The Great Barrington Dispensary has stood for nearly two centuries as an English Gothic Revival mansion at the corner of Main St. and what is now Massachusetts Route 41. Though this building has worn various hats throughout its history, the wellbeing of others has always been at the forefront of the minds of those who’ve worked within its imposing walls. The building’s story begins with one Clarkson T. Collins, who graduated medical school at twenty-two and established the New York Medical and Surgical Reporter while being a ward vaccine physician at the New York Asylum For Lying-In-Women.

At twenty-seven, he established his own infirmary. Two years later, he retreated to Great Barrington where the clear mountain air helped the symptoms of his lung problems. The very next year, Clarkson built, moved into, and began working out of what was named Indiola Place until his death in 1881. It is rumored that, during this time, his home and place of business was a stop on the underground railroad. Clarkson, aside from his standalone work, also became one of the first people to research polio, as his son had contracted the disease and tragically passed in his teens.

Christian Science Church (currently the dispensary) included on the Historic Walking Tour of Great Barrington

The Dispensary (Formerly a Christian Science Church) is the 8th Stop on the Historic Walking Tour of Great Barrington

ALVERD E. WINCHELL, M. D. - a friend and colleague of Dr. Clarkson T. Collins who originally built the building

Alverd E. Winchell, M. D.: a friend and colleague of Dr. Clarkson T. Collins, who originally built the building.

In the 1890s, a group of nine people studying the teachings of Christian Science met informally in Great Barrington. The group incorporated as a Christian Science Society in 1917, meeting in the basement of a building which some referred to as the ‘Sheep Shed on Wool Street’. Eight years later, the society purchased Indiola Place and established the First Church of Christ, which endured for eighty-five years until the group relocated. Christian Science is based on the Bibles message of God’s love for man, and the spiritual laws of love that Jesus used to heal sickness and sin. Believers prefer little to no medical treatments by way of drugs, medicines, or blood products, and abstain from tobacco and alcohol. It begs the question—would they have endorsed the use of most healing plant on the planet, especially before its prohibition? Our team sure has a different take on the plant…

Berkshire Waldorf High School was the next to take up residency at Indiola Place just over twenty years ago. Waldorf education is based on its founder Rudolf Steiner’s insights, teachings, and principles of education. The curriculum is designed to appeal to the imagination and intellect through stories and activities. Waldorf teachers believe that education is an art, and that they should adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of the children. Initially, with a meager thirteen students in ninth grade, two teachers, several adjunct teachers, and one part-time administrator, the school used one classroom in their building while supplementing their program with science and physical education classes at a local college.

Despite such humble beginnings, they grew each year until 2006, when they had their first graduating class. We at Great Barrington Dispensary like to think we keep the tradition of education alive with our ever-growing curiosity into cannabis and each new evolution in the field. We tailor each interaction to the consumers’ needs and desires.

In 2013, the Church building was sold to jewelers McTeigue & McClelland, and Berkshire Waldorf High School moved to their current location on Pine Street in Stockbridge. There, the school has become even more firmly integrated into the community, using the town library, holding plays at the Unicorn Theatre, sponsoring a Writer-in-Residence program on Main Street (and partnering with Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, for public readings), and joining Shakespeare & Company’s Fall Festival.

Walter McTeigue is a fourth-generation jeweler who started work in his father’s diamond and precious stone business at age twenty. He worked in New York’s Diamond District for more than twenty years, specializing in diamonds and estate jewelry. Tim McClelland grew up in a family of artists and at an early age was struck by the versatility and permanence of metal for his ideas. After apprenticing under master jewelers and metalsmiths, he became a freelance designer and jewelry-maker in New York City.

The two met in 1984 and quickly began working together with their compatible passions, McTeigue finding the stones and McClelland designing and making the jewelry. By 1996 they had moved to Great Barrington and in 1998 they formally established McTeigue & McClelland, finalizing their creative partnership.

McClelland was quoted as saying, “We try to sell the best jewelry in the world – not always the most expensive, but the best we can make. And because jewelry is expensive, we try to educate people.” We at Great Barrington Dispensary feel this sentiment can easily relate to the world of cannabis. Every consumer’s needs are as different as the strains we offer, and we are eager to educate people in the same way as Waldorf to help them make their most informed decision to heal, soothe, and bring peace of mind. That’s why in January of 2022, the team behind Coastal Cultivars and the No.9 Collection opened Great Barrington Dispensary with the goal of bringing high quality cannabis to adult consumers at a reasonable price.

Written by Bryan Burgwardt