Freight Yard Historic District

North Adams, MA
United States
Freight Yard Historic District

Landscape Information

Western Gateway Heritage State Park

Located downtown on the banks of the Hoosic River, the Freight Yard Historic District is the site of the former Boston & Maine Railroad yard. The district consists of six railroad storage buildings constructed between the 1880s and the 1890s which served the rail line that ran between Boston and Albany. One hundred years later the area underwent extensive renovations, concurrent with the establishment of several Heritage State Parks. The buildings were adaptively reused as a history and science museum, restaurants, and a television studio. Extant grain cranes, railroad cars, and coal pockets were incorporated into the newly built structures and period lighting was installed. At the same time, the Commonwealth hired Italian stonemasons to restore and reset cobblestone walks installed by Italian skilled laborers during the period of significance.

North Adams is home to the western portal of the 4.75-mile long Hoosac Tunnel, which stands as a nineteenth century engineering feat that continues to be used today. The completion of the tunnel enabled North Adams to become a booming industrial center, developing from a town of 13,000 in 1878 to a city of 24,000 by 1913. The history of the tunnel is interpreted at the Hoosac Tunnel Museum, whose Visitors Center is housed in the railroad’s Shippers Office. The Freight Yard Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.