Dickinson District Guide Book

The Amherst Historical Commission has published a new Guide to the Dickinson Historic District, the first in a proposed series about Amherst’s nine National Historic Register Districts. Written by architectural historian and Commission member Paul F. Norton, the 42-page book includes maps, an introduction and information for a tour of the area.

The guide book can serve as resource guide or for walking tours, and introduces readers to the history of the Emily Dickinson Museum: The (Dickinson) Homestead and The Evergreens, the First Congregational Church, Masonic Hall, the Amherst Police Building, the Amherst Depot, Sweetser Park, as well as historic homes, former Amherst College fraternities now used as dormitories, and inns on Main Street, Lessey Street, Spring Street, Tyler Place and Triangle Street.

Author Paul Norton has described the architectural details and periods of the houses and buildings and included information about the early builders and residents as well as the social history of the area.
Norton, a longtime professor of art at the University of Massachusetts, holds a doctorate in the history of art from Princeton University. He is also the author of Amherst: A Guide to its Architecture, published in 1975 by the Amherst Historical Society. He is the co-author of Arts in America: The Nineteenth Century, has written many journal articles, and contributed to the Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The guide books cost $7.50 and can be purchased at the following locations:
  • Amherst Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue:
    • Central Services (first floor)
    • Planning Department (second floor)
  • Amherst History Museum (Strong House), 67 Amity Street
  • Emily Dickinson Museum, 280 Main Street.
This guide book was funded by Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds approved by Amherst Town Meeting. It was published under the direction of the Commission’s Publications Committee, Gai Carpenter (Chair) and Paul Norton. Color photography and layout design are by Asha Kinney.

All proceeds from the sale of the Dickinson District guide books will be used to fund the publication of subsequent historic district guide books and other historic publications promoting the preservation of Amherst’s critical historical resources.