Constructed in 1916 in the Classical Revival Style, The Howard Building supported a hardware and agricultural implement business, which catered to the surrounding farms and great estates of the rural Berkshires. The building's stye and prominence signified that Frank Howard Inc. had achieved an important stature in the community. The Howard family business sold tools, dairy and poultry supplies, as well as other important farming implements. However, they were best known as a seed company, annually producing a seed catalogue, which was published through 1960, issuing 10,000 copies that year alone.
The architect chosen to design the Howard building, Joseph McArthur Vance, was a Pittsfield architect who had a long career in the city designing mainly residential and commercial buildings, and, in the process, contributing significantly to the development of downtown Pittsfield. Vance was a Mid-westerner, having been born and educated through college in Urban, Ohio. He moved to the Northeast for graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he got a degree in architecture in 1891. Through the first decade of the 1900's, Vance designed the first England Brothers Store in Pittsfield, the National Register-listed Mahaiwe Theater Block in Great Barrington, and a number of additions and remodling jobs. When Vance was commisioned in 1915-1916 to design the Howard Building, he was at a relatively early stage in his career, but had proven his abilities to the Pittsfield residents.
The Howard Building is on the National Register of Historic Places.