Last updated Sunday, January 27, 2019  1:37:50 PM

Elmwood Court located at the NE corner of Broad Street and Bartlett Avenue, Pittsfield.

When built the address was Wendell Avenue or Broad Street as Bartlett (in the map it was Learned) did not go through to Broad at that time.

It appears that Edward Learned owned the Onota Stock Farm on West Street.

The tenure of Elmwood Court as the location of Miss Hall's School appears to be while Edward Learned's widow was still in residence (from social clippings below). Clippings show social events there in the years after Miss Hall's relocated to the Cutting estate at the corner of Holmes Road and Pomeroy Ave.

The Cutting history will be subject of another web page here at this site.

Link to Miss Hall's School 110 year history (starting at page 12) is here.

An aside - photos of Park Square


1876 drawing (above)

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Above from "The History of Pittsfield, 1800-1876" J.E.A. Smith, available for download - Here$_57.JPG

References can be found doing a Google search, many resources in the Google Books collection.

from The Book_of_Berkshire -1887 page 119:

We now come to "Elmwood," the country seat of Edward Learned when living, and one of the finest in the State. Its great elms make the name appropriate. It occupies a prominent situation in the village, and its handsome grounds are highly attractive. It is stated that the original owner was a baker (Henry Henderson of Baltimore), who had accumulated a fortune and removed to Pittsfield to establish a home. His vocation followed him, and he was so continually annoyed by the exclamation of "Crackers" and other epithets pertaining to his trade that he sold his property to Mr. Learned and quit the town forever.


The History of Pittsfield (Berkshire County) Massachusetts: from ..., Volume 2 page 685:

Hon. Edward Learned was born February 26, 1820, at Watervliet, Albany county, N. Y. His father, Edward, was born at Salem, Mass.; his mother, whose maiden name was Crawford, was born in the north of Ireland. Mr. Learned attended school until he was fifteen years old, at which time he engaged in civil engineering, as rod man on the Hudson and Berkshire railroad. His advancement in his profession was so rapid, that the construction of the most difficult portion of the road—that from Mellenville, then Hardscrabble, to the river at Hudson—was placed almost exclusively in his charge. From this beginning, Mr. Learned soon became engaged in the construction of other public works, and has continued his relations to such undertakings till the present time; although his business-capacity has "not been confined to such operations, but has found abundant employment in other channels, including manufacture of woolens in Berkshire county, manufacturing iron near Marquette, and mining copper and silver on Lake Superior.

In public affairs, whether local, state, or national, he has always taken a lively interest and occupied decided and active positions. He was elected to the state-legislature from Pittsfield, in 1857, and served in the years 1873-1874, for two terms as senator from the Berkshire district.

He was married in September, 1840, to Caroline, daughter of Lewis Stoddard of Pittsfield. He became a resident of Pittsfield in 1853, having purchased the place on which he now resides, and which he has beautified and extended, until "Elmwood" is recognized as one of the most elegant country-seats in Massachusetts.



Above Published: August 13, 1914 - Copyright © The New York Times


Above Published: June 5, 1915 - Copyright © The New York Times


Above, Social Register of New York, Volume VII No.1 November 1892 (1893)

The History of Pittsfield, by Joseph Edward A. Smith:


The Taconic mill was built in 1856, on the water-privilege two miles north of the village, formerly occupied by the Pomeroy armory. It is a wooden structure of one hundred and fifty by fifty feet; four stories high and an attic. It has the usual dye, picker, boiler, wool, and store houses. At the time of its erection no pains were spared to make it complete in all its appointments. Its manufacture was union cassimeres, of which it made four thousand yards weekly, requiring four hundred thousand pounds of wool annually. The original stockholders were William C. Allen, William Pollock, Theodore Pomeroy, Robert Pomeroy, Edward Pomeroy, Charles Atkinson, Edward Learned, Frank Cone, and James L. Baldwin. Edward Learned was the first president of the company, George Y. Learned the first general agent and treasurer, and Charles Atkinson the first superintendent.


