Historic Northampton

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Northampton Architecture- Quadrant 3

Sylvester Graham House, 111 Pleasant Street, Northampton, Massachusetts

Sylvester Graham House

The Sylvester Graham House, located at 111 Pleasant Street, dates back to the early 1800's. Its style of architecture is "Federal".

Born in West Suffield, Connecticut, Sylvester Graham first hoped to become a minister. After only one year of study at Amherst College, he left to devote himself to lecturing in support of the temperance movement and to promote his own physiological theory he termed " The Science of Human Life." The theory proposed that a vegetarian diet would combat the desire for alcohol and other activities Graham considered unhealthy, such as sex.

Decrying an increasing dependence on store-bought bread, which he considered to be unwholesome and unnatural, he recommended eating homemade bread made with unbolted wheat flour, known as graham flour. A Northampton newspaper in 1851 referred to him as "Dr. Bran, the philosopher of sawdust pudding." However, he had many followers who called themselves Grahamites, including the editor Horace Greeley. The graham cracker is named for Sylvester Graham, though it bears no resemblance to the bread he promoted.

As time when on, Sylvester Graham became a local eccentric and was derived for his peculiar habits as well as his progressive ideas. He died at the age of only 57 and is buried in the Bridge Street Cemetery. His house is now Sylvester's Restaurant.

Sylvester Graham House