Henry E. Marsh House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 96 Sumner Avenue in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1896 for Henry E. Marsh, the owner of Cooley’s Hotel in Springfield. The hotel itself was nearly as old as Marsh, having been established in 1849 by Justin M. Cooley. Marsh, who had been born in Hatfield in 1846, moved to Springfield when he was 20 and became an office boy for the hotel. From there, he worked his way up in the hotel, and eventually became a partner in the business in 1881.

Cooley retired in 1892, and Marsh took over ownership of the hotel. He subsequently enlarged it, making it one of the city’s premier hotels. It enjoyed a prominent location next to the railroad station, just north of the arch over Main Street, and by 1905 it boasted 75 rooms, which could accommodate 300 guests. The hotel also featured a restaurant, Turkish baths, and even a Western Union telegraph office.

Henry Marsh lived in this house with his wife Mary and their two sons, Phillip and Harry. Their oldest son, Edward, had died of Bright’s disease at the age of 23, a few years before this house was built. Phillip also died relatively young, at the age of 34, in 1913, with his death certificate listing diabetes as the cause of death. By 1914, Henry had retired from the hotel business, and two years later he sold this house to real estate dealer William Lay.

Both Henry and Mary died in the 1920s, and in 1929 his former hotel became the Hotel Charles, which stood at the corner of Main Street and Frank B. Murray Street until its demolition in the 1990s. However, his former mansion on Sumner Avenue has fared better over the years. By the 1930 census, it was owned by Edward L. Stoughton, the vice president and future president of Wico Electric Company. He was 39 at the time, divorced, and lived here with his two daughters, Dorothy and Marylin, who were 18 and 6 years old, respectively.

More than 120 years after the Marsh family moved into this house, it remains well-preserved. in its original condition. Many of the mansions along this section of Sumner Avenue were later demolished to build apartment blocks or other buildings, but this house still stands as a good example of late 19th century Colonial Revival architecture. Along with the rest of the neighborhood, the house is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Willis H. Sanburn House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 78 Riverview Terrace in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This elegant Tudor Revival house was built in 1912 for Willis H. Sanburn, a businessman who was originally from Illinois. He and is wife Maud moved to Springfield in 1894 when they were in their mid-20s, and Willis began working as a bookkeeper for the Strathmore Paper Company in West Springfield. He soon advanced in the company, becoming a superintendent, then assistant treasurer, and eventually treasurer in 1918. Along with Maud, he lived here with their son Justus, who graduated from MIT the same year that the family built this house. After graduation, he began working as a chemist for Strathmore, and in 1915 he married his wife, Marion.

By the 1920 census, Justus and Marion were living in their own house on Florentine Gardens. Willis died in 1924, but Maud was still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s. She remained here until her death in the 1950s, and the house was subsequently sold. Nearly 80 years after the first photo was taken, though, very little has changed in the house’s appearance, and it is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

George Yerrall House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 88 Maplewood Terrace in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


George Yerrall was born in England in 1860, but he immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1866. In 1882, he married Anna Wood, a Springfield native, and the couple had two children, George Jr. and William. They moved into this Tudor-style house after it was built in 1905, where they enjoyed a prominent location at the corner of Maplewood Terrace and Randolph Street. At the time, George worked as a banker and railroad executive, serving as clerk and treasurer of the Connecticut River Railroad.

George Yerrall, Jr. became a real estate broker, and he lived here with his parents until his marriage in 1915. His younger brother William became a lawyer, and continued living in this house into the 1930s. Anna died in 1938, right around the time that the first photo was taken, but George remained here until his own death in 1945, about 40 years after he first moved in. Since then, the house has remained well-preserved. It is an excellent example of early 20th century Tudor Revival architecture, and it is part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Frank Doolittle House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 120 Maplewood Terrace in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This Colonial Revival-style house was built in 1902, and was designed by G. Wood Taylor, one of Springfield’s leading architects at the turn of the 20th century. It was one of his many works in the Forest Park neighborhood, and it was even featured in the July 1903 issue of Scientific American Building Monthly. Originally, the house was owned by Frank and Emma Doolittle, who were both about 50 when they moved in. Emma died in 1919, and Frank continued to live here until his own death in 1933, only a few years before the first photo was taken.

Around 115 years after the house was built, the only significant change to Taylor’s original design has been the front porch. The left side of the porch is now gone, and the right side has since been enclosed. Otherwise, though, the house has been well-preserved, and along with the rest of the neighborhood it is part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

H. D. Graves House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 20 Fairfield Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1901, and its original owner was H. L. Graves, although it seems unclear as to exactly who this person was. He, or perhaps she, did not live here for very long, though. By 1908 the house was owned by Margaretha Seuss, the maternal grandmother of Theodore Geisel. Better known in later years by his pen name of Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel was a young child when his grandmother lived here, and he lived just a few houses away on the same street.

Margaretha lived in this house with her daughter Bertha and Bertha’s husband, William H. Klein. He was a former lieutenant in the Massachusetts Militia, and in the 1910 census he was listed as a bookkeeper in a brewery. Margaretha died in 1913, but the Kleins remained here for many years. They had two sons, George and Frederick, and they were still living here by the 1930 census. However, at some point in the 1930s they moved to nearby Keith Street, where hey rented half of a two-family home.

By the 1940 census, this house on Fairfield Street was rented by Harry J. Talmage, who worked as a manager for the New England Milk Producing Association. He lived here with his wife and three teenaged children, and in 1940 they were paying $45 in monthly rent. They were only here for a few years, though, because by around 1942 they had moved to a different house in Forest Park. However, their former house has changed very little since the first photo was taken, and the property is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Percy Gates House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 60 Garfield Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1900 for insurance bookkeeper Percy S. Gates and his wife Beula, although the couple lived here for less than a decade, before moving to Longmeadow by the 1910 census. The house was then sold to George and Sophie Joslyn, who went on to live here for the rest of their lives. George was listed as a bookkeeper in the 1920 city register, although the census records do not list any occupations for either him or Sophie. However, they were involved in several different charitable and social organizations, with George serving as secretary of the Wesson Memorial Hospital and treasurer of the Automobile Club of Springfield, while Sophie was the treasurer of the Home for Friendless Women.

Sophie died in 1938, right around the time that the first photo was taken, and George remained here until his death in 1943. The house has had a number of other owners since then, but it has remained well-preserved, with hardly any differences since the first photo was taken nearly 80 years ago, except for the paint color. In 1982, the house became part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.