The west branch of the Housatonic, from Pontoosuc Lake to the Wahconah mills, presents a close succession of water-falls; one of the best of which is midway between Taconic and Wahconah. It is formed by the union of two distinct water-privileges, upon the lower of which, having a fall of only six feet, Spencer Churchill, as contractor, built for E. M. Bissell, in 1832, a four-story brick-factory, of eighty by thirty feet. But the owners of the next privilege above, having some business-controversy concerning the right to the privilege, put in a mudsill-dam, which rendered it impossible to obtain a sufficient regular supply of water; and the mill never went into operation.

The speculation ruined Mr. Bissell financially, and the building remained uncared for, and gradually falling into a ruinous condition, until, when it seemed about to fall by its own weight, it was purchased in 1852, by the newly-organized Pittsfield Woolen Company, who rebuilt the lower story, and thoroughly repaired and remodeled the whole structure.

The new proprietors also bought the water-privilege next above, and combining it with the old, by the erection of a massive stone dam, obtained a fall of twenty-six feet, instead of six. They placed in the mill four sets of machinery, which had some years before been used for a short time in the unfortunate Ashuelot mill in Dalton.

The first officers of the company were Henry Colt, president; Robert Pomeroy, treasurer; W. Frank Bacon, secretary and general agent. Among the principal stockholders were Theodore Pomeroy, Edward Learned, and Edwin Clapp.

In June, 1861, the upper story of the mill was destroyed by fire; the remainder being saved; very much through the efforts of Company D (the Pollock Guard) of the Tenth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, which was then organizing upon the neighboring grounds of the Berkshire Agricultural Society. The upper story was not rebuilt, and the old mill was converted into spinning and dressing rooms. In 1864, the upper story was again burned off, and it was repaired as a building of two stories.

In the meantime, in 1862, a fine, new brick-mill of four stories one hundred feet by fifty in area, was erected, a short distance up the stream, and supplied with the best and most modern machinery. In 1870, it ran eight sets of machinery, and employed one hundred and fifty hands, one-fifth of them girls; making, monthly, twelve thousand yards of cassimeres, beavers, and doeskins, worth from three to five dollars per yard. Its monthly pay-roll was forty-five hundred dollars.

In July, 1873, the property of the Pittsfield Woolen Company was purchased for one hundred thousand dollars, by the Bel Air Manufacturing Company. President, Hon. Edward Learned; secretary, E. McA. Learned; treasurer, Frank E. Kernochan. This new company has improved the property, put up new buildings, and added new machinery, at a cost of between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars; and the mill is now turning out, monthly, almost twelve thousand yards of fine, fancy cassimeres, which command as high a price as any similar goods of American manufacture. One hundred and sixty operatives are employed, one-fourth females, and the monthly pay-roll amounts to about forty-five hundred dollars.


The first mill-dam in Pittsfield—built by Deacon Crofoot, some few rods south of the Elm-street bridge—passed, in 1778, into the hands of Ebenezer White, under a lease of nine hundred and ninety-nine years, from the town. It remained in the hands of Mr. White, and, after his death, of his son Enoch, until 1832: Mr. Enoch White continuing and improving the saw and grist mills on the east end of the dam, and the successors of Jacob Ensign maintaining the fulling-mill on the west end; Jonathan Allen, 2d, being the last. Simeon Brown also built a bark-mill, for the supply of his tannery, just below the dam, and obtaining its power from it.

In 1832, the privilege, with the considerable amount of land attached to it, was contributed by Mr. White, as stock in trade, to a firm, to which Col. Samuel M. McKay and Capt. Curtis T. Fenn, the other partners, furnished the cash-capital, for building and running a cotton-factory. This factory, which was built of brick, in 1832, was eighty feet by forty in area; three stories high., besides an attic and basement.

Messrs. McKay and Fenn soon bought the interest of their partner, and continued to run the mill until the death of Colonel McKay in 1839, when the property was sold at auction, and purchased by Thomas F. Plunkett, who, in 1845, removed the dam down the stream, to a point near the factory.

