T102 | What Time is This Place -
Architects of Western Massachusetts


11:30 a.m. -
1:00 p.m.

In Person

Berkshire Museum

9/20, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1

Five Sessions 

This course examines the profound changes in architectural styles and building techniques from the beginning of the Victorian period in America to the aftermath of World War II. A series of five illustrated lectures will focus on prominent regional architects using examples of their work to highlight both rapid changes in fashion and public taste as well as the impact of new building techniques and technologies. We start in a world where an 1837 Greek revival meeting house is lighted by a whale oil chandelier with horse sheds behind to accommodate congregants living beyond walking distance. We end a century later with a built environment transformed by events and inventions far beyond the wildest imagination of early nineteenth century folk. So, stroll through . . .

 Session 1 – Henry Alexander Sykes, with David Hosford

Session 2 – Gilded Age Pittsfield Architects (Rathbun, Wilson, Harding and Seaver), with Cornelia Gilder

Session 3 – Joseph McArthur Vance, with Jeff Bradway 

Session 4 – William Appleton Potter, with John Dickson

Session 5 – Frederick Law Olmsted, with Phil Deely

David Hosford is a Professor Emeritus of History (Rutgers University) and Berkshires retiree with a special interest in the architectural history of western Massachusetts. Cornelia Brooke Gilder is a lifetime learner on local architectural and social history, co-author of a number of books including Houses of the Berkshires and Edith Wharton's Lenox and a member of the program committee at Ventfort Hall in Lenox. Jeff Bradway's lifelong interest in local history and architecture led to his co-authoring History of the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which was recognized by the Theatre Historical Society of America as Outstanding Book of the Year in 2015. He is currently a member of the Historical Commission of Pittsfield. Phil Deely has enjoyed a long career in education, as a history teacher and administrator before taking a turn as associate director of the Norman Rockwell Museum. John Dickson who serves on the Pittsfield Historical Commission and the Berkshire County Historical Society wrote his master’s thesis in history on the old Berkshire Athenaeum.

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