The house at 355 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.
The house in 2016:
Maple Street was home to some of Springfield’s most prominent residents in the 19th century, including George Reynolds, who had this house built around 1860. Reynolds was born in 1822 in Southbridge, Massachusetts, but like many others of the time, he was drawn to Springfield by the Armory, where he worked for six years as a young man. Soon after arriving here, he married Longmeadow resident Harriett Colton, and by the early 1850s he had started a successful business as a landscaper and contractor.
It was an auspicious time to start such a company, because the post-Civil War era brought a housing boom to the city. Upper middle class families flocked to Springfield and built large, elegant homes, and Reynolds, along with business partner Justin Sackett, did extensive work for both the city and individual residents. Their projects included building the park roads in Forest Park, creating the Van Horn Reservoir, and building the streets in the McKnight neighborhood.
George and Harriett Reynolds lived in this house with their two children, Louisa and Howard. By 1900, Howard was living in the house next door at 357 Maple Street, but Louisa and her husband Herbert Hastings lived here with her parents. Both George and Harriett died in 1902, only a few weeks apart, and Louisa inherited the house. In the meantime, the family business carried on, with Howard and Herbert forming the partnership of Reynolds & Hastings.
Both Louisa and Herbert died in the 1920s, and the next two censuses show that the house was being rented by Charles Lomas, who paid $100 per month in 1930 and $75 in 1940. Since then, the exterior house has remained well-preserved, although it is missing the shutters and the balustrade on top of the porch. Fairly modest in size and style compared to many of the other historic mansions on Maple Street, it survives as one of the oldest on the street. Along with the surrounding homes, it is part of the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places.