Henry H. Skinner House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 303 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2016:

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This shingle-style mansion at the corner of Maple Street and Maple Court was built sometime in the 1880s or early 1890s, and was the home of Henry H. Skinner, a prominent banker and businessman. His lengthy resume included serving as a director for a number of manufacturing companies and railroads, and starting in 1920 he was also the president of the Hendee Manufacturing Company, the makers of Indian motorcycles.

Henry married Gertrude Parsons in 1886, and the couple probably moved into this house soon after. They never had any children, but they were certainly not alone in the house, regularly employing multiple servants. In the 1900 census, three Irish servants lived here, and confusingly enough, all were named Mary. Gertrude died in 1907 at the age of 42, and was buried in a large plot in Springfield Cemetery, with Henry hiring the famous Olmsted Brothers, the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, to design the landscaping. Following her death, Henry continued here on Maple Street until his own death in 1923, and was buried alongside her in their cemetery plot.

Henry’s sister Jennie inherited the house, and she lived here with her husband William A. Baldwin, an educator who had served as principal of the Hyannis State Normal School on Cape Cod. He died in 1936, and Jennie owned the property until 1951, a few years before her death in 1954. However, she does not appear to have lived in the house since the 1930s, and it seems to have been vacant by the 1940 census. It was demolished sometime before 1971, when the current apartments were built on the site. Today, the only remnant left from the first photo is the rusty fence on the right side of the property.

Frederic M. Jones House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 327 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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Many of the early 20th century mansions on Maple Street were built in the popular Tudor Revival style of the era, including this one, which was built in 1914. At the time, Maple Street was home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents, and this house was the home of Frederic M. Jones, a banker who was the president of Springfield’s Third National Bank. By 1920, he was living here with his wife Florence and their six year old daughter Emily. The family of three was joined here by an equal number of servants, all of whom were immigrants from Sweden. A decade later in 1930, the family was still living here, this time with two servants, and the house was valued at $58,700, or over $850,000 in today’s dollars.

Frederic and Florence still lived in the house when the first photo was taken. He died in 1946, and Florence owned the property until her own death in 1964. Nearly 80 years after this photo was taken, very little has changed in the house’s exterior appearance. It remains a single-family home, and is an excellent surviving example of the early 20th century mansions on Maple Street. It provides an interesting contrast to the Julius Appleton House, its neighbor to the left. Although built only a few decades earlier, this stick-style mansion represents a dramatic difference in architectural tastes of the era. Today, both houses are part of the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places.

353 Maple Street, Springfield, Mass

The house at the corner of Maple and Pine Streets in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This Tudor Revival mansion on Maple Street was built in 1899, and was the home of Henry G. Chapin, who lived here with his wife Susie, their children Katherine and Russell, and three servants. Henry was a Harvard graduate who worked as the secretary and later treasurer of the Chapin and Gould Paper Company. He lived here until 1917, when he was killed in a car accident on Allen Street, at the age of 57.

By 1920, the house was owned by Ambia C. Harris. She was the daughter of Daniel L. Harris, who had been a prominent civil engineer, railroad executive, and mayor of Springfield in the 19th century. Ambia never married, and spent much of her life at her parents’ house at the corner of Chestnut and Pearl Streets, but moved here to Maple Street when she was close to 60 years old. In the 1920 census, she was living here alone, except for two servants.

Ambia Harris died in 1925, and by 1930 her niece Corrine was living here with her husband, Frederick L. Everett, and their two teenage daughters, Jane and Sarah. Frederick was a physician, and their house was valued at $25,000, which was a considerable sum in the midst of the Great Depression. At the time, they also employed two live-in servants, Jane and Charles Long. They were a married couple who had immigrated from Scotland in 1907, and they worked as a butler and a cook.

Frederick and Corrine were still living here when the first photo was taken, but they died in 1948 and 1949, respectively. Their mansion is no longer a single-family home, although it still stands as one of the many historic 19th century homes on Maple Street. From this angle, the only significant change has been the front porches, which are now enclosed. Like the other houses in the area, it is located within the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the city’s somewhat overlapping Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Howard Reynolds House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 357 Maple Street, at the corner of George Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house is located in the small triangle between Maple, Pine, and George Streets. It was built around 1865 for George Reynolds, a landscaper and contractor who lived in the house next door at 355 Maple Street. Several generations of the Reynolds family lived here, starting with George’s son Howard. He worked for his father’s company, and lived in this house with his wife Martha and their son, George H. Reynolds.

After his father’s retirement, Howard took over the company, along with his brother-in-law Herbert A. Hastings. He lived in this house for the rest of his life, until his death in 1926. His son George carried on the family business, and also lived at this house, with his wife Edna and their daughter Madeline. They were still living here when the first photo was taken on the late 1930s, nearly 50 years after George had moved into the house as a teenager in the 1890s.

Today, the house stands as a reminder of the days when Maple Street was home to some of the city’s most prominent residents. It is a relatively modest home compared to many of the others on the street, but its Gothic-style architecture is somewhat unusual for homes in Springfield. The exterior remains well preserved from its appearance when the Reynolds family lived here, and the house is part of the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places.

John D. Shuart House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 393 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This home was one of many large Tudor Revival-style houses that were built on Maple Street in the early 20th century. Completed in 1923, it was the home of John D. Shuart, who was the assistant treasurer for the Springfield Glazed Paper Company. Shuart was born in 1894, and was the son of William H. Shuart, who was the president of the paper company. He attended Williams College. but left during his junior year to enter the Navy during World War I. In 1917, before heading overseas, he married Harriet A. Dickinson, the daughter of former Springfield mayor Henry S. Dickinson. After the war they lived in the house next door at 403 Maple Street for a few years before moving into this house in 1923.

During the time that he lived in this house, John served several terms on the city’s Board of Aldermen, and he was also involved in political and social organizations. However, by the time the first photo was taken, the house was for sale. A year or two later, in the 1940 census, the family had significantly downsized. Perhaps a result of the Great Depression, they were living in an apartment at 169 Maple Street by then. John was no longer working for his father’s paper company, and was instead the vice president of a vending machine company. He was by no means struggling, though, and the census lists his income as being $4,500, or nearly $80,000 in today’s dollars.

Some 80 years after the Shuarts moved out of here, the building is no longer a private residence, and is now owned by the Hampden Berkshire Tuberculosis & Respiratory Disease Association. The porch on the right side has been completely enclosed, and the front lawn was paved over to make a parking lot. However, most of the exterior retains its original appearance, and the house forms part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

John Carroll House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 275 Pine Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house was built sometime around the 1890s, and for many years it was the home of John and Margaret Carroll, two Irish immigrants who married around 1895 and moved into this house about the same time. They had three daughters and a son who grew up here, and John worked as a gardener, although the 1920 census lists him as working at the Armory. It is actually a two-family home, and John owned the entire building, renting one unit out to other families while living in the other.

Margaret died in the 1930s, but John was still living here with his daughter, also named Margaret, when the first photo was taken. In his 80s at this point, he was renting half of the house to another elderly Irish immigrant, Edward Connolly, who lived here with his wife Agnes and their two adult daughters, Rosemary and Alice.

Today, the house is still standing as a two-family home, with few noticeable changes to the exterior. It survived the June 1, 2011 tornado that passed through the area, and it is one of the many historic 19th century homes in the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.