The New England Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians
The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

America’s Pioneer General Contractor for Buildings: The Norcross Brothers of Worcester, Mass

Sara E. Wermiel, PhD
Wednesday June 29th
7:00 pm
Metropolitan Waterworks Museum*
2450 Beacon St.
Boston, Massachusetts 02467

General contracting for building construction began in the United States around the 1870’s.  One of the first companies, and for a time the largest, was Norcross Brothers of Worcester.  During the period it operated, from the 1860s to the 1920s, Norcross Brothers constructed hundreds of buildings in the United States and Canada, as well as monuments, bridges, and other structures.  The firm is famous for having built nearly all the mature work of the architect Henry Hobson Richardson, as well as prominent structures by Peabody & Stearns; McKim, Mead & White; Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, and others. Ms Wermiel will describe Norcross Brothers’ work in the context of the early development of general contracting, and consider the construction history of Boston’s Trinity Church, on which they were the general contractors, as well as other buildings erected by the firm, including the Chestnut Hill Low Service Pumping Station.  She will also consider the impact of the rise of general contracting on the architectural profession.


The Waterworks Museum, is opposite the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and a short walk from the B, C, and D lines of the Green Line. For driving direction and a map see “Plan Your Visit” at:

To download the flyer on the Norcross Brothers Please Click Here