The city of North Adams has a long and vibrant history. While it now a bustling, artistic town, in the past it was largely known for its industry and business, including those businesses found on Eagle Street.
The history of 19 and 21 Eagle Street begins in the 1800’s. 21 Eagle Street was the first building to be built, and was originally built as a criminal lockup between 1864 and 1869. In 1869, the building was deemed unfit for use. It was then that the building was bought by the Tower Brothers, Horace and Henry Tower. The brothers renovated the building and in 1876 began using it as their butcher shop. In 1870, they then began building 19 Eagle Street, completing it in 1872. The brothers ran their successful butcher shop until Henry sold his stake in the business to his brother. Shortly after in 1901, the company went bankrupt, and Horace Tower sold the building over to a woman by the name of Amelia Hodskins.
Not much is known about her or what she did with the building in that time. Most likely, the place was used as a residence for either herself or other tenants. She then sold it to Charles Kronick in 1915. Kronick used the building for his shoe store that opened in 1920. You can still see parts of the Kronick's store advertising on the outside bricks on the second and third stories of the southern side of the building. Other stores also opened and closed, including a thrift shop that sold dry goods and clothes that was successful through the 1920’s and 1930’s. In the fifties, Moderne Studios Photography moved into the location on Eagle Street. It was popular in the 60’s as most of the schools in the area had their student’s yearbook pictures taken there. Also in the 1960’s, a shop called Anne’s Kiddie shop opened in one of the buildings and sold a variety of children’s goods.
19 and 21 Eagle Street are currently unoccupied by and empty storefront and a small park area. On the storefront appears to be a notice of intent to renovate the building, however it is dated 2011. At one point, an old display from a town art event was also posted on it’s walls. Once learning of the long history of the building and the street, one can only hope that it may one day return to its former glory. Until then, we will wait to see what can happen in the future.