A colleague of mine recently took me out to see a new listing of his in Pelham that had an interesting feature. It’s an antique home with a secret hiding space behind the fireplace of the living room and the brick oven in the kitchen.
Public records state that it was built in 1750, but it is likely that this is just an approximation. It is located off of route 202 down a short dirt road with another house that is also being offered for sale.
My colleague explained on the way to the property that it is located on King Road, but the town has it listed as King Street. I couldn’t help but wonder if the two roads were once the same, but I’ll get back to that later as this is not what I found interesting about this house.
As you go up the stairs of this antique home there is a wooden cabinet. The cabinet comes out and reveals what is believed to have been an 18th century panic room of sorts. The owner of the property said that, according to folklore, it may have been used to hide from invading Native Americans.
The builder of this home made the central chimney much larger than needed to allow for the extra space.
I couldn’t help but wonder if it was ever a station of the Underground Railroad―the network of locations that were used to helped African Americans escape slavery.
Looking down into this space from the opening along the staircase, one can see the exterior of the brick oven and the brick work for the living room fireplace. Next to the fire place in the living room, there is also a built-in book case that is the shape of the door. The owner said that it used to be another access to this space.
Getting back to the King Street-King Road connection, I asked the seller if there was ever a road joining the two. He said that he learned through documents at the Quabbin Visitor’s Center in neighboring Belchertown that Ward Street once ran parallel to Route 202 and joined the two roads. The question as to whether or not the two roads were the same at one time remains an open question―at least to me.
Either way, this home must have some great stories to tell. If only its walls could talk.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.