“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Northampton in Hampshire County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

Hampshire County

Hampshire County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, March 30, 2022
1. Hampshire County Marker
Northampton is the "Shire Town" or county seat for Hampshire County. When it was officially established in 1662, Hampshire County became the fifth county of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The county originally included all of Western Massachusetts. But in 1730 Worcester County was created and Berkshire in 1761. By 1811, population growth led to the establishment of Franklin County followed by Hampden County the following year.

In 1658, the Massachusetts General Court granted permission for Hampshire County court sessions to alternate between Northampton and Springfield. The early court sessions were held at the meetinghouse or at local taverns. The first courthouse was constructed in 1737 and was replaced by a larger structure in 1767. The third courthouse was built by Isaac Damon in 1813. It was destroyed by fire in 1822 and court was held at Warner's Tavern until a new building could be erected the following year. Damon's new building featured Greek revival columns and a bell tower. The weathervane atop the tower resides in the collections of Historic Northampton and is represented on the museum's logo. In 1886, the cornerstone
Hampshire County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Herrick, March 30, 2022
2. Hampshire County Marker
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was laid for the present courthouse. Designed by architect Henry F. Kilbourn, the Richardsonian Romanesque structure was dedicated in 1887.

The Hampshire County court has heard cases ranging from 17th century witchcraft accusations to the Abbie Hoffman/Amy Carter anti-CIA protest trial in 1986. In 1848, Daniel Webster defended the will of Oliver Smith, creating the Smith Charities. When asked why he chose to read law in Northampton, Calvin Coolidge was said to have replied, "Because there was a courthouse there." A graduate of Amherst College, Coolidge came to Northampton to practice law in 1895. Coolidge held several Northampton offices, including Mayor. He then served several terms in the General Court before becoming Governor in 1919. Elected as Warren G. Harding's Vice President in 1920, Coolidge became President when Harding died suddenly in 1923.

Historic Northampton Museum & Education Center
46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA 01060

( photo captions )
—   The cornerstone for the present courthouse building was laid on August 28th, 1886.
—   The third Hampshire County Courthouse, built by Isaac Damon in 1813, destroyed by fire in 1822 and rebuilt the following year.
—   Calvin Coolidge began his Northampton legal career in 1895 and retuned to his law practice after leaving the White House
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in 1929.

Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Government & Politics. A significant historical date for this entry is August 28, 1886.
Location. 42° 19.176′ N, 72° 37.816′ W. Marker is in Northampton, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County. Marker is at the intersection of Pleasant Street (U.S. 5) and Main Street (Massachusetts Route 9), on the right when traveling south on Pleasant Street. Located in front of the Hampshire County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 99 Main Street, Northampton MA 01060, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Shays' Rebellion (here, next to this marker); Nonotuck (here, next to this marker); Daley & Halligan (here, next to this marker); Northampton Gulf War Monument (a few steps from this marker); First Meeting House (a few steps from this marker); Calvin Coolidge (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Shop Row (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Northampton.
Also see . . .  Hampshire County, Massachusetts (Wikipedia). (Submitted on April 3, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 3, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 61 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 3, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.

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Apr. 1, 2023