We enjoyed a great weekend in Williamstown, MA. We played golf in the mornings, went to museums in the afternoons, and went to the theater in the evenings. It was fantastic!

As we drove down the main drag, also known as Route 2, Williams College, various churches, and private homes are set back but visible from the road. We noticed that this little stretch of real estate is a mini history of American architecture, that reflect the popular architectural styles of their eras. Here’s what we saw:

  • a minimally detailed, elegant classic white Georgian colonial, typical of the turn of the 18th-19th century, but which could have been built as a Colonial Revival from the first half of the 20th century;
  • a stick style Victorian with the steeply pitched gabled roof and decorative trusses at the apex of the gables, typical of mid-late 19th century;
  • a high Victorian Queen Anne style, with all of the towers, asymmetry, doodads and fussy details that are typical of the turn of the 19th-20th century;
  • a stone building on the south side of the road that is typical of the Richardsonian Romanesque, with its round top arches, popular also at the turn of the 19th and 20th century;
  • a Farmhouse style house or maybe a bed and breakfast;
  • a 1980’s post-modern building, and
  • the Williamstown Theater Building designed by William Rawn Associates which was completed in 2008.

Okay, I didn’t see a building on this particular stretch of Route 2 that is a typical Craftsman style from the early 20th century, or a ranch house from the mid-20th century (although we did see a 1940’s style two story house). As might be expected, we didn’t see any ‘brutalist” buildings of the 1970’s.

Each of these buildings may not be the best example of its era, but they all help me imagine what life was like in their time, what the designers were hoping to communicate to the public or to their owners, and how the town has evolved over time. I find it fascinating how the buildings of such different styles talk to or ignore each other.

People ask me what my favorite architectural style is. I answer that I can find beauty in all of them!

The architectural richness of the buildings combined with the gorgeous Massachusetts tree-covered mountains that surround Williamstown make this particular stretch of Route 2 worth visiting…especially in the summer or fall. It’s only a 3 hour drive out Route 2 from Boston, and you get the opportunity to see a permanent “exhibit” of the history of architecture!

Photo credits

  1. Virginia and Lee McAlester, prints by Doug Tomlinson
  2. Virginia and Lee McAlester, prints by Doug Tomlinson
  3. South Carolina Department of Archives and History
  4. Virginia and Lee McAlester, prints by Doug Tomlinson
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Virginia and Lee McAlester, prints by Doug Tomlinson
  7. Western Reserve Historical Society
  8. Carleton Knight III
  9. Wayne McCall

Would you like to take a walking tour of the architecture of Boston or Miami? Give us a call. Maybe we’ll learn about where you find beauty.

Contact us https://lesliesaul.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *