Tag Archives: Historic Houses Lenox

Brushwood Farms Oliver Root House

The origins of the name Brushwood Farms is still being investigated. The historic house at 36 Pittsfield Road (Route 7 & 20)is better described as the Oliver Root farm.

Oliver Root House

Photo from the 1990’s of 1792 Oliver Root House

 

 

 

 

 

 

The oldest part of the property is of classic Federalist style – symmetrical nine across windows. Oliver Root took possession of the property in 1792 and the house is dated to that year.

In the Quincy Grant, the property, as of 1763 was part of the holdings of David Pixley which ran from what would become East Street to what was then known as the country road.  Land “flipping” was a money maker in the day so from 1763 to 1768, it was (East Street Book, p. 118) in the hands of Amos Sanford, then to Thomas Tracey who died in 1776.  His son Ebeneezer inherited 20 acres which he deeded to Oliver Root Feb. 10, 1792.  The house is also dated 1792 which seems reasonable given the style, the timing of Oliver Root’s move to Lenox and his marriage and growing family.

Initially the property included a barn and blacksmith shop.  Currently the property includes several barns, a shop and a cottage. In the 1800’s several brick additions were made to the house.

The property’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places has been discussed (2009)

Oliver Root

Oliver Root, son of Samuel Root, was born in Southington CT Nov. 7, 1754.  He married Anna Holcomb Oct. 1, 1778 and moved to Lenox at about this time.

He may well have known other families that had moved from Connecticut to Lenox.  Both the prior owners of the property were born in Connecticut.

He served in the Revolutionary War (Cowell’s Co. of Militia, Wood’s Regiment).  He proudly called himself Capt. Root.  Given the dates, a reasonable guess is that the militia he served in was a Connecticut militia and that he had muster out by 1778.   Details of his service are unknown.

Oliver and Anna had seven children:

  1. Sarah Root (7/26/1779)
  2. Elizabeth Root (7/5/1781)
  3. Oliver Root (6/2/1783) – He became a doctor and died in Canaan, CT 9/21/1822.
  4. Anna Root (7/17/1786)
  5. Satial Root (2/1/1789)
  6. Lucinda Root (5/23/1791)
  7. Hiram Root (8/19/1793)

Oliver died 9/5/1797 and Anna died 7/17/1796.  MACRIS shows a sale to Luke Gates in 1797.

The 1890 map shows Roots living in the house and two properties across the street.  A John Root is mentioned as a property owner in The East Street Book.  Thirty three Roots are buried in the Church on the Hill cemetery (including Anna and Oliver). Most appear (based on their dates of death) to be grandchildren – or a different family.

It’s save to say that Oliver Root was an important town forefather with many Berkshire County descendants.

The Godwin Sisters

Sketch of Brushwood Farms Garden from the Lenox Historical Society (1919)

As of the early 20th century, the property was in the hands of Love Elizabeth Love Godwin (Love) and Fancis B. (Tiny) Godwin.  They were great granddaughters of editor and poet William Cullen Bryan.  Bryant had a summer home (still standing today) in Cummington.  During the winter they lived on the rebuilt Cedarmere which had been the “in town” home of their great grandfather.  Love was also an enthusiastic horsewoman and gardener.  

Brushwood Farms Present Day

The main house was home to the Sweet Basil Grill in the 1990’s. Since the restaurant closed the house has not  been maintained and is in poor condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The property, including the historic house, is for sale by owner George Hashim.

The property is in the mixed use Gateway District and will require ZBA site plan approval for development.  The Historical Commission is concerned that Dr. Hashim or other buyers will demolish the historic Oliver Root house.