Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2006 Preservation Award Winners
Wistariahurst Carriage House • Holyoke
Wistariahurst Carriage House • Holyoke

Adaptive Reuse, Rehabilitation & Restoration

Wistariahurst was built in 1874 as the home of prominent silk manufacturer William Skinner. Owned by the City of Holyoke since 1959, Wistariahurst has been a museum offering a wide variety of cultural and educational programming for the past 50 years. The Wistariahurst Carriage House, constructed ca. 1880, is a two-story, post and beam, stick-framed structure designed by William F. Pratt & Son. Originally utilized as a barn for the Skinner family carriages and horses, it later received a two-story addition to house the family motorcar. The building also was enlarged by two single-story additions in later years.

A recent structural analysis had determined that existing components, including trusses, beams, and rafters, were weakened or damaged. The exterior of the building was significantly deteriorated, with rotted and missing clapboard siding, sill plates, and wood trim. The original slate roof and flashing were also in poor condition, affecting drainage, and extensive areas of the stone and brick foundation were damaged. This recent restoration project addressed all these issues, fully repairing the foundation and restoring the exterior. The lawn was also regraded to prevent the accumulation of standing water. The first floor of the carriage house is now being used for exhibits on Holyoke history and also has rooms available for community use. The second floor now provides state-of-the-art storage for the Holyoke, Skinner Family, and Textile Collections. With a newly restored carriage house, Wistariahurst continues its mission of preserving Holyoke’s history and furthering appreciation of its historic resources.

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