"Yes, this home and land have had a long and intriguing journey from the earliest inhabitants to early industrialists, and into the era of advancing communication and technology! "
777 West Street
This gracious home and the land on which it sites share a unique and inter-related history that begins with the indigenous peoples who originally populated the region. If you listen carefully, you may hear the sounds of the Mohicans, Native Americans, who lived in and travelled this area as part of their ancient hunting grounds for centuries. As the Mohicans were driven further westward by settlers in the mid-1700’s, notables such as Colonel Stoddard Jacob, Wendell, the Holmes (Oliver Wendall Holmes family), Roots, Williams, Pollock and Allen families were either provided land grants or purchased these lands throughout what is now known as Pittsfield, including the West end of the city. Much of the land was sold off as farms (Jacoby Farm of Fort Hill Avenue) or estates. Early documents indicated that William C. Allen (descendant of Pittsfield’s “fighting parson” of Revolutionary War fame) sold some of the land in what we now call the outer West Street area to the Pollock family (stockholders in the Taconic Mill) in 1873. Henry Valentine, (varnish manufacturer) purchased 385 acres in 1850 and developed the Taconic Farm Estate near Onota Lake which included much of the land across West Street. The estate was replaced in 1908 by “Tor Court” (from the English work meaning hill overlooking the lake), purchased from Henry Valentine for $400,000by Warren Salisbury, a wealthy Chicagoan who made a fortune in the manufacture of rubber goods and pianos and organs (he married Eva Kimball of the Kimball Piano and Organ Company). The Salisburys purchased additional land from a John Spoor (descendant of Captain John Spoor or Spurr, one of the early Dutch settlers from the Hudson Valley), in 1912. In 1948, the Salisbury mansion was purchased by Hillcrest Hospital and presently continues its medical role as a unit of Berkshires Medical Center. Over the years the land has been divided and purchased many times with several streets and housing now on either side of ”outer” West Street.
In 1939, the land on which this home on 777 West Street is situated was sold by Evaline Salisbury (then widowed) to Samuel G. Colt, engineer, civic leader and descendant of one of Pittsfield’s most prominent families. Colt had the current home built as a summer cottage in 1940, on year after purchase. “Word has it” that ne never lived in the home which was ultimately enjoyed by James Colt, a family member. The home was for several decades the venue for Berkshire social events, while under the ownership of the colts, followed by the Duttons, Jacksons, and Beccallis. In 1945, Samuel Colt conveyed a parcel of land to George and Freda Haddad, and in May of 1949, sold the home and many acres surrounding it, to Harry Dutton; Mr. Dutton had been president of White and Wyckoff Manufacturing Company of Holyoke and in 1949, moved to Pittsfield when he became president of Easton Paper Company mills in both Pittsfield and Dalton. In 1962, the home was sold to Richard S. and Mary M. Jackson. Mr. Jackson was a well-known figure in Pittsfield, active on 25 boards in the city, among them the Planning Board, as well as president and owner of WBEC radio station. The Jacksons, following a move to Florida, sold the home to Ferdinando and Marilisa Beccalli in 1997. Ferdinando, known as Nani, was an Executive officer of GE (General Electric) in Pittsfield and internationally in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. From the Beccallis, the home passed to Jeffrey C. Cook in 2002, about whom little is available at this date, other than he owned and sold many properties in the city. Dr. John Michael Steward and his wife, Dr. Bethany Stewart, purchased the home in 2007. Dr. John Stewart was an oral surgeon practicing in Pittsfield, and now resides in Dallas Texas where he is a practicing oral surgeon. His wife, Dr. Bethany Stewart, owns a dental practice in Dallas. The Stewarts sold the home to Matthew Edward and Alexandra Joseph Stack in December of 2012. Stack self-presents in his online profile as a unique and talented individual, i.e. a mathematician and computer hacker, turned technology and venture investor.
Yes, this home and land have had a long and intriguing journey from the earliest inhabitants to early industrialists, and into the era of advancing communication and technology! And now enter the Tugaw family, adding their creativity to this “homestead”, which boasts a gracious colonial facade, extensive acreage and many opportunities for comfort and happiness.