnowski in 2007.

BIBLIOGRAPHY and/or REFERENCES:

1893 Sanborn Map

Conversations with Mr. & Mrs. Edward P. Daley

Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield, MA Books/Page 264/63 and 265/202

Lenox Assessor’s database 2011

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