33 Hawley history
The Hawley Street property hosted a lumberyard for a bit more than a century. This page from an 1895 atlas of Northampton is the first reference to its role as a lumberyard we've seen. It's down there in the bottom right hand corner, hard by the railroad tracks and the Northampton Beef Company (times change...) The original lumberyard was owned by Joseph Herbert. Over the years names and owners changed, with the Hampshire Lumber Company, the Pioneer Valley Lumber Company, the Franklin Lumber Company all having their names in the records at one time or another. Rugg Manufacturing a.ka. Rugg Lumber was the last lumber yard on site.
Rugg suffered a spectacular fire in late February 1985. More than a hundred fire fighters from nine towns converged on Hawley Street in the early morning hours to battle an enormous blaze that leveled the Rugg building as well as an adjacent apartment house and the former Northampton Frozen Food Locker building. Nearby vehicles blew up; telephone and electric service was knocked out in parts of town as utility lines melted; and fire hoses were aimed at the nearby St. John Cantius church for fear that embers might set the church's roof ablaze. Rugg re-built on site within a year.
Rugg sold the building a bit more than a decade later to Elizabeth Cole who, in January 1998 after extensive renovations, opened a fitness and child care center. Universal Health and Fitness, Universal Kids and Dolphin Daycare operated out of the building for nearly 15 years.
The Northampton Community Arts Trust became aware of the Hawley Street location during the summer of 2013. Having investigated numerous sites in and around Northampton — including the Round House, First Churches, Union Station, Florence Grammar School and St. John Cantius — we immediately recognized 33 Hawley as a credible and desirable candidate for carrying out our mission of securing space for the arts in Northampton. Negotiations lead to a purchase and sale agreement, with the final transfer of ownership of the building passing to the Trust in October 2013.