Oakes Ames Memorial Hall; designed by Henry Hobson Richardson (photo credit: Paul Keleher)

Oakes Ames Memorial Hall; designed by Henry Hobson Richardson (photo credit: Paul Keleher)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Events Services is a national leader in installation and dismantle labor, event contracting, permanent installations, and audio visual production.

And from coast to coast, we are renowned for our professionalism, highly skilled labor teams, work ethic, personalized service, and ability to innovate and resource to do things right, on time, and on budget.

Rockery Arch

The Rockery (view of arch); designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (photo credit: Ross A. Muscato)

The industry in which we work is one in which creativity, design, and architecture are fundamental and vital to success. Exhibit houses, show producers, and event specialists are in the business of developing pleasing and eye-catching aesthetics and functionality – and reconciling the two.

A major component of the work of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Events Services is supporting designers, decorators, and planners – and serving as caretakers and guardians of what they have created – and making happen what they have envisioned.

Willwork also has an in-house creative team that is highly accomplished in signage, audio visual, show-floor layout and space planning, and marketing-communications.

Willwork highly admires design and structures and messaging resulting from the gifted and inspired.

Those working in our corporate headquarters, about 25 miles south of Boston, in Easton, MA, don’t have to travel far to see in person and up close, and receive inspiration from, the designs and architecture of some of the most revered and esteemed artisans in U.S. history

For it is within Easton, about two miles from our offices, in an area of the community called North Easton Village, where one finds the work and expressed genius of Gilded Age luminaries: architect Henry Hobson Richardson, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, architect Stanford White, painter and stained glass decorator John LaFarge, and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Photo Credit: Daniel P.B. Smith

Figure of Wisdom” stained glass window; at Unity Church; designed by John Lafarge (photo credit: Daniel P.B. Smith)

This cultural largesse is all owed to the patronage of the Ames family – American aristocracy which made Easton its primary home. Ames family members built a shovel and tool empire; invested in, and stewarded, a major portion of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad; held local, state, and federal political office; and were prominent philanthropists.

Chet Raymo, distinguished science writer, author, and Professor Emeritus at Stonehill College (in Easton) described North Easton and its architectural treasures, writing, “Seldom has a single village benefited from such an assembly of talent.”

The North Easton Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, encompasses North Easton Village and more than 160 buildings on approximately 5,000 acres.

With five H.H. Richardson designed buildings – Ames Free Library, Ames Gate Lodge, F.L. Ames Gardener’s Cottage, Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, Old Colony Railroad Station – Easton holds approximately 10 percent of all H.H. Richardson buildings in the world.

H.H. Richardson Historic District, on which the five Richardson buildings are located, and which is within and surrounded by the North Easton Historic District, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Frederick Law Olmsted, who had already designed Central Park in New York City, and who frequently partnered with H.H. Richardson on projects, designed a Civil War Memorial called The Rockery, located across the street from Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, which sits on land for which Olmsted created the layout.

Ames Gate Lodge

Ames Gate Lodge (photo credit: Donald Corner and Jenny Young; slide from photographers’ collection)

Olmsted designed the landscapes for the Old Colony Railroad Station, and for four estates the Ames family built in Easton: Sheep Pasture, the land of which (only the stone outline of the foundation of the stately home once on the site remains) Elise Ames Parker donated to the Natural Resources Trust of Easton; the Governor Oliver Ames Estate (now a public park held by the Trustees of Reservation); Langwater, a private property that borders the Governor Ames Estate; and Queset, located behind the Ames Free Library, and on which stands the magnificent Queset House (now owned by the library and soon to be renamed the Fanny Holt Ames Center).

Intricate and beautifully designed gargoyles on the outside of the Ames Free Library are the design of Stanford White; so too is the ornately designed fireplace carved out of Portland stone, and the distinctive barrel vaulted ceiling, made from butternut wood, in the stacks section of the library.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens created the medallion inlay for the Stanford White designed fireplace in the Ames Free Library. The Ames Gate Lodge has a sandstone fireplace, carvings decorating the porch, and a wellhead, all the design of Saint-Gaudens.

John LaFarge designed stained glass windows for Unity Church of North Easton. Please click here to read about LaFarge’s Unity Church windows.

In future posts in this space, discussed will be specific features and design elements of the work of Richardson. Olmsted, White, Saint-Gaudens, and LaFarge.

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