Egremont Historical Commission
Agendas & Minutes
- Barbara Kalish
- Francis Nestor
- Rebecca Turner, Chairwoman
- Beth Wood
Zoom Links to Video Recordings of Meetings
Click here to access Zoom recordings of meetings. To find a specific Egremont Historical Commission meeting, scroll through the chronological list of all Zoom-recorded meetings. Note the passcode which you will have to type in.
1 Buttonball Lane
Our Archives Room, where our Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS) files and genealogical records are kept, is available to the public on the first Saturday of every month, from 9 AM to Noon, or by appointment.
The Egremont Historical Commission (EHC) was established in 1974. It oversees a local history museum and Town Archives Room and performs its civic duties under the Massachusetts Historical Commission. It is located on the second floor of the 1830s Mt. Everett Academy building, shared with the Egremont Free Library, in the heart of South Egremont Village's National Register Historic District. The EHC is charged with preserving collections in the Archives Room that encompass historical books, town records and documents, maps, photographic prints, oil paintings, local genealogy records, and other Egremont treasures.
Historical Commission Seeks New Members
The Egremont Historical Commission is currently seeking new membership. In addition to overseeing the town archives and historical records, our mission is to identify and protect Egremont's historic resources, to promote the preservation of these significant historic places and structures, and to develop programs to educate the public about our town's rich history. With this mission in mind, some of our ongoing initiatives include:
- We are re-organizing our archive room and inventory of our collection.
- MACRIS (Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System) is a record of over 100 historic buildings and significant features in our town held in a database with the Massachusetts Historical Commission. We have been actively updating and adding to these inventory forms over the last few years to expand our historical record of the buildings and people living in our community.
- The Oral history project is a wonderful initiative to record the stories of members of our community.
- With the mind of preservation, an initiative we have been working on for a few years and are very excited about is a proposed Demolition Delay Bylaw. This bylaw seeks to identify buildings and structures over 100 years old and to protect them from complete demolition and major alteration.
If any of this touches a chord, please get in touch with any of our members or visit our website for more information. We are also available to meet in the archive by appointment or on the first Saturday of the month from 10 am to 12 pm.
The Ruins of the Van Guilder Farm at Jug End
The above photos, taken over several years, are of the VanGuilder Farm at Jug End (formerly known as Guilder Hollow), which the Departments of Conservation and Recreation and Fish and Wildlife acquired in 1994. The Egremont Historical Commission seeks to preserve what is still possible.
The site of the VanGuilder Farm goes back to the mid-1700s when the Mahican Indians deeded the land to Jon Konkapot VanGuilder, presumably the son of Chief Konkapot, who was believed to have been raised in the home of the VanGuilder family. The Mahicans had settled the area in the late 1600s. The Mahicans welcomed the Dutch in the last years of the late 17th century and early in the 18th.
The property changed hands several times until Major Smiley and his wife, Heather, bought it in 1922. Smiley built two houses for employees, converted a farm building into a studio for their daughter, added maintenance buildings, and landscaped portions of the property. Some of these buildings, the stonework, and landscaped areas remain as ruins overgrown with vegetation today.
Download the 1995 edition of Jug End News (below) to learn more about Smiley's pivot from dairy farmer (the rocky terrain doomed his dairy) to converting the diary buildings into a sports club, the Guilder Hollow Club, with bowling alleys, a dining hall, bunk beds, and his turkey cottage into rooms for guests. It paved the way for the Jug End Barn Resort (1938 - 1985)).
Two Egremont Sites on the National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of our country's historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. It was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is overseen by the National Park Service.
Egremont has two listings, the North Egremont Historic District and the Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm. North Egremont's Historic District is roughly bounded by Shun Toll Rd, Rt. 71, Prospect Lake Rd, and Mill Rd. The Westover-Bacon-Potts Farm is known to most in Egremont as April Hill, the home of Greenagers, on MA Rt, 41 south of the junction with MA Rt. 23. Click here to watch a slideshow tracing April Hill's history from 1744.