Pittsfield Park Square

Pittsfield, MA
United States
Pittsfield Park Square

Landscape Information

Meeting House Common; City Hall Park

This 1.5-acre oval public green in the heart of downtown is surrounded by commercial, religious and civic structures built since the early 19th century. The square commands the highest point in Pittsfield, which was founded on a plateau at the confluence of the East and West Housatonic rivers, between the Hoosac and Taconic mountains.

In 1790 the land for the common was donated by John Chandler Williams. A giant white elm tree dominated the center of the green until it was felled in 1861, at 340 years old. The green space was first improved by Pittsfield’s citizens in 1824, when it was given its present elliptical shape; soon thereafter a row of elms and American lindens were planted on the outer edge, followed by the town's first public sidewalks. A second wave of improvements were made in 1871 and 1872, when the oval plot was surrounded by a broad gravel walk with granite curbing and the site graded and replanted with two rows of trees. A Civil War memorial designed by Launt Thompson was placed on the western end of the park in 1872.

A renovation of the square was undertaken in the mid-1990s by Berkshire Design Group. Today a concrete sidewalk lines the perimeter and transects the oval space in two axes, creating quadrants of lawn, meeting at a large historic fountain at the center of the park. The park also features historic site furnishings and seasonal flower beds. Situated at the center of the Park Square Historic District, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.