Why Deerfield?

Old Houses: Summer Projects and Craft Shops

Restoring Old Houses

Following the 1876 centennial celebration, a national obsession for all things colonial encouraged the transformation of Deerfield's oldest street into a popular heritage site. Others soon expanded upon George Sheldon's initial attempts to revive interest in the town's history. A number of independent women began restoring Deerfield's old homes during their summer visits. Artisans Madeline Yale Wynne and Annie Putnam, for instance, worked on 'The Manse' beginning in 1885. Historian C. Alice Baker and photographer Emma Coleman shared the historic Frary House at the turn of the twentieth century. A descendant of several old Deerfield families, Baker had a strong interest in the 1704 raid. She published True Stories of New England Captives in 1897, and frequently presented on Deerfield's past at PVMA's annual meeting. Interested in both its history and its early twentieth century revival, Emma Coleman published the popular tourist aid A Historic and Present Day Guide to Old Deerfield in 1907. While Baker and Coleman lived there, Frary House was a cultural center, the site of costume balls, concerts and even the 'braiding bee' that led to the establishment of the Deerfield Basket Makers.

iconIn Their Words


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© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

C. Alice Baker at Frary Housewarming

Emma Coleman remembered, "Miss Baker, in a blue dress with lace petticoat, a miniature of Washington at her throat and blue feathers in her hair...led her guests through the parlor and dining-room up the stairs to the ball-room." Emma Lewis Coleman, 1892.

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