In 1850, Herman Melville moved his family from New York City to Pittsfield, seeking reprieve from city life and a quiet place in which to write. He purchased an 18th century farmhouse which he named Arrowhead, and here completed his most famous novel, Moby Dick. Here in Pittsfield he also penned great works such as Pierre, The Confidence Man, and “The Piazza Tales.” Melville lived, farmed and wrote at Arrowhead for twelve years, developing many close literary friendships with other Berkshire authors including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, David Dudley Field and the Sedgwick family.
Herman Melville and his family returned to New York City in 1863, but Arrowhead remained in the Melville family until the 1920s.
Today, Arrowhead is owned and operated by the Berkshire Historical Society. The author’s study, piazza, the original fireplace from his short story “I and My Chimney,” and the restored barn in which Melville & Hawthorne spent hours discussing their writings are all open to the public. The Society has also restored the North Meadow, preserving the view of Mount Greylock which was a major inspiration to Melville.