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Best Historic Locations in Springfield

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Old Sturbridge Village has been a staple for schoolchildren and families in New England since 1946. This 200-acre (81-hectare) living history museum features beautiful grounds with buildings transported to Sturbridge, Massachusetts from all around the Northeast. Your tour of the property begins at the Visitor Center where you can see special exhibits and videos about life in early 19th-century New England. Step inside any of the buildings and you will find historians dressed in period costumes explaining the origins of the structures and their role in the community. There are over 40 buildings on the property, including a schoolhouse, gristmill, smithery, bake shop, law office, printers and typical 1830s-style homes. There is an on-site restaurant, the Oliver Wight Tavern, where you can enjoy lunch or brunch on the weekends. In springtime, children will love to see the newborn lambs and cows!

In the late 19th Century noted attorney Joseph Choate had an architectural firm design his dream "cottage" for his family's summer retreats. Naumkeag was created as a 44 room country estate that has a Gilded Age style along with panoramic views. You can tour the house and admire the antique decor and period pieces. Naumkeag is also known for its beautiful gardens. Take an audio guide for a self-guided stroll through the gorgeous gardens and see the Afternoon Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Rose Garden, and more.

Storrowton Village is a living history museum located on the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds. The antique buildings around the mini-town within the fairgrounds recreate a New England town during the 19th Century. The Village is primarily open during the summer months and gets the most visitors of the year during The Big E fair. Take a tour, and have a costumed volunteer docent answer your questions about Storrowton Village, or enjoy a meal at the Storrowton Tavern.

Chesterwood, located in Stockbridge, is the former summer home of the famed sculptor Daniel Chester French. Best known for his sculpture featured at Washington's Lincoln Memorial, Chester French also carved a bust of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and created works for the Russell Alger Memorial, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Boston Public Library. He died at Chesterwood October 7, 1931, and the house has since been turned into a museum and historical site. Chesterwood is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is open to visitors from May to October. .

The western Berkshires region is known as "Shaker Country." This village, composed of 20 historic buildings and galleries, is open daily for self-guided and staff-guided tours. Explore the Round Stone Barn, farm, and water-powered machine shop in what was an active Shaker community up until 1960. There are loads of events for the whole family to enjoy at the Hancock Shaker Village, so expect great seasonal activities no matter when you visit.

The Springfield Armory, located in the heart of the city, is the location of one of the country's first armory and is also where the U.S. military arms were manufactured during most of the 18th Century. This significant national site is featured on the National Register of Historic Places and preserves the largest collection of historic American firearms in the world.

Founded as a "Free Church" then "Sanford Street Church" in the 1840s, the St. John’s Congregational Church is one of the oldest active Black New England churches. Abolitionist John Brown was a member of the church and he along with other church members would help fugitive slaves escape, their actions helped Springfield become a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Church members also fought for Civil Rights, including Rev. Dr. Charles E. Cobb who successfully made the Springfield school Board end its ban on hiring qualified black teachers in 1956. A bible owned by John Brown is on display at the church.

Come visit the birthplace of one of America's best-loved authors, Emily Dickinson, who was born here in December 1830. The famed poet spent most of her life here composing over 1800 poems. The property consists of two different residences that are open to the public: The Evergreens, home to Emily's brother Austin, and The Homestead, where she lived and where her numerous unpublished poems were found after her death. Visitors can see both houses through special guided and audio tours.

A series of 13 historic homes line Old Main Street in beautiful Deerfield, Massachusetts. Part of the campus of Deerfield Academy, Historic Deerfield allows visitors to tour the different homes to see what life was like during the 18th and 19th Centuries in this farming community. Deerfield also houses a working farm and garden, over 27,000 historic objects, and a comprehensive research library. The Flynt Center of Early New England Life is home to a variety of artwork and sits on several acres of lovely countryside. There is also a museum store that offers literature, trinkets and handicrafts relating to Deerfield's history.

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