Lenox or Lennox?
Driving to Lenox, you might pass Lennox Jewelers or Lennox Heights, and if Annie Lennox is on the radio or a Lenox China catalog is on the passenger seat, who wouldn’t be confused? Lenox is spelled with one “n” and always has been, right? Not exactly.
Prominent residents of the town fought in the Revolutionary War, so the township chose as her namesake Charles Lennox, the 3rd Duke of Richmond, outspoken in his support of the colonists. “I wish from the bottom of my heart that the Americans may resist and get the better of the forces sent against them,” said Lennox on the floor of the House of Lords. Despite being the great grandson to Charles II, Lennox was often at odds with his monarchs.
The common explanation for how Lennox lost its second “n” is that an 18th-century clerk misspelled it in a town report and the new spelling stuck. However, a 1696 document in the Lenox Library is signed by Lennox’s father as “Lenox,” suggesting that spelling was always correct. Or, as Shakespeare often wrote Shakspere, perhaps Duke Lennox used multiple spellings.
The area known as Richmond and Lenox today was auctioned off in 1762 when the General Court of Massachusetts needed funds and named Yokuntown, after local Chief Yokun. The township became Richmond in 1765 before splintering in 1767 when Lenox was founded. Dino Zabian of Great Barrington’s Lennox Jewelers named his store after being captivated by the neighboring town’s history. Customers rarely question the spelling. Instead, they ask if he has a shop in Lenox.