Friday, January 14, 2011

Back to New England . . . Historical Deerfield, Massachusetts

I want to finish sharing about our trip to New England. Before the holidays we were in Connecticut. I only have two more stops to share, so please bear with me if this is really of no interest to you :).

We had not planned to visit Deerfield, Massachusetts, and we really didn't know anything about it, but, surprisingly, I had brought along my Martha Stewart magazine. [One of my favorite things to do while traveling . . . catching up on all of my magazines, to which my hub asks "Are you really going to read all of those magazines?" "Of course." lol. It is a running joke between us . . . and he loves the extra weight in our luggage :).] This issue just happened to have an article on Historical Deerfield. I discovered a several block treasure where Henry and Helen Flynt had purchased and preserved several homes from the late 1700's. What? . . .  I have to go there! Some of homes have been historically furnished and are open for tours, and some of them people live in. We entered the town of Deerfield into the GPS device and took a detour to Historical Deerfield.

Take a step back in time, to the 1700's . . . I've included some of the descriptions from their website.

Built in 1799, the Asa Stebbins House features Federal period architecture, wall treatments, and decorative arts.  It was the first brick house in Deerfield, and the interior of the house features neoclassical furnishings dating from 1790 to 1830.  Inspired by ancient Greek and Roman design, this style was popular in the years following the American Revolution. One of Deerfield’s wealthiest and most highly respected citizens, Stebbins’ selection of brick construction and linear neoclassical design was a stylish departure from earlier Deerfield houses with their wooden clapboards and bold pedimented doorways.  Of special note are French scenic wallpaper panels by Joseph Dufour depicting the voyages of Captain Cook, freehand wall painting that may have been executed by itinerant artist Jared Jessup in 1812, and several portraits by Erastus Salisbury Field of nearby Sunderland, Massachusetts.

Built ca. 1754 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Dwight House was moved to Deerfield in 1950 when it was threatened with demolition. The museum’s founders, Henry and Helen Flynt, had the house dismantled and brought 35 miles north to Deerfield where it became one of only four houses along The Street that were not here originally. 

 This home was originally owned by a doctor who painted it this shade of blue. Built in 1747, the Wells-Thorn House presents period rooms depicting the lifestyle of Deerfield residents in a progression from the early days of 1725 all the way up to the high-style of the 1850s.  It is furnished to illustrate the development of the agricultural economy, domestic life, and refinement in the Connecticut Valley. The earliest rooms of the Wells-Thorn House show life in Deerfield during the frontier period.  Later period rooms in the house reflect the increased availability of consumer goods and the growing prosperity and sophistication of Deerfield’s residents.

Built circa 1750, the Frary House depicts the Colonial Revival home of Miss C. Alice Baker, as restored in the 1890s with New England antiques, Arts and Crafts needlework, ironware and basketry.  Baker was a teacher, collector, and antiquarian researcher, who restored the Frary House in 1892. Today Miss Baker’s home interprets the village’s active Arts and Crafts movement, her antiquarian pursuits, and her role in fostering the Colonial Revival in Deerfield.  Education, tourism, and the sale of arts and crafts served as an economic bridge to 20th-century Deerfield. Visitors came by rail, and later by trolley and automobile, to tour Memorial Hall Museum, shop for arts and crafts in the homes and studios of their makers, and enjoy the romance of a frontier village that had aged so gracefully. Tourists generated employment for members of the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework, craftsmen in the Society of Deerfield Industries, and in the hotels, boarding houses, and tearooms that accommodated visitors searching for a tranquil past in an increasingly industrialized nation.

Built in 1754/7, the Sheldon House has an 1802 single-story ell or addition to the rear.  The house is interpreted to the period of 1780 to 1810, when the house was occupied by three generations of Sheldon family members.  The expansion of the house in 1802 was probably done with the expectation that several Sheldon children would marry and increase the household.  

Originally constructed in 1730, the Hinsdale and Anna Williams House was extensively renovated to its present appearance in 1816. Ebenezer Hinsdale Williams, a landowner and farmer, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, educated at Harvard College, and later moved to Deerfield. Williams, his wife Anna, and their two teenage children lived in a splendid Federal-style house until his death in 1838. French scenic wallpaper depicting Venetian scenes survives from the Williamses’ time, and other wallpapers have been reproduced from original evidence in the house. Furnishings listed in the probate inventory of Hinsdale Williams include a cooking stove, a washing machine, and 16 “flagg-bottomed” chairs.

Built in 1734, and renovated in 1945, the Allen House served as the residence of  Historic Deerfield’s founders Henry and Helen Flynt.  The interiors of the house have been left as they were when the Flynts lived here.

Hope you enjoyed a little tour of Deerfield. I couldn't take any pics inside the homes, but it was fun going back in time and hearing about the original people who lived there.

Thank you for all of your lovely and kind comments. I look forward to getting to know you in 2011!
I appreciate you taking the time to visit and leave a comment and/or follow.

Have a great week!

~ Julie


  1. I have never been to deerfield. Very pretty

  2. I'm glad you're showing more!! This might be my favorite of your highlights so far. I spent my childhood not far away in the Berkshires.

    I LOVE this period and style of house. I kept trying to find a favorite, but I just liked the whole tour.

    Can't wait to see what your last stop is going to be!

  3. Nice collection of house photos! My favorite is the really dark with one with the heavy wood doors. Would love to be able to peer inside some of these!

  4. This post was especially meaningful to me because our family came to America as Puritans in the late 1700's. They settled in Connecticut in homes that look very similar to this. Thanks for a great bit of history!

  5. Impressively beautiful homes! Ironically, the first one reminds me of a house of friends(their doorway isn't as ornate), and they live outside of town in Deerfield Township, go figure!

  6. These are beautiful houses, thanks for sharing your experiences.

  7. It looks like you covered a lot of ground in MA. The history of this state is undoubtedly deep...thank you for sharing the details you picked up.

  8. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures of these historical homes! I enjoyed reading about them!

  9. Thank you for the tour
    You have confirmed that New England is beautiful and worth a visit. I found you through Cindy's Whimsical Musings magazine.
    I love the wreath which I feel sure I have seen in a Somerset magazine.

    I will keep popping along to be inspired.
    Best wishes
    Sue xx

  10. Hi Julie,
    Visiting from Cindy's. Those saltboxes are amazing! So full of character and history! My favorites are that beautiful blue one, and the Hinsdale house. I could easily see myself living there! Thanks for the tour:)


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