Monson, Massachusetts is
a New England community with a rich and varied history. Monson has enjoyed success
as a farming town, and in the 19th century as an industrial center.
beautiful little town was home to Emily Norcross Dickinson, Emily Dickinson's
herself was probably very familiar with the settings described here. We hope you'll
enjoy "Emily Dickinson's Monson."
Dickinson's grandfather, Joel Norcross, was a prominent civic leader and very
successful entrepreneur of Monson in the first half of the 19th century. His daughter,
Emily Norcross (Dickinson), lived in Monson from her birth in 1804 until her marriage
House, 125 Main St.
1835 Joel built this handsome Greek Revival house.
and his second wife, Sarah Vaill Norcross, moved in with his family in November,
- The Dickinsons,
with their children, Emily, Austin and Lavinia, visited on special occasions.
- Today the Norcross
house is home to several local businesses and is open to the public during business
the street from Norcross House (between the Town Office Building and Nothe's Service
Station) is the Norcross Family cemetery.
Joel Norcross and his first wife, Betsey Fay (Emily Dickinson's grandmother) are
buried here, along with other family members.
- The Norcross residence and tavern
at 14 Cushman St. was built by William Norcross c. 1785 in Georgian style. William
died in 1803 and Joel Norcross acquired the house in 1807. Joel had married Betsey
Fay in 1798.
Norcross, the third of nine children, grew up here and this probably was where
she and Edward Dickinson were married May 6, 1828.
Dickinson spent a full month here under the care of her aunt, Lavinia Norcross,
in 1833, when she was two and
a half years old, She visited, of course, at other times with her family.
barn behind the house across the street at 19 Cushman Street, was once part of
the tavern property.
small clapboard house at 12 Cushman Street, set far back - adjacent to the Norcross
tavern - was the first home of Emily Dickinson's great-grandparents.
William and Sarah Marsh Norcross, came to Monson from Sturbridge in 1777 with
their first child, Joel Norcross (not yet two years old).
Main Street, north of Norcross House part way up the hill on the right, is the
site of two buildings of Monson Academy
were destroyed in the June 1, 2011 tornado
Norcross was one of the founders of the Academy and was a member of the Board
of Trustees from 1804 to 1846.
of his nine children attended the Academy, among them Emily and Lavinia. It was
co-educational from the beginning.
Church of Monson
Monson, between High & Main
Streets is First Church United of Monson.
It is the third building on this site.
Norcross was a leader in this church.
church steeple containing the clock and the church bell was destroyed in the June
1, 2011 tornado. There are plans for
little Cape Cod style house was the home of Phoebe Hinsdale Brown.
was the most famous woman hymnist of her day.
member of Emily's grandmother Betsey Fay's Praying Circle.
- Corner of Thompson and Main Streets,
north of the shopping area.
of the Monson Historical Society.
c. 1811 by Jacob Thompson who was Joel Norcross' lawyer.
with many items from the Federal Period.
the house are a bed owned by Joel Norcross and other items from Joel's family.
413-267-5376 to set up an appointment to tour the house.
Bridge & 266 Palmer Road
the way out of town, on Route 32 North, at the Palmer line, the road crosses the
Quaboag River on what is still known as "Fay's Bridge."
last house on the left before the bridge, 266 Palmer Road, is located on the property
where Betsey Fay lived as a young girl. Her family owned this property for many
note that all the properties listed here are privately owned. Only Norcross House
may be viewed from within - during business hours.
June 1, 2011, a devastating tornado struck the center of Monson
buildings were destroyed and the debris is being removed
1st Church lost the
steeple containing the bell and the clock. Plans are to restore it.
St. received damage to the roof
The Norcross Family cemetery gravestones and
fence were damaged - a new fence has been constructed
The barn at 19 Cushman
St. was damaged when a large pine tree fell
There was no damage to the Thompson House
Barn, 19 Cushman St;
Photo of Holmes Gymnasium
- Follow Route 9
east into Belchertown.
At the lights at the intersection with Route 181, turn right onto 181.
In Palmer, Route 181 meets Route 20.
left onto Route 20.
the traffic light in the center of town, do NOT turn left with Route 20.
- Continue on Main St.
for 1 mile.
- Route 32
joins Main St.
Route 32 for approximately 4 more miles to the center of Monson.
the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90):
the Turnpike to the Palmer exit (exit 8).
the end of the ramp, turn right onto Route 32 south.
Route 32 as it goes through Palmer.
on Route 32 for approximately 5 miles to the center of Monson.
Interstate 84 to the Stafford Springs exit (exit 70).
the end of the ramp, turn left onto Route 32 north.
Route 32 through Stafford Springs and continue north for about 10 miles to the
on Route 32 for about 5 more miles, into the center of Monson.