There are few buildings that make you stop and stare in marvel at their perfect architectural proportions, detailing and design, the Ames Memorial Hall in Easton, Massachusetts is one of them for me! In the late 1870s, the children of Oakes Ames commissioned the great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson to design the Memorial Hall as a tribute to their father. Richardson, the architect of Boston’s beloved Trinity Church in Copley Square, responded with a picturesque masterpiece using his signature architectural elements of rounded arches, dramatic roof lines, and heavy masonry adorned with carvings. The building was provided to the inhabitants of Easton “for all the ordinary purposes of a town hall”. Oakes Ames (1804-1873) was partner in the family business, O. Ames & Sons, a U. S. congressman, an early investor in the Central Pacific Railroad, and, at the urging of President Abraham Lincoln, a prominent force in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. The Richardsonian Romanesque building stands on the solid foundation of a natural ledge, from the northeast corner of which rises the beautiful octagonal tower, on whose frieze are carved the twelve signs of the zodiac.
This stunning home on Main Street in Suffield, CT was apparently built in 1740. By the 1840s, it was purchased by John Wells Loomis, and altered to fit the then-fashionable Greek Revival style, replacing the center chimney with two chimneys, adding pilasters and a Greek Revival entry. John Loomis was the head of the Loomis family which made a fortune in the tobacco industry in Suffield, rolling and shipping products as far away as California. Before his death, John Loomis built his son George a house nearby, knowing that his son would carry on the business, which he did until a couple years after his father’s death when he sold the business and moved to New Haven.
This meeting hall in Suffield, CT was built in 1883 on Crooked Lane, named Central Hall. When Crooked Lane was renamed Mapleton Ave, the hall was so renamed to reflect this name change, to Mapleton Hall. Starting in 1885, the hall was home to the local grange, a fraternal organization that encouraged families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture. With Suffield’s active agricultural uses (primarily in tobacco crops), this grange was quickly funded and built. For nearly 100 years the building saw use as a fraternal center, with dwindling membership after WWII, when the agricultural character of town began to make way for suburban growth. The building was sold to the Mapleton Hall Asssociation, in 1978, who began restoration of the structure which began to decay from deferred maintenance. The building is now owned by The Suffield Players, a non-profit community theater company.