Tag Archives: Lenox Gilded AGe

136 Main, Congregational Church Parsonage – c.1895

136 Main St., Congregational Church Parsonage
136 Main St., Congregational Church Parsonage


This is a fine example of the Queen Anne style, and displays the eclectic decorative elements characteristic of the style. The cut shingles and half-timbering provide surface interest, while the varied window shapes are another decorative feature. This is perhaps an unusually ornate residence for a Congregational minister, but it reflects the prosperity of Lenox at the time of its construction.

This Queen Anne style building has two stories, a slate roof and is intact. It is a two bay, wood frame house with a cross-gable roof. There is a gable dormer on the front and gabled wall dormers on the left and right sides. There is a Palladian attic window in each dormer and the cladding is wood clapboard and decorative shingle.

The organization is asymmetrical and there is an irregular footprint. The enclosed front porch is glazed with turned posts and a gable feature over the entry. There is a two-story box bay on the front facade to the right of the entry with sunburst decoration on corner brackets supporting a gable roof overhang.

There is a two-story faceted bay window on the right side. A right-side porch extends from the bay window and has a hipped roof, slender Doric columns and spindled balustrades. There are 2-over-1 and 2-o-2 windows and a stone foundation


This house stands on the site of the original Congregational parsonage, a brick building dating from 1852. By the 1890’s it had fallen into disrepair and the congregation elected to build a new house on the same site.

According to a turn-of-the-century magazine article, “Few Congregational Churches in Massachusetts have so fine a home for their ministers”. This reflects the prosperity of Lenox during this period.

This house was used as a parsonage until 1925, when the Congregational Church was given the Worthington House on Cliffwood Street which became the home of the minister. For many years it was the home of Edith O. Fitch, a long-time Lenox Librarian. The old parsonage was acquired by the Toole family and then in 1978 by the Biancolo family. It has since been used as a private residence.


Church records.

New England Magazine, “The Church on the Lenox Hilltop and Round About It” by Frederick Lynch. October 1990.

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

134 Main St., St. Ann’s Rectory -c.1880

134 Main St., St. Ann's Rectory - c. 1880
134 Main St., St. Ann’s Rectory – c. 1880

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Queen Anne style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been minimally altered. It has a three-bay, center entrance; wood frame; hipped roof; hipped dormer on the right side; and a brick end-wall chimney on the left side. It has a full front porch with six Doric columns, spindled balusters. There is a three-story faceted bay window with a hipped roof left of the center entrance and a two-story faceted bay window with a hipped roof to the right of the entrance. It has Queen Anne-style windows with small square lights surrounding a large one. The two hipped roof pavilions on the right side of the house have an enclosed/ glazed balcony between them. Below this balcony, a previous open porch was altered and enclosed after 1939 (per Sanborn Map).


The initial structure was built as a rectory for the original St. Ann’s (1871), and used as such until 1912, when Father Grace moved into The Willows, which had been purchased by the church in 1905. After that, the house was sold and converted to use as a funeral home. Later it was once again converted for church use.

First depicted on 1893 and 1939 Sanborn Maps


1893 Sanborn Map

Historical Sketch – Centenary of St. Ann’s Church, Lenox, Massachusetts 1870-1970.

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012


120 Main St., John M. Cook House – c.1884

old St. Ann's Church - the willows 1884_NEW

120 Main St., John M. Cook House - c. 1884
120 Main St., John M. Cook House – c. 1884

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Queen Anne style building has two stories, a slate roof and has been altered. It has a three-bay, center entrance that is wood framed. It has a gable roof, double bracketed eaves and two shed-roofed dormers with 18-light windows on the front over outer bays. There is a one gable-roofed rear wall dormer, a brick endwall chimney on the left side. The exterior is wood clapboard (1st fl.) and decorative shingle (2nd fl. and dormers) siding. There is a two-story front entrance pavilion with modillions. There is a Palladian window on the second floor with tracery in the center, an arched window, embellished with entablature complete with a dentiled cornice, and pilasters flanking smaller side windows. Modillions and six turned posts remain from the original porch. There are large Queen Anne-style 29-over-1 multi-pane sash windows that flank the pavilion on the second (small square lights in the upper sash). There are 15-light French windows on the side of the pavilion and a one-story box bay window on the right side. There is a one-story rear lean-to; original double front doors; and a stone foundation.


