Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur Catholic Church
Located on East Main Street, the Notre Dame Church and accompanying parochial school served as a staple Catholic church for the community. In 1871, Father Charles Crevier came to North Adams to start what would become the Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur parish. The site was purchased by Father Crevier and Samuel Vadnais from T.F Loftus in 1872. The church was completed in 1885 at an approximate cost of $70,000. The parish included about 400 French Canadian families.
At the request of succeeding pastor Father Louis DeLuc, the Sisters of St. Anne from Quebec came to the parish in August 1890. As the three-story school building was completed, the school operated from the church basement until 1898. The sisters stayed in the home of Dr. George Rice, acquired by the church in 1896. The school had great resonance with the overall community, reaching high numbers of enrollment early on. There were 600 pupils in 1899 and a peak of 740 students in 1911. The sisters also administered a commercial course from 1920-1951, intended to educate those hired by local businesses in North Adams. The sisters left the church and school in 1969 due to declining enrollment. With their departure, the school building was rented to the North Adams School system.
Both the Notre Dame Church and school experienced periods of renovation to improve buildings. Repairs were made to the parish hall, allowing for new altars and windows in the church as well as individual rooms provided for the sisters at their convent. During the 1940s-1950s, the parent-teacher group of the parochial school called upon community members to fundraise for renovations and equipment within the school. Approximately $100,000 was collected to install an intercom system, new floors, and an outside face lift. The 1970s renovations included one of the greatest organs in Western Massachusetts, along with new pews, doors, light fixtures, and repaved walkways. A ramp was installed that allowed for the church to host a “mass for shut-ins”. The convent known as the “Rice Property” that housed the Sisters of St Anne was eventually torn down in 1981 in order to expand the parking lot for the parish community. The church deemed that it had no use for the building and could not afford to lease the building as a rental property.
In 2003, members of the local clergy revealed that the church would likely close within five years. A lack of priests available as well as the aging building and fiscal concerns limited the church. This was part of the Pastoral Planning Proposal intended to ensure viability of the churches in Northern Berkshire county. Following the closure of the church in 2005, the property was sold to the city of North Adams in 2008. The city faced repairing the church building as recently as 2016 with about half of the $100,000 budget coming from the city directly. In 2018, the North Adams City Council approved to begin negotiations with Square Office, LLC for a proposed $18.5 million hotel project for the church and school buildings. The hospitality industry is growing in the area, including the new arrival of the Tourists hotel between North Adams and Williamstown. At a site that once hosted one of the most vibrant steeples in North Adams, the buildings have a potential for a new beginning close to the iconic Main Street of North Adams today.