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The Mission House – A Colonial-Era Landmark in Stockbridge

July 10th, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

The Mission House in Stockbridge MATravel back to a simpler time with a visit to the Mission House, museum, and gardens in Stockbridge, MA. This fascinating, Colonial-era, National Historic Landmark has connections to the local Mohican tribe and is less than 10 minutes from our Berkshires bed and breakfast in Lee, MA.

The Mission House was originally built atop Stockbridge’s Prospect Hill in 1742. It was home to the Reverend John Sergeant, first missionary to the local Mohican people.

Sergeant had been living in a cabin in the area but, after marrying Abigail Williams in 1739, wanted more appropriate accommodations for his new wife. The house stayed in the Sergeant family until the 1870s, seeing some Gilded Age improvement and changes over the years.

Mabel Choate, then owner of the Naumkeag estate, purchased the house in the 1920’s. Choate had the Mission House carefully disassembled, moved, and reassembled at its present location on Main Street between 1926 and 1930. Famed American landscape architect Fletcher Steele designed the gardens and estate landscaping.

Choate ran the Mission as a museum until 1948, when she donated it and her Naumkeag etate to The Trustees.

Visiting The Mission House

The Mission House in Stockbridge MAOne of the reasons that the Mission House is an important landmark is because it connects us to both our colonial and native past.

The house serves as an excellent showcase for its collection of 18th-century American furnishings. Tours of the house illuminate the various activities and daily life of the colonial era missionary, as well as the generations that came after.

A variety of gardens surround the house. Fletcher Steele’s Colonial Revival dooryard garden features circular brick paths surrounded by a cypress fence. The kitchen garden contains a host of medicinal herbs, perennials, and annuals cultivated by early colonists.

The grape arbor behind the house leads to a small Mohican museum. Here you can learn the story of the local Mohican tribe through artifacts, legends, and current tribe member perspectives.

When To Go

The gardens and museum are open daily, 10am to 4pm, for self guided tours. Guided house tours may be reserved during the summer months. Call (413) 298-3239.

The Mission House is located at 19 Main Street in Stockbridge, MA. Learn more online at the museum website.

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