He also added forty feet to the rear of the building, making if one hundred and twenty feet long; and gave it its present capacity of twenty-nine cards, over one hundred looms, and nearly four thousand spindles, producing one million, five hundred and sixty thousand yards of sheeting annually, and employing one hundred operatives.

(Mr. Zalmon Markham put in the water wheel—a breast-wheel, thirteen feet in diameter, and twelve feet bucket—one of a hundred built by him for mills in the vicinity of Pittsfield.)

Each purchased a quarter-interest in the property, and the firm became Plunkett, Clapp & Company, and, although Mr. Clapp died, suddenly at New York in 1853, so continued until 1864; the representatives of the deceased partner retaining his interest. In 1861, at the breaking out of the rebellion, work was suspended at the mill, in deference to Mr. Plunkett's judgment, and Mr. Van Sickler entered into a temporary partnership with Mr. X. G. Brown, for the manufacture of gray flannels, at a small factory on Beaver street, where Mr. Brown had formerly made twine. This business proved profitable; but, in 1864, Mr. Albert Learned purchased Mr. Plunkett's interest in the cotton-factory, and, with Mr. Van Sickler, that of Mr. Clapp's heirs also—and the firm was again changed, becoming Learned & Van Sickler. In 1867, Mr. Learned sold to Mr. Van Sickler, who has since conducted the business alone.



Tidbits, Gazatteer of Berkshire County, Mass. 1725-1885 Compiled and published by Hamilton Child

Bel Air Mfg. Co., r 6-1/2, (Edward Learned, Frank E. Kernochan, E. McAlpine Learned) manuf. fancy cassimeres.

The Bel Air Manufacturing Company now occupies the mills at Bel Air originally erected by Spencer & Churchill and E. M. Bissell, as a cotton-mill. The original proprietors were unsuccessful, and the property passed into the hands of the Pittsfield Woolen Company, who made great improvements, erected new buildings and operated the mills up to 1871. July 24, 1873, Frank E. Kernochan, Hon. Edward Learned and Edward McAlpine Learned were incorporated as the Bel Air Manufacturing Company, with a capital of $100,000.00. They immediately commenced operations, running on fine fancy cassimers, and last year produced nearly 150,000 yards of 6-4 width, representing about $500,000.00. They give employment to about 170 hands, eight sets of cards and forty broad Crompton looms.

The Taconic Mills.—These mills, located at Taconic, were built by a corporation known as the " Taconic Mills," in 1856. The main building is a wooden structure, 50x150 feet, four stories in height. The company commenced manufacturing in 1867, continuing until 1873, when business was suspended until 1880, the mills lying idle. During the latter year is was leased by the present firm Messrs Wilson, Glennon & Co., who manufacture fine union cassimeres. They operate eight sets of cards, thirty-four broad and thirty-six narrow looms, giving employment to 125 hands.

Reese Aaron H., r 28, supt. Edward Learned's Onota farm. (Apparently Edward owned Onota Farm on West St and brother Frank (and other Learneds) managed it?)

Learned E. McAlpine, r 6-1/2, Bel Air Mfg. Co.

Learned Edward, prop. "Onota Farm" 230 acres on r 28, h Broad st,

Brett Richard, gardener for E. Learned, bds do.

Connor John, coachman for E. Learned, bds do.

Nelson Otto, emp. of E Learned, bds do.

Note: do = ditto

Onota Stock Farm of Pittsfield Frank Learned proprietor is made more valuable by the presence of numerous fine blooded domestic animals among them pure bred Jersey cattle Shropshiredown sheep Yorkshire swine and several fine stallions. It costs no more to feed a cow worth $500 than one worth $50. Every farmer may keep improved stock if he will. Our book will inform him where to purchase". Mr Learned's card is on page 100

Above, 29 June 1921 advertisement in The Outlook, Page 458


Another Learned tidbit, connection to the Pollock family, page 317.

