Welcome to the Mills of Pittsfield, an interactive site supporting Pittsfield’s Art and Industry Theme for 2014.
These are the buildings that dot our landscape, in plain view, but at the same time are hidden from our current preoccupations and distractions. They belong to the 19th century but continue to shape Pittsfield in the 21st century. They are the factories that drove the economy, the mansions built by the owners and managers of the mills and the mill houses of thousands of workers and their families who came in search of a better life.
Take a step back in time and take a tour to find the buildings that are our history. Read about their origins and our ancestors who worked in them. Examine how the strength of structure and beauty of design continue to serve the city and its people as apartments, workplaces and warehouses.
Your photographs and memories are welcome to complete the story. The patterns of brick, the features of tile roofs and bell towers and railings, the lines of porches and verandas in the changing Berkshire seasons and sunlight all lend themselves to photographic compositions. You can post submissions or send them to the e-mail below.
A Note on Sources
The four volumes on the History of Pittsfield, the first two by Joseph E.A. Smith, and the other two by Edward Boltwood and George Willison, proved invaluable starting points for much of the information. The local history section of the Berkshire Athenaeum is a rich resource for maps and city directories, as well as a digitized collection of notes by Edward Knurow. The Berkshire Eagle has its own tradition of presenting history for its readers, so their archives were full of information on the buildings and individuals included in this study. Many of the buildings included here have inventory forms available as part of the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS.) And, of course, the internet holds family stories and other genealogical information that was important background.
About the author
John Dickson produced this as a volunteer working with the Berkshire Historical Society. A resident of Pittsfield and a recent graduate of the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts, John welcomes your corrections and additions and stories. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.