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:

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.

Andrew J. Flanagan House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 29 George Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

This Queen Anne-style house was built around the early 1890s, and was the home of Andrew J. Flanagan, a prominent dentist. Born in Springfield in 1866, Flanagan opened his practice on Main Street in 1889, after having graduated from Philadelphia Dental College. He married his wife, Catherine Watters, around 1896, and the couple lived here for over 20 years. During this time, Andrew became an important figure in dentistry, working as a dental surgeon at Mercy Hospital and serving as the president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. He was also a member of a number of other dental societies, and wrote many articles for dentistry publications. Along with his professsional work, Flanagan was also involved in civic work. He was a member of several different social organizations, served as vice president of the Connecticut Valley Historical Society, and served as a city park commissioner.

Andrew Flanagan died in 1922, and Catherine in 1935. She was still living here by the 1930 census, although she was renting part of the house to another family for $45 per month. By the time the first photo was taken, a different family was living here. Since then, the exterior of the house does not look much different, and still serves as a reminder of then this area was among the most desirable neighborhoods in the city. It is part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District, although like many other historic homes in the district, it appears to have been damaged in the June 1, 2011 tornado. It currently stands vacant, along with the house just to the left of it.

240 Central Street, Springfield, Mass

The house a 240 Central Street, at the corner of Cedar Street, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

According to the city records, this Queen Anne-style house was built in 1901, although it probably dates back a few years earlier, because it appears on the 1899 city atlas. At the time it was owned by Lorin Wood, who, appropriately enough, was a lumber dealer. He lived here with his wife Grace, along with a 20 year old Irish servant, Margaret Mansfield. By the 1910 census, the Woods were living in the house directly behind this one on Cedar Street, and this house was owned by real estate agent John Smith and his wife Mary.

A century later, the house is now owned by Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization that also runs the nearby group home at 5 Madison Avenue. It is at the outer edge of the Maple Hill neighborhood, which was Springfield’s premier residential area at the turn of the 20th century. Today, most of this neighborhood is part of the Ames and Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places, but this property is just outside the border. However, it is located within the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

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.

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The scene in 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.

Smith Platt House, Springfield, Mass

The Smith Platt House on Sumner Avenue in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

Located next to the Lathrop House at the corner of Sumner Avenue and Washington Road, this house was built in 1893 for Smith H. Platt, a Methodist preacher, physician, and author. He was born in Connecticut and spent much of his life in New York City, but by the 1890s he was living here in Springfield and practicing medicine in an office in the house. He wrote several books, including an