Lenox History – Celebrating 250 Years

In 2017 Lenox celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding  March 5, 1767.  

North Lenox

“ For three weeks I drove every day 7 miles and back through a lovely hill country in richest livery of summer.”

…..From “Central Berkshires” by George Blatchford (Thank you Cornelia Gilder) quoting Constance Cary Harrison re driving back and forth to Pittsfield in 1898 to visit her son recovering from appendicitis.  The 1901 photo reflects what her drive on today’s Route 7 would have been like.

The area of Lenox (roughly from the DPW north to Dan Fox Drive and from Lenox Mountain to the Housatonic East-West) that would have remained rural and agricultural the longest is today the most altered.

We will be posting a series on North Lenox to help us imagine what it would have been like.  When the Lenox Historical Society is able to open again, it will be the next exhibit.

 Farms  and  Families- East Street Area

With its mountains and swamps, Lenox must have been challenging for early farmers…with the possible exception of what is now East Street.  The relatively level land must have been attractive to the Washburn’s, Northrup’s and Sedgwick’s who settled there.

Lenox Historical Society, 65 Main St.

Due to Covid19 open by appointment only.  Contact lenoxhistory@gmail.com

65 Main St., Lenox Academy - c. 1802
65 Main St., Lenox Academy – c. 1803

Jan Chague’s book The History of Lenox Furnace and Lenox Dale and the commemorative map of Lenox Dale are available for purchase

Learn About Lenox at 250 with Some New Books on Lenox History

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This book (written by the author of this website) is an updated chronology  from numerous published and unpublished sources (an update of the no-longer in print David Wood book, Lenox., Massachusetts Shiretown written at the time of the 1967 bicentennial). The new book describes the landscape, Native American inhabitants, early settlement, the Revolutionary War, the town’s days as the county seat, its attraction as an early 19th century cultural mecca as well as the era of being a nationally known Gilded Age resort. The book looks at the impact of national and regional events – wars, the economy, and lifestyle changes-on Lenox. Available as an ebook on Amazon 

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And, available  on Amazon in hardcover and ebook, a new history of Lenox told in photographs from our own Amy LaFave of the Lenox Library.  This history pictures the early days, war heroes, development of the estates and the village of Lenox.

Contact: lenoxhistory@gmail.com

Sponsored by:

Lenox Historical Commission, Lenox Town Hall, 6 Walker St., Lenox, MA 01240

 

Lenox Historical Society
Lenox Historical Society
Then & Now: Shipton Court as it was in the days of Emily & Edward Spencer, now Seven Hills Inn

The oldest parts of the inn and carriage house date back to an 18th century farmhouse on the site. In 1885, Robert W. Chapin bought what was then the F.W. Rackeman house and expanded it as his Lenox cottage, "Norwood" (later changed to "Southwood"). Author Archibald Clavering Gunter rented it through the 1890s. In 1911 the Spencers bought and radically rebuilt it, dismantling their London & NYC homes to have 9.5 tons of furnishings shipped here by American Express. A descendant of William Bradford whose sister was a French Countess, Emily Spencer - along with her pet rooster David, and her pet pig in Parisian dresses- clung to the fading Gilded Age well into the Great Depression.

Fallen into disarray by the end of the 40s, it was saved, further expanded (as shown here) and made an inn by Larry and Sophie Howitt in the 1950s.