William Pollock was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1808. In his youth he learned the trade of a cotton spinner, in which he became an adept, and accumulated sufficient capital to bring him to Canada in 1835, where he tried farming, but soon after entered the employ of Gershom Turner, proprietor of a small cotton mill near Troy, N. Y., in which Mr. Pollock soon became superintendent. He was also employed by James, son of Gershom Turner, to start another factory at East Nassau, N. Y. About 1840 he hired a small factory of George C. Rider, at Adams, Mass., entering into partnership with Nathaniel G. Hathaway, and they were enabled, in 1842, to purchase the mill. In 1845 they purchased the mill privilege just below their mill and erected the " stone mill " now owned by the Renfrew Manufacturing Company, which mill has since been somewhat altered. In 1848 Mr. Hathaway sold out his interest to Hiram H. Clark, and in 1855 Mr. Pollock purchased his partner's interest, and conducted the business in his own name until 1865, when he received his nephews, James Renfrew, Jr., and James Chalmers, into partnership. The following year the mill privilege and the land now owned by the large brick mill of the Renfrew Manufacturing Company, was purchased, and soon after the foundations of the mill laid. Mr. Pollock removed to Pittsfield in 1855. where he resided until his death. He also became a large stockholder in the Taconic Wool Company, the Pittsfield Wool Company, Washburn Iron Company of Worcester, and the Toronto Rolling mills in Canada. He was for several years president of the Pittsfield Bank, a trustee of the Berkshire Life Insurance Co., a director in the Western Massachusetts Fire Insurance Co., and a r

State director of the Western, now Boston & Albany railroad. On the organization of the 49th Regt. Mass. Vols., in 1861, he equipped at his own expense, one of its companies, known as the Pollock Guard. His first wife, whom he married in Scotland, died before his removal here, leaving one daughter, who became the wife of Benjamin Snow, of Fitchburg, Mass. His second wife was Lucy Gillson, of Adams, by whom he had one daughter deceased. He was united a third time in marriage, to Miss Susan M. Learned, sister of Hon. Edward and George G. Learned, of Pittsfield, and daughter of Edward Learned, contractor of the Boston Water Works. She now resides in Grey Tower, built by Mr. Pollock before his death. Mr. Pollock visited Europe in 1866, and died shortly after his return, at Fifth Avenue Hotel, in New York city, December 9, 1866, in his fifty-ninth year. Mr. Pollock achieved a distinguished reputation as a manufacturer, and amassed a large fortune.


Definitive history from the Berkshire Eagle:

Elmwood's rich history - Cornelia Brooke Gilder of Tyringham, Kelly Blau of Pittsfield

Updated: 05/19/2011 06:47:36 AM EDT

Thursday May 19, 2011


Saturday's terrible fire on Bartlett Avenue in Pittsfield is not only a human tragedy but also threatens the future of one of Pittsfield's great pre-Civil War landmarks, Elmwood.

Long before Bartlett Avenue existed, the bracketed porches of this grandly gabled residence overlooked the elm-shaded lawns of a large estate comprising two city blocks of today's Pittsfield. Henry Henderson of Baltimore began this "costly and handsome mansion" in 1853, and sold it a year later to a successful civil engineer Edward J. Learned (1820-1886). For 80 years two generations of the Learned family lived at Elmwood.

Son of an Erie Canal engineer from Watervliet, N.Y., Learned was educated in Lanesborough at Nathaniel P. Talcott's school. At 15 he began working with his father surveying the difficult "Hardscrabble" stretch of railroad line through Columbia County for the Berkshire and Hudson. They went on to design the long brick and concrete Newton and Brookline tunnels of the Cochituate Waterworks near Boston.

At 20 he married Caroline Stoddard in Pittsfield in 1840. For the early years of his marriage, Learned's work took him all over the country with railroads (including the Hannibal and St. Joseph line over the Missouri River) and supplying granite for important public buildings -- custom houses in New Orleans and Charleston, the Post Office in New York City and extensions to the Treasury Building in Washington D.C.

In 1853 the Learneds with four children (three more had died as toddlers in the 1840s) returned to Pittsfield, and soon afterward bought the most conspicuous, new house in the town. A stately two story Italianate house on spacious grounds, Elmwood faced south on Broad Street away from the center of town.

