Go Forth Under The Open Sky : The Historic Sites of the Berkshires

The Mission House
Main Street
Stockbridge, MA
Open Memorial Day - Columbus Day for guided tours, Tuesday - Sunday and Monday holidays, 11 am - 3:30 pm Closed Tuesday after the holidays. Admission fee for non members.

he oldest and one of the best known homes in Stockbridge Massachusetts, the Mission House is a chaste dwelling that is archetypal Old Yankee, no frills, sturdy and pleasing in its simplicity and symmetry. It was built in 1739 by the first missionary to the Mahican Indians, the Reverend John Sergeant, as an improved shelter for he and his wife Abigail, following the simple log cabin the Yale preacher had originally constructed. The paneled doorway is cited as a prime example of Connecticut Valley architecture. It was, in fact, carved in Connecticut and dragged over 50 miles of rugged terrain by Oxen, and is marked by elaborate woodworking depicting biblical themes. Following Sergeant’s death, the estimable Calvinist clergyman Jonathan Edwards took over the Mission as his next assignment after being forced from his Northampton pulpit. Even he was unable to sustain the work and the Indians were eventually driven off and the Mission closed. Eventually, the Mission House, ravaged by years of neglect, came into possession of Mabel Choate (see Naumkeag), who had the resource to restore the home to its original state. In 1929, she had it moved to the site where Sergeant’s first log cabin stood, right in the center of town. The house is currently a treasure trove of 17th and 18th-century furnishings and is surrounded by Colonial period gardens which were conceived by Naumkeag’s landscape architect Fletcher Steele.

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(This interactive feature was penned by SE O'Callaghan for the BerkshireWeb. All rights reserved (c) 1998)

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