Beyond the daunting nature of this project, I need to stress how much fun it was – how exciting to have started with the hunch that ours had developed as a mixed-race mixed-class community of Irish immigrants, African Americans from the post- Civil War south as well as northern NE farms, and Amherst-born folks who joined the development of this north-side of Amity Street bordered by the downtown &and the new land-grant Mass Agricultural College (now UMass Amherst). The museum volunteers offer a service to copy specific documents from the Amherst County Court House. We started with more extensive boundaries and 305 identified properties, of which 160 were already listed in the MA Historical Commission’s Amherst Historic Houses Survey Index. The South Amherst Historical Society started out with three people who were interested in the history of the village. Photo: Art Keene, by Art Keene,  Maurianne Adams and George Naughton. This past fall, Maurianne Adams gave us a brilliant lecture on the creation of the North Prospect-Lincoln-Sunset Local Historic District, which was formally approved by Amherst Town Meeting in 2017, and now has its own Wikipedia page. For a description of the resources in the library, The museum volunteers offer a genealogy research service for a fee for individuals who are not able to visit the museum in person. In earlier times, a conch shell was used as a trumpet, to call residents together and usually a person was paid a small amount of money to be the official blower of the conch shell. Opinion: The Jones Library Demolition/Expansion.        Cindy Harbeson, who with a smile hauled out dozens of huge, heavy tax records (who paid taxes, not always the same as who lived in or owned a property) or pointed me to the annual 19th and 20th century Amherst address lists (who moved or lived where) or directed me to the files with their Goodwin family interviews and newspaper clippings, and solved my Ancestry.com computer access problems. Cosby, Lincoln, Fearing had houses for faculty and others. In the spirit of that cooperation, Adams accepted the award on behalf of the collaborative effort put in by so many people. It presents vignettes of historical interest including “Old Strong House,” “The Bridgeman Tavern on the Bay Road,” “Early Amherst Doctors,” “Mark’s Meadow,” The Old Hubbard Tavern at the Plumtree,” and “President Hitchcock’s House.” It is best read as a view of what was considered historically important in Amherst circa 1905. Required fields are marked *. And we found it far more intriguing than we could possibly have imagined – Irish clustered on McClellan and Beston who were tailors associated with Pease; African Americans on Beston, Paige, and McClellan who rented rooms to the Irish (or vice versa) who were mechanics or personal care-givers or ran collegiate rooming-houses and established the AME Zion Church. The mission of the Amherst Historical Society is to connect people to the town of Amherst, its history, and its culture. I’m not an officially trained historian, although my dissertation 50 years ago had me working in the archives of numerous libraries including the British Museum. And I’m delighted and honored to receive this award on behalf of the larger team of people with whom I had the great pleasure to work. You can read all about it and go through the individual house histories as well as the LHD social, cultural, economic, racial, and ethnic interactions on the Town’s Local Historic District Commission Website. 40R Zoning Discussion Postponed Until November 18. She, too was obsessive about this project and I’d often see her up in the archives, tracking down some detail. Over the years, the Society has collected a wide variety of resources for learning about the town of Amherst. But the houses already listed were the large, impressive houses, generally on Sunset and Lincoln, not the small farmhouses build by Irish and African Americans some fifty years earlier and equally worthy of note and preservation, if one took a social, cultural and demographic approach to creation of an LHD, as we firmly did. If you are interested in this service you can print out a, ***Please note that the Amherst County Court House is currently in the process of sending their records to the Library of Virginia for filming and digitizing, and because of this some records may not be available for copying.***. We/I miss her and wish to acknowledge her at this moment. Researchers are welcome to visit our library and use any of our public resources for free. It is free and open to the public during regular museum hours. The Amherst County Museum & Historical Society operates a small genealogy library. For a description of the resources in the library, click here. The Amherst History Museum accepts donations of any size at any time of the year. Would those who I just named, or anyone else who served on the committee, please stand to be recognized? The earliest known document of the lands now comprising Amherst is the deed of purchase dated December 1658 between John Pynchon of Springfield and three native inhabitants, referred to as Umpanchla, Quonquont, and Chickwalopp. North Prospect also had a socially mixed community. He was the most reliable corrective to the older property cards, having crawled through more basements and attics than I could have imagined, to understand what was added and when. The award is named for the conch shell or “Ye Auld Kunk” that was used in the 1700s to call Amherst residents to Town Meetings and to worship. We hold our Annual Appeal in late November and renew all memberships in the Spring. Learn how your comment data is processed. Fees are for the time spent searching only, not for the documents found and do not guarantee that anything will be found. Incorrect documents retrieved do to misinformation will incur an additional charge if a return trip to the court house is necessary. (And if you’ve ever tried to get a noise out of a conch shell…) Amherst is fortunate to retain the object in the collection of the Historical Society. Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. Amherst farmers were leaders in forming the Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin Agricultural Society-also known as the Three county Society. A gift to the Amherst History Museum, whether in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special accomplishment, is always a unique way to help the Amherst Community and recognize an extraordinary individual.        The other members of the Study Committee, Bill Gillen, Bonnie McCracken, Phil Shaver, Ann Sutliff, a friendly group making extremely hard decisions on which we all felt strongly but without rancor. Historic Buildings of Massachusetts: A blog with brief descriptions of several historic buildings in Amherst, including many from Amherst College. Or learn about a local factory that made “collapsing skirts!”. ), name(s) on document, specific book designation and page number for each document in your request. Now, Dr Adams served on the committee, but we need to emphasize that she did not work alone. © Copyright 2016 Amherst Historical Society and Museum, Heath Connections – The Emersons of Amity Street. The Amherst Historical Society Conch Shell Award for 2020 was awarded to Maurianne Adams for her role in creating the Lincoln-Sunset-Prospect Local Historic District (LHD). Trained as an art and architectural historian, a long-term resident of Fearing St who knew the neighborhood, its resident comings and goings, its history, its architectural gems, inside out. The museum volunteers offer a genealogy research service for a fee for individuals who are not able to visit the museum in person. The Amherst History Museum is closed for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus. The fee varies by the number of names that research is requested for and whether or not the requester is a Museum member. Has information about several houses and historic structures in town and walking tours focused on writer’s houses or Amherst locations related to the Civil War. Who knew? These are all entries under the letter “C” in the book Amherst A to Z, written by Elizabeth Sharpe. Your email address will not be published. Our research team endeding up examining archival sources for more than 200 properties, not all of which we finally used. The LHD project was an enormous effort taking many hours over days & weeks from 2012, when a group of us sitting in my living room hatched the plan following the advice of Laura Lovett and Gretchen Fox, until 2017, when the final report was completed and Town Meeting approved the new LHD. Requests can be filled out on plain paper and mailed with the appropriate payment to: Amherst County Museum, PO Box 741, Amherst, VA, 24521. The fee varies by the number of names that research is requested for and whether or not the requester is a Museum member. Please make sure to include the type of document, (will, deed, etc.        Sean McMillan, a post-MS graduate of UMA’s Design and Historic Preservation program, sent me back to the files for UMA theses on Irish and African-American communities in Amherst. ***Please note that the Amherst County Court House is currently in the process of sending their records to the Library of Virginia for filming and digitizing, and because of this some records may not be available for copying. So I’m thrilled that the Historical Society and the town have recognized the importance of this LHD and what it adds to our understanding of the complex history that is Amherst. William Jones, Rosemary Leshinski and Jeanne Maschari met on … George Naughton opened the award ceremony by reviewing the history of the award and then went on to explain why it went to Maurianne Adams. But I knew nothing of architectural design or history – and that leads me to the observation that this award honors our collaborative work on this project, something that could not possibly have been done as a solo venture or by someone with a single area of expertise. He had copies of the 19th century Amherst maps, knew how they differed, helped me fill in the missing pieces. The museum volunteers offer a service to copy specific documents from the Amherst County Court House. Or where the “curragh” district of Amherst was?        Ed Wilfert: Gretchen told me from the onset, “Go find Ed Wilfert, he’s always in the Jones Archives.”  Indeed he always is and was, before I arrived in the morning and after I left in the afternoon. If you would like us to do research for you, please consider purchasing one of the research packages described below. If you are interested in this service you can print out a genealogy request form to fill out and return to the museum with the appropriate payment. So digging through sources to find clues and puzzle pieces to create a portrait that no one knew had once existed – that became my obsession and a source of real pleasure quite familiar to me from so many years before.

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