Monday, January 4, 2021

Photo of the Day: Lenox Community Center, Lenox, MA

The Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts represent one of my favorite summer vacation areas, and within that, the town of Lenox—with Edith Wharton’s restored Gilded Age home, The Mountain, and the theatrical troupe Shakespeare and Company—is a particular focal point for my visits.

The last time I visited, in late summer 2017, I spent a bit more time walking around the town itself. On Walker Street, across Trinity Church, is Lenox Community Center.

I knew nothing about this building when I photographed it other than that it was a handsome structure. Subsequently, I learned that it is an example of an adaptive reuse. In 1923, a member of Trinity Church, Maj. George E. Turnure, built the Lenox Brotherhood Club as a memorial to his son and namesake, a Lafayette Escadrille pilot who survived WW I only to succumb to pneumonia, at age 24, in 1920.

Though conceived as a clubhouse, this clapboard building looks more like a large country house—which was probably why it caught my eye from across the street. Several decades later, it was taken over by the town, which now provides services here to residents of all ages.

In July 2019, the center became the recipient of a $200,000 donation from the estate of an admirer: the journalist Claire Cox Lowenthal.

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