Northfield Common has a rich and diverse history. Located next to the towpath of the Erie Canal, the Common captures the aura of one the oldest communities in Monroe County; the well-established Pittsford Village. During the 18th century, the village was named Northfield. In 1814 it was renamed Pittsford, in honor of Colonel Caleb Hopkins' home town in Vermont. The area expanded rapidly, due to the Erie Canal's beneficial influence on trade and commerce. Northfield Common exemplifies the history and traditions of the past by preserving the village ambiance. Today the Common abounds in small shops with skilled craftsmen and tradesmen who offer a variety of quality customer services. Glimpses of the past can still be seen at Northfield Common today.
The entire area of Northfield Common was once a lumber yard. Today it remains one the the oldest businesses in Pittsford.
No developer has been involved with the construction of the common. Instead the common has grown slowly, like a village; one building planned and erected at a time under the guidance of John A. Mason, who planned the architecture in a harmonious, rustic New England style.
The shops at Northfield Common have their own individual characteristics and history. Several were remodeled from original lumber sheds. The oldest part of Northfield Common is the upper room of Label 7, which was remodeled from an existing Erie Canal mule shed. Underneath the building is a closed off tunnel that was once used as a receiving station for slaves escaping to Canada, so it has been claimed. Archipelago was originally a boat house, which later became the office for Pittsford Lumber. The middle blue building was once the eastern end of a very long lumber storage shed - the other end being where Pittsford Lumber is now.
Northfield Common is well worth a visit; whether to admire the rugged beauty of the buildings, or to browse at the fine craftsmanship still practiced today.
The reconstruction at Northfield Common began during the 1960s. Today the Common consists of over 20 different shops and services that offer unique gifts, crafts, jewelry, tailoring, an art gallery, custom interior decor and other services, plus fine food, to mention a few. Shopping in Northfield Common offers all the charm of New England in an historical setting along the canal.