Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Green Street Rooming House

66 Green Street, 2013
66 Green Street (2013)
Green Street Rooming House

Location: 66 Green Street, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Opened: 1975

Closed: 1992

From the Five College Archive & Manuscript Collections:

The Green Street Rooming House was a lesbian cooperative started in the Elmhurst apartment house at 66 Green St in Northampton, Massachusetts. It operated from circa 1975 to 1992. From the 1960's on, Northampton had become a haven for lesbian and feminist activity. Some residents of the boarding house were students at the five colleges, and others were lesbians coming out of the closet seeking freedom to express their sexuality. The rooming house was established as a lesbian-only residence with a designated live-in manager who functioned as a liaison between the residents and the landlord. The house operated in a cooperative spirit by rotating cleaning chores and sharing in the preparation of meals. A notebook was always kept in the central hallway for residents to write messages to each other.
The owner and landlord, Michael Cohen and his assistant manager John Knowles, provided basic house supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, light bulbs and cleaning products and also authorized maintenance for heat, electric and plumbing. Initially, the landlord was not told that the current lesbian tenants were starting a lesbian-only household. Eventually, he found out and thought it amusing that a group of women wanted to maintain a cooperative community in a rooming house. In 1992 the building was sold to Housing and Economic Resources for Women and it eventually became a co-ed rooming house. In 2007 it was bought by Smith College and was torn down in 2013.

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