Once settled in Pittsfield, Learned entered into state politics (he was elected as a Democrat to the State Legislature in 1857) and various entrepreneurial ventures both local (Taconic and Bel Air textile mills in Pittsfield, real estate around Onota Lake) and far-flung (railroads in Mexico). In 1862 just before the birth of their 12th child, Edward and Caroline enlarged Elmwood adding a third story with its decorative, Second Empire mansard roof. During the Civil War Learned was a generous supporter of the Union cause and, like many, followed Lincoln into the Republican Party.

After the war the Learneds continued to enlarge Elmwood, nearly doubling the size of the house. These exuberant Victorian additions, likely the work of their architect neighbor, Charles T. Rathbun, gave the place its splendid roofline with two asymmetrical towers and large bell shaped gable surrounding an oriel window. Inside a lofty two-story music room accommodated the family pipe organ.

An engraving of the place in 1876 records Elmwood at its peak of prosperity. The Honorable Edward Learned, now an elder statesman in his mid fifties, had recently served as a Republican state senator. The elms have grown to embower the immense house. Outbuildings along Taconic Street included a grapery and extensive greenhouses.

Sen. Learned did not live to attend the eventful second marriage of his daughter, Sarah. In a blizzard on Valentine's Day, 1899, Sarah Learned Mifflin married widower George H. Morgan at Ventfort Hall in Lenox.

By then the Learned family fortunes had ebbed, and Caroline and Edward's children had subdivided the Elmwood estate. The fledgling Miss Hall's School rented the house from 1900 until 1909 when the school moved to its present location on Holmes Road (The Colonel Walter Cutting, Meadow Farm, estate) . In subsequent years the youngest Learned daughter, Florence, adapted the grand, old family house as an inn.

Over the years the fanciful towers have been capped and now, since the Saturday's fire, the southern portion of the house is condemned, but this venerable 19th century landmark of Pittsfield deserves a preservation solution.

Cornelia Brooke Gilder of Tyringham is a co-author of "Houses of the Berkshires," republished in an expanded edition this month by Acanthus Press. Kelly Blau of Pittsfield serves on the Board of Ventfort Hall. Both the authors are members of Ventfort Hall's program committee.

Link to story below. Video there no longer available.

Fire Destroys Pittsfield Apartment Complex

By: Andy McKeever On: 05:20PM / Saturday May 14, 2011

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A massive fire in an apartment complex on Saturday afternoon left more than 40 people homeless.

The five-alarm  blaze was brought under control by Pittsfield firefighters after nearly seven hours and with the aid of at least six county fire companies.

No one was injured but the historic three-story Elmwood Court was heavily damaged.

Chief Robert Czerwinski said crews did an initial sweep of the building to ensure no one was inside. All the tenants had gotten out safely; two are out of town.

"We were having a tough time fighting it," said Czerwinski at around 8 p.m. "We're keeping a crew here over night to make sure it doesn't start back up."

The chief said the fire started in the basement and moved through the attic, helped along by the 160-year-old building's balloon construction.

The department received a call of smoke in the basement at about 12:30 Saturday afternoon. As the large fire moved through the 28 apartments, Pittsfield called surrounding towns for mutual aid.

Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough, Lenox, Hinsdale and Richmond responded. The state's Fire Services Division also responded to provide support and coordination.

Czerwinski said the investigation "will start in earnest in the morning."

The local Red Cross chapter was helping any of the 45 or so tenants in need of aid.

The original mansion was built by Edward Learned, an industrialist and financier, in 1854 and was later known as one of the Berkshire cottages. It housed Miss Hall's School for the first decade of the last century and then was an inn, before being turned into apartments.

The property is owned by Cavalier S.E. Properties LLC, based in Egremont, which purchased it in 2004 from MP Bartlett Realty Trust for $1.1 million.

Updated and rewritten throughout at 9:12 p.m., May 14, 2011.









Other information:

Edward Learned Jr.
Massachusetts: Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards, 1733-1990

Edward Learned Jr.
Date: July 03, 1945
Location: Massachusetts
Paper: Springfield Republican

Edward Learned Jr. (Grave)

More will be added at a later date……