Converse Street, Longmeadow, Mass

Looking east on Converse Street from the corner of Longmeadow Street, on May 13, 1913. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Emerson Collection.

954_1913-05-13 longhs

The view in 2016:

954_2016
The two photos on the left are the same ones seen in the previous post, and this view shows some of the development along the western end of Converse Street that was happening in the 1910s. Part of the South Park Terrace development, most of the houses along Converse Street had just been built when the first photo was taken, and more would be added in this area as Longmeadow became a major suburb of Springfield. In the century since the first photo was taken, Converse Street has been paved, and the end was angled a bit to share a traffic light with Englewood Road on the other side of Longmeadow Street, but otherwise not much has changed in this scene, and most of the historic early 20th century homes here are still standing.

Graves House, Longmeadow, Mass

The Bernard Graves House at the corner of Longmeadow and Converse Streets, on November 22, 1913. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Emerson Collection.

953_1913-11-22 longhs

The scene in 2016:

953_2016
This view provides an interesting side-by-side comparison of two different architectural styles from around the turn of the century. Although built only a few years apart, these two houses represent a shift in style that was happening during this time. The house on the left was built around 1900, and it is an example of Queen Anne architecture, which was popular in the last few decades of the Victorian era. This particular house is actually a fairly subdued version of it; a typical Queen Anne house is usually highly decorative, with plenty of ornamentation and a complex combination of design features. A good example of this can be seen in this Springfield mansion from a previous post. This Longmeadow house was built towards the end of the style’s popularity, but it still has some of the common features, especially with its bay windows, wraparound porch, and asymmetrical design.

The house on the right, on the other hand, represents the Craftsman style of architecture that was gaining popularity just as Queen Anne was falling out of fashion. It was largely a response to the perceived excess of the Victorian era and, by extension, its often gaudy architecture. Rather than decorating houses with excessive amounts of ornamentation, the idea behind the Craftsman style was to simplify, and emphasize quality of workmanship. The house here, which was originally the home of insurance agent Bernard E. Graves and his wife Mary, was built around 1906, near the beginning of this style’s popularity. Over a century later, both it and the Queen Anne house remain well-preserved examples of their respective architectural styles, and aside from the shutters on the house and shed in the backyard, it is hard to notice any differences in these two photographs.

Belleclaire Avenue, Longmeadow, Mass

Looking east on Belleclaire Avenue from the corner of Lognmeadow Street, on August 23, 1918. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Emerson Collection.

951_1918-08-23 longhs

The street in 2016:

951_2016
This street is a block north of Bliss Road, which is seen in the previous post. Like Bliss Road, Belleclaire Avenue was part of the rapid suburban development that was occurring in Longmeadow in the first two decades of the 20th century. Most of the homes here were built around 1915, with a variety of designs that reflect the popular Craftsman-style architecture of the era. Since the first photo was taken, little has changed here. A few houses, like the one on the far right, were added soon after, and the trees have grown up, but otherwise the street looks much the same as it did almost a century ago.

Bliss Road, Longmeadow, Mass

Looking east on Bliss Road from near Longmeadow Street, on May 14, 1918. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Emerson Collection.

950_1918-05-14 longhs

Bliss Road in 2016:

950_2016
As Springfield grew in population in the early 20th century, so did Longmeadow to the south. From a population of just over 800 in 1900, the town more than tripled by 1920 as large tracts of land were subdivided and developed. This was the case here on Bliss Road, where most of the houses here were newly built when the first photo was taken. The two houses on the right are slightly older, dating to about 1905-1910, but the rest, including the row of Craftsman-style bungalows on the left, were built around 1915.

Very little has changed here in the past 98 years; the Bliss Road went from a dirt road to one of the main east-west roads in town, but otherwise the houses are all still standing, with a couple of new ones in the distance. Even small details, like the fire hydrant on the right side of the road, remain today, and I have to wonder if some of the telephone poles from the first photo are still there too.