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

Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists

 
 
Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
1. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker
Inscription. The major industries established in Florence during the 19th century were founded by reform-minded individuals who championed progressive causes throughout their lives. Their success in business was matched by their generosity in giving. Many of the civic institutions of present day Florence are the result of their philanthropy. Samuel L. Hill, founder of the Nonotuck Silk Company, was among the radical abolitionists who formed a Utopian community in Florence in the 1840s. He continued to be an active reformer in retirement and a champion of the theories of Friedrich Froebel, with their emphasis on early childhood education. In 1876, he established the Hill Institute, one of the first kindergartens in the country with an endowment to provide free instruction to every child in the community

Alfred T. Lilly was brought in by Hill to become the Treasurer of the Nonotuck Silk Company and made a fortune of this own. In 1888, he built the Lilly Library for the town of Florence. A few years before he had given the money to build the Lilly Hall of Science at Smith College which was dedicated in 1886. It was Lilly who provided the endowment for evening classes and adult education at the Hill Institute.

The spirit of the abolitionist utopian community lived on in the Free Congregational Society of Florence. Organized in 1866
Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
2. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker
Wide photo of the marker
by Samuel Hill and 34 others, it was a freethinking religious body far outside the orthodox beliefs of mainstream denominations. Its first resident speaker was Charles C. Burleigh followed by Elizabeth Powell who later became Dean of Swarthmore College. The growth of the Society prompted Hill to finance the construction of Cosmian Hall in 1874. Its ample auditorium filled to hear speakers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglas and Julia Ward Howe. It was demolished in 1948.
 
Erected by Historic Northampton.
 
Location. 42° 20.117′ N, 72° 40.4′ W. Marker is in Florence, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and Meadow Street on Park Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Florence MA 01062, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Florence Eagles (here, next to this marker); The Anti-Slavery Community (here, next to this marker); Florence Manufacturing (here, next to this marker); Cornet Joseph Parsons (approx. 2.6 miles away); Hatfield (approx. 2.7 miles away); Hadley
Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
3. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker
Four markers on one stand
(approx. 2.9 miles away); Holyoke Range and Skinner State Parks (approx. 4.8 miles away); a different marker also named Hadley (approx. 7.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRArts, Letters, MusicEducationIndustry & Commerce
 
Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
4. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker
Cosmian Hall 1873-Demolished in 1948
Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
5. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists Marker
Wide shot of the bell with the city of Florence sign
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 8, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 486 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 8, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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