|Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts|
|Enjoy the lovely shaded street and visit the historic houses and museums.|
Follow the signs to turn west from US Route 5/MA Route 10 to reach The Street (also called Old Main Street) in Old Deerfield.
At the northern end, the Wright House (1824), beautiful in itself, holds collections of Chippendale and Federal furniture, American paintings, and Chinese export porcelain.
The Ebenezer Hinsdale Williams House (1816) next door is also open to view.
Across The Street on the west side, Ashley House (1730) was the minister's residence in old times, and by the look of it, this wasn't such a bad life.
Next to Ashley House, Sheldon-Hawks House (1743) was home to the same family during two centuries. The Sheldons, rich Deerfield farmers, were able to buy the best available land at the time.
A bit farther south, the Henry N Flynt Silver and Metalwork Collection (1814) holds the museum's collection of silver, pewter, and other base metals.
The Flynt Textile Museum (1872) behind it houses a large collection of textiles, costumes, and needlework from America, England, and continental Europe.
Allen House (1720), next to the south, is furnished with items made in Boston and the Connecticut River Valley.
Stebbins House (1799-1810) is a wealthy landowner's residence, with rich period furnishings.
In the center of the village, the Hall Tavern Information Center is where you park your car, buy your admission tickets, pick up brochures and maps, and use the toilets.
Across the street, the Deerfield Inn is good for a drink, a meal or a bed. Just south of it are the US Post Office and the First Church of Deerfield.
South of the village center, Deerfield Academy is on the west side of The Street.
On the east side, Frary House and Barnard Tavern (1740-95) look like one building, but in fact are two. Barnard is a favorite with children because some of its rooms have exhibits that are okay to touch.
Go east from the Barnard Tavern to reach the Memorial Hall Museum (tel 413-774-7476), open every day May through October.
Memorial Hall (1798) was the original home of famed Deerfield Academy, still one of New England's most prestigious private schools. Less than a century after its construction, Memorial Hall became a historical museum of Pocumtuck Valley life, both Indian and Puritan. Local furniture, pewter, tools, textiles, decoration, and Indian artifacts, arranged in period rooms, make up the collection.
There are special collections for carved and painted chests, local embroidery, musical instruments, and glass-plate photographs (1880-1920) by the Allen sisters, Deerfield's talented early photographers.
The most dramatic exhibit is the Indian House Door. Colonial Deerfield survived two Indian massacres and numerous other battles in its early days.
On February 29, 1704, during the French and Indian War, the Sheldon House (now gone) was attacked, its door suffering chops and bashes. The attackers finally hacked a hole in the center, through which they got at the inhabitants. The door is pretty dramatic.
Back on The Street, Wells-Thorn House (1717-51), next to the south, has a series of period rooms extending from the frontier to the Federal periods.
Dwight House (1725) was actually built in Springfield MA, and moved to Deerfield in 1950. Local furniture and a period doctor's office are the attractions.
Behind the Dwight House is the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, with more historical exhibits on the period from which Old Deerfield dates.