John M. Cook*, identified in an 1885 directory as a farmer and manager for E.J. Woolsey, purchased this lot from Elizabeth Bangs* in 1883 and built this house soon after. Cook resided here for a year or two, but by 1886 the house was rented out to Ambrose Kingsland of New York, and was thereafter rented to “distinguished summer visitors.”[1] In 1905 it was purchased by Father William F. Grace, acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, for use as a rectory for St. Ann’s. The Willows continued to be rented out until 1912, when the new church had been built and Father Grace took formal possession. It was used as a rectory until it was sold and converted to a funeral home currently owned by Edward J. Roche.

*”Henry Cook” on 1854 Clark Map; “C. Bangs” on 1876 Beers Map


1854 Clark Map, 1876 Beers Map

Old Form B

Town Assessor’s Report

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012


[1] Historical Sketch – Centenary of St. Ann’s Church, Lenox, Massachusetts 1870-1970


84 Main St., Julius Parsons Meat Market – c.1881

84 Main St., Julius Parson's Meat Market - c. 1881
84 Main St., Julius Parson’s Meat Market – c. 1881

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012


This Italianate style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been significantly altered. There is a one-story, storefront (c.1950 addition), four bays on the second floor and a front façade. The building is wood framed with a flat or shallow shed roof. It has a cornice band and four oversized decorative brackets (one on each end) with smaller scroll sawn brackets between. It has wood shingle siding glass and aluminum framed display windows and door, and a front parapet wall.


This building was originally owned by Julius Parsons, a butcher who operated his meat market from the ground floor and lived with his family upstairs.   In 1919 the property was purchased by Walcott Gregory, who opened Gregory’s Market on the premises. The market remained in the Gregory family until 1977. Common names included Gregory’s Market, Cimini’s Market and O’Brien’s Market.

This appears to be one of the few frame commercial buildings to have survived the 1909 fire which destroyed much of Lenox’s business district.

New research suggests the date of the building could be earlier. Building footprint changes are shown between 1854 (Clark Map) and 1876 (Beers Map). The property is labeled “H. Phelps” on the 1876 Beers which matches footprints in later maps, thus an earlier building could have been remodeled to this late 19th century style. The building was converted to a store by 1939 (Sanborn Map) and storefront addition (as noted above) were made after this date.

The property is currently a market and is owned by Daniel W. O’Brien.


1854 Clark Map, 1876 Beers Map, 1939 Sanborn Map

Old Form B

Town Assessor’s Report

Lenox Assessor’s database 2012

12 Housatonic St., George C. Haven Cottage – 1881

12 Housatonic St

From Surveys Completed 2011-2012 by the Lenox Historical Commission


This Gothic Revival/Queen Anne style building has two stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been significantly altered. It has a wood frame with wood clapboard siding, a Jerkin-head gable roof and dormer roofs. There are three dormers on the front as well as on the rear. First-story faceted bay windows with panels below, flank the current center entrance. There are curved verge-boards on front gables, some 2-over-2 windows and authentic window blinds. It has stone & brick foundations (partially parged).

This large summer cottage contains a variety of decorative elements, including the clipped gables, scalloped verge boards, and ornamental stick work in the gables. The larger section of the building was probably intended to house the summer guests, while the smaller gable front wing appears to have been designed as a servant’s wing or second rental unit. This was one of two identical cottages situated on Main Street, with the gable end oriented to the street.


Not depicted on 1876 Beers Map. First depicted on the 1893 Sanborn Map.

This was one of two buildings known as the Elm Cottages, built by George G. Haven on Main St., just north of the Lenox Library (Second County Courthouse). The land containing the county jail, jailer’s house, and a county barn, had been sold to Thomas Post, Joseph Tucker, Andrew Servin and Henry Bishop by the “Inhabitants of Berkshire County” in 1871, after the County seat had moved to Pittsfield. Post sold his portion of the lot to George G. Haven in 1881, at which time Haven mortgaged the property for $6,250 and built two large summer cottages. This one was rented to W. C. Schermerhorn, who purchased the house in 1887. In 1910, the building was moved to its present site by Frank C. Hagyard when he built the drugstore at the corner of Main and Housatonic Streets.

The property was purchased by the Baron Realty Trust on February 1, 1988 and by the Jaki Nominee Trust on May 19, 2000.


1876 Beers Map, 1893, 1898, 1905, 1911 and 1939 Sanborn Maps

Registry of Deeds, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 210, 219, 244.323-5, 268.165

The Book of Berkshire. Clark W. Bryan (N.Y.: Clark W. Bryan & Co., 1886) p. 45

The New Book of Berkshire. Clark W. Bryan (Great Barrington: Clark W. Bryan & Co. 1890)

Lenox and the Berkshire Highlands. R. DeWitt Mallary (N.Y. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1902) p.179

Lenox Assessor’s database 2011

6 Main St., Curtis Hotel – 1829

Curtis and old town hall_NEW

6 Main St., Curtis Hotel - 1829
6 Main St., Curtis Hotel – 1829

Information from Surveys Completed 2011-2012


This Georgian/Colonial Revival style building has four stories, an asphalt shingle roof and has been altered. It is masonry construction with brick laid up with common bond–red mortar used in oldest remaining section. It is hipped roof and symmetrically organized with a 7-bay front façade with 3-bay center pavilion with pediment, dentils & modillions. It has a fanlight at attic level with keystone. There are 4 large brick chimneys in front portion of buildging-1 on each side wall, 2 front wall at outer edges of center pavilion. There are corner pilasters. The 1-story front porch wraps around to the right (South) side with a canopied entrance extending from the right. There are front gable dormers on sides of rear extension with Gothic Revival-style decorative verge boards. There is a full-story faceted bay window at the junction between new front section and older rear wing on the right (South) side of building in place by 1898 and the extension of the rear wing, with faceted bay was in place by 1905.

Berkshire Week article quoted from pamphlet put out by the hotel that William D. Curtis undertook a major renovation “soon after he gained ownership of the hotel” (1854) thus dating the angled rear wing to this time period, hence the Gothic Revival-style dormers. The plaque on rear façade reads: “1829 – 1982 Restoration of the Curtis [Hotel] into Housing for Older People [&] Commercial Facilities…Barry Architects, Inc.”

Harding and Seaver Architects

George C. Harding (1867-4/23/1921)

“Senior member of the firm of Harding & Seaver, architects of several noted public buildings in the New England area. Mr. Harding was a native and life-long citizen of Pittsfield, educated in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and had been active professionally since 1896. After working alone for a time, in 1902 he formed a partnership with Henry M. Seaver, and under the firm name acquired a wide and successful practice. His most important works include the following buildings: Museum of Natural History and Art at Pittsfield, 1907; the Y.M.C.A. Building, 1908; Lathrop Hall, 1905, and Memorial Chapel, 1914, at Colgate University, Hamilton, N.Y.; Town Hall at Lenox, Mass., 1903, and Colby Academy at New London, N.H. Mr. Harding also designed a number of fine homes, one distinguished example being the country house of former Senator Crane at Dalton, Mass.” [1]

From MACRIS List – Sept. 16, 2008

Inv. No Property Name Street City/Town Year Built
LEN.25 Lenox Town Hall 6 Walker St Lenox 1901
LEN.296 Slater, William House 249 Under Mountain Rd Lenox 1901
LEN.23 Curtis Hotel 6 Main St Lenox 1829
LEN.19 Hagyard, Frank C. Store 36 Main St Lenox 1910
LEN.100 Hegeman, Annie May House 61 Cliffwood St Lenox 1925
LEN.26 Lenox Fire House 14 Walker St Lenox 1909
LEN.29 Peters, Leonard C. Block 46-50 Walker St Lenox 1917


Henry M. Seaver (3/6/1873 – ?

