Buxton: The History of West Main Street from Benjamin Simonds to Cole Porter

Posted by on Jan 17, 2018 in Featured slider, Talks | Comments Off on Buxton: The History of West Main Street from Benjamin Simonds to Cole Porter

Buxton: The History of West Main Street from Benjamin Simonds to Cole Porter

Buxton:  The History of West Main Street
from Benjamin Simonds to Cole Porter
presented by Dustin Griffin
Saturday, February 17
11 a.m.
Sweetwood of Williamstown
1611 Cold Spring Road

Join us at 11 a.m. on Saturday February 17 at Sweetwood for the next event in the Williamstown Historical Museum lecture series, when Dustin Griffin will give an illustrated talk on Buxton: The History of West Main St. from Benjamin Simonds to Cole Porter.

This short stretch of Main St., once known as the “Buxton District,” is the site of the initial settlement of Williamstown, of two of the oldest surviving houses, and of the town’s first cemetery.  “Buxton Place” on West Main was for more than a hundred years the home of the Danforths, one of the town’s leading families. “Buxton Hall” –demolished nearly 60 years ago –was once one of the town’s grandest mansions, the summer home of the Lawrie family. And a big house called “Buxton Hill” was once the home of the town’s most  famous summer resident, Cole Porter.
Over the last ten years the lecturer, Dusty Griffin, has presented many talks in the Museum’s lecture series, including “A Short History of Treadwell Hollow,” “The History of Flora’s Glen,” “Captain and Corporal: Two Williamstown Soldiers in the 37th Massachusetts,” “Three Eph Generals in the Civil War,” “The Hoosic and the Ohio: The Cincinnati Connection,” “The History of Fort Massachusetts,” “The History of the West Hoosuck Blockhouse,” “A Tale of Two Cities — and a Country Town,” and (just last June) “Enemies of the People: Political Divisions in Early Williamstown.” He has curated exhibitions at the Museum on “Williamstown in the Civil War,” “Big Days in a Small Town,” and (with his wife, Gale), “Williamstown in the Golden Age of Postcards.”

For this talk Dusty draws heavily on the Museum’s rich collection of photographs, especially of the Danforth Farm, the Lawrie Mansion, and the “Cole Porter House.” Dusty considers his lectures to be “micro-histories,” deep dives into narrowly-focused topics in local history. A collection of his essays on the history of Williamstown and Williams College will be published in the fall by the University of Massachusetts Press.