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"Chesterwood" Top 5 Page for this destination Massachusetts Things to Do Tip by Faiza-Ifrah

Massachusetts Things to Do: 204 reviews and 272 photos

  The introductory board
by Faiza-Ifrah
  • The introductory board - Massachusetts
      The introductory board
    by Faiza-Ifrah
  • Franch's studio in the background - Massachusetts
      Franch's studio in the background
    by Faiza-Ifrah
  • Frenchs' home - Massachusetts
      Frenchs' home
    by Faiza-Ifrah

There is no denying the fact that my family holds Abraham Lincoln, (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), the 16th President of the USA, in utmost esteem. We have explored many historical resources associated with him in the past. It is but natural that when we visited Berkshires, a beautiful, historic and cultural county located in Appalachian Mountains of Massachusetts in August 2008, we paid a visit to Chesterwood Estate and Museum or simply Chesterwood.

Chesterwood is the country home and studio of Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), who was the creator of the great sculpture of Abraham Lincoln that is placed in the Lincoln Memorial. He also made over other 100 sculptures installed nation wide, including the very famous ‘One Minute Man’ at Concord, MA, showing a Union Army’s soldier going to the war against Confederates. Surprisingly, he never made any sculptures of a Confederate figure. He simply refused to do so since he was a true Yankee (Northerner) at heart.
The Museum is located in southern Berkshires in the town of Chester near Lennox. It has 3 parts to be visited - the family home, the studio, and the gardens where many sculptures of well known artists are on the display.

The visit turned out to be a guided tour and we found our guide to be very knowledgeable. When the visitors asked him whether their hometown had any sculptures designed by Daniel, he was able to tell the details. When my daughter asked him about any of his sculptures in Toronto, with a broad smile on his face, he said that Daniel would have very much wanted to build one for that great city, but your Prime Minister of the time Sir Wilfrid Laurier would not let a Yankee build one at the cost of a masterpiece created by a Canadian Sculptor.

Our session began with a good introduction on the historical background of the French’s. Other visitors and we were then led to the luxurious Victorian style home of the French’s (husband, wife and daughter named Margret). We were informed for example, how the French’s, originally from New York city, came to buy a home in Berkshires when they fell in love with the beauty of the estate during their first ever visit, how the guests, who were almost always potential customers, were treated royally, how the French’s spent their time as a family, etc. (No photography was allowed in this area)

The group was then led to the working studio. What a site it was with all working condition sculptures in various stages of production placed there. It seemed that the Sculptor had just left the studio to take a short walk outside in his garden. Here we were able to get information on how the great sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was built from concept to completion and why there was a need to light it up against artificial lights 24 hours a day.

Address: 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Directions: Chesterwood is located off Route 183 in the Glendale section of Stockbridge.
Phone: 413-298-3579

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 18, 2008
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