The Edward A. Jones Memorial Building was designed by Pittsfield architect Henry M. Seaver. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1897 and began his own architectural firm in 1901.[2] By 1903 he had entered into a partnership with George C. Harding that lasted until Harding’s death in 1921.[3] During that period the firm designed the YMCA Building in Pittsfield; the Chapel at Colgate University in central New York; the Museum of Natural History and Art in Pittsfield; the Colby Academy in New London, New Hampshire; and the Lenox Town Hall.[4] After Harding’s death in 1921, Seaver kept the office open through 1933, during which time he designed the Jones building at the House of Mercy. Other buildings for which he was responsible in this period include the R.J. Flick Residence; an addition to the Berkshire Life Building in Pittsfield; and an addition to the Pittsfield Boys Club Building. He was also an associate architect on the Pittsfield High School Building.[5]

The Curtis is one of the largest and most imposing buildings in the town center. The original temple front structure, which forms the core of the present building, was probably designed as a counterpart to the Second County Courthouse of 1816 (now the Lenox Library). During the course of the nineteenth century the building was greatly expanded, and some of the decorative elements on these additions are notably Victorian (most notably the gabled dormers on the southern façade). However, the use of red brick and the continuation of the classical cornice around the building gives it a unified appearance that belies its many changes.


The following information is from the 1/31/1987 Form B.

This corner has been the sight of an inn of some sort since at least 1773 when the tavern standing here served as a stop on the stagecoach route from Hudson, N.Y. to Pittsfield. Traffic in the town increased after Lenox was made the county seat in 1787. From about 1793 the Berkshire Coffee House operated on this site, and became famous as the gathering spot for people conducting business at the county Courthouse (then located across the street on the present site of Town Hall).

In 1829 a brick hotel was built by Peck and Phelps, “at the urgent request and demand of persons attending the courts for increased and sufficient accommodations.”  For short time iw was rented to George W. Platner, and was then purchased by major S. Wilson. According to one mid-century guidebook “ the principal hotel – so situated as to command a favorable view, both of the village and distant scenery – has become, under the care of its efficient proprietor, M.S. Wilson, Esq., a favorite resort for visitors from the cities.”


The hotel was purchased by William O.Curtis in 1853, and has been known as the Curtis Hotel ever since. The Curtis family was responsible for much of the hotel’s ensuing success, and William O. Curtis and his son, William D. Curtis, were active members of the community. The loss of the County Court in 1868 had little impact on business at the Curtis, which by this time was catering to a growing number of seasonal visitors. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, and accelerating rapidly after the Civil War, a stream of visitors came from New York, Boston, and other cities to experience the healthful climate, take in the views from its veranda, and join in the social activities that took place there. Many guests returned year after year: some, desiring more space and privacy than the hotel rooms afforded, rented houses on Main and Walker Streets, also owned by the Curtis’s. These became known as “Curtis Cottages” and their occupants as “cottagers”; this has been cited as the origin of the term “cottagers” to describe wealthy summer residents in Berkshire.

By the final decade of the 19th Century the Curtis served as overflow housing for owners of large estates, or was used by the estate-owners themselves before and after the “season” when their homes were not fully staffed. The building was greatly enlarged in 1883 and again in 1898 to accommodate these patrons.

The Curtis family continued to operate the hotel through the 1930’s, but he decline of summer visitors to Lenox (brought about by the institution of the income tax and the stock market crash of 1929, which made the upkeep of a large estate nearly impossible; and the Depression of the 1930’s which restricted the traveling of most Americans) made the business difficult to keep up, and the building was sold after World War II. Although subsequent owners kept it operational as a marginally successful hotel, the building suffered from some neglect and deterioration. After failed attempts to revitalize the hotel by new owners in 1970 and 1976, the town of Lenox acquired the building in 1979 and converted it to use as housing for the elderly, with retail space on the first floor.


1976 Berkshire Week publication July 30-Aug. 5, 1976

History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Joseph E. A. Smith, 1885, p. 219.

Taghconic: or Letters and legends about our Summer Home

Lenox – Massachusetts Shire Town.   David H. Wood, 1969.

Lenox Assessor’s database 2011

[1] Henry F. Withey, AIA and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased)(Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970) p. 264.

[2] Berkshire Athenaeum/Pittsfield Library, History Department, Architects file.

[3] Henry F. Withey, AIA and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased)(Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970) p 264.

[4] Massachusetts Cultural Resource Inventory System (MACRIS) online at: <http://mhc-macris.net>

[5] Berkshire Athenaeum/Pittsfield Library, History Department, Architects file.