Emily Dickinson's



History Book
Emily Dickinson
Flynt Quarry

Norcross House "Emily's View"

Monson, Massachusetts is a New England community with a rich and varied history. Monson has enjoyed success as a farming town, and in the 19th century as an industrial center.

Our beautiful little town was home to Emily Norcross Dickinson, Emily Dickinson's mother.

Emily herself was probably very familiar with the settings described here. We hope you'll enjoy "Emily Dickinson's Monson."

Emily Dickinson's grandfather, Joel Norcross, was a prominent civic leader and very successful entrepreneur of Monson in the first half of the 19th century. His daughter, Emily Norcross (Dickinson), lived in Monson from her birth in 1804 until her marriage in 1828.

Norcross House, 125 Main St.

  • In 1835 Joel built this handsome Greek Revival house.
  • He and his second wife, Sarah Vaill Norcross, moved in with his family in November, 1837.
  • The Dickinsons, with their children, Emily, Austin and Lavinia, visited on special occasions.
  • Today the Norcross house is home to several local businesses and is open to the public during business hours.

Norcross Family Cemetery

  • Across the street from Norcross House (between the Town Office Building and Nothe's Service Station) is the Norcross Family cemetery.
  • Both Joel Norcross and his first wife, Betsey Fay (Emily Dickinson's grandmother) are buried here, along with other family members.

14 Cushman Street Norcross Tavern

  • The Norcross residence and tavern at 14 Cushman St. was built by William Norcross c. 1785 in Georgian style. William died in 1803 and Joel Norcross acquired the house in 1807. Joel had married Betsey Fay in 1798.
  • Emily Norcross, the third of nine children, grew up here and this probably was where she and Edward Dickinson were married May 6, 1828.
  • Emily Dickinson spent a full month here under the care of her aunt, Lavinia Norcross, in 1833, when she was two and a half years old, She visited, of course, at other times with her family.
  • The barn behind the house across the street at 19 Cushman Street, was once part of the tavern property.

12 Cushman Street

  • The small clapboard house at 12 Cushman Street, set far back - adjacent to the Norcross tavern - was the first home of Emily Dickinson's great-grandparents.
  • William and Sarah Marsh Norcross, came to Monson from Sturbridge in 1777 with their first child, Joel Norcross (not yet two years old).

Monson Academy

  • On Main Street, north of Norcross House part way up the hill on the right, is the site of two buildings of Monson Academy
  • They were destroyed in the June 1, 2011 tornado
  • Joel Norcross was one of the founders of the Academy and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1804 to 1846.
  • Seven of his nine children attended the Academy, among them Emily and Lavinia. It was co-educational from the beginning.

First Church of Monson

  • Overlooking Monson, between High & Main Streets is First Church United of Monson.
  • It is the third building on this site.
  • Joel Norcross was a leader in this church.
  • The church steeple containing the clock and the church bell was destroyed in the June 1, 2011 tornado. There are plans for

15 Mechanic Street

  • This little Cape Cod style house was the home of Phoebe Hinsdale Brown.
  • She was the most famous woman hymnist of her day.
  • Charter member of Emily's grandmother Betsey Fay's Praying Circle.


Jacob Thompson House Jacob Thompson House

  • Corner of Thompson and Main Streets, north of the shopping area.
  • Museum of the Monson Historical Society.
  • Built c. 1811 by Jacob Thompson who was Joel Norcross' lawyer.
  • Furnished with many items from the Federal Period.
  • In the house are a bed owned by Joel Norcross and other items from Joel's family.

Call 413-267-5376 to set up an appointment to tour the house.

Fay's Bridge & 266 Palmer Road

  • On the way out of town, on Route 32 North, at the Palmer line, the road crosses the Quaboag River on what is still known as "Fay's Bridge."
  • The last house on the left before the bridge, 266 Palmer Road, is located on the property where Betsey Fay lived as a young girl. Her family owned this property for many years.

Please note that all the properties listed here are privately owned. Only Norcross House may be viewed from within - during business hours.

Rose Line

On June 1, 2011, a devastating tornado struck the center of Monson
The Academy buildings were destroyed and the debris is being removed
1st Church lost the steeple containing the bell and the clock. Plans are to restore it.
12 Cushman St. received damage to the roof
The Norcross Family cemetery gravestones and fence were damaged - a new fence has been constructed
The barn at 19 Cushman St. was damaged when a large pine tree fell

There was no damage to the Thompson House

1st Churdh

First Church

19 Cushman St.

Norcross Barn, 19 Cushman St;


Holmes Gymnasium

Early Photo of Holmes Gymnasium

Academy Gyms

Academy Gyms

Rose line

Directions to Monson

From Amherst:

  • Follow Route 9 east into Belchertown.
  • At the lights at the intersection with Route 181, turn right onto 181.
  • In Palmer, Route 181 meets Route 20.
  • Bear left onto Route 20.
  • At the traffic light in the center of town, do NOT turn left with Route 20.
  • Continue on Main St. for 1 mile.
  • Route 32 joins Main St.
  • Follow Route 32 for approximately 4 more miles to the center of Monson.

From the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90):

  • Follow the Turnpike to the Palmer exit (exit 8).
  • At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Route 32 south.
  • Follow Route 32 as it goes through Palmer.
  • Continue on Route 32 for approximately 5 miles to the center of Monson.

From Connecticut:

  • Follow Interstate 84 to the Stafford Springs exit (exit 70).
  • At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Route 32 north.
  • Follow Route 32 through Stafford Springs and continue north for about 10 miles to the state line.
  • Continue on Route 32 for about 5 more miles, into the center of Monson.

Map of Emily's Monson

Rose line

Phone Numbers:

  • Monson Selectmen's Office 413-267-4100
  • Monson Historical Society 413-267-5376

Photographs Courtesy
Compleat Communications, Monson

Text by
EmmaLadd Shepherd


Supported by a donation from www.monsonsavings.com

Monson Savings Bank

E-mail: info@monsonhistoricalsociety.org

Contact Webmaster: webmaster@monsonhistoricalsociety.org

© 2014 Monson Historical Society, Inc. All Rights Reserved
All images are the property of the MHS and may not be used without written permission.

This web site is hosted by Excell.Net

Some of the artwork is Copyright BillyBear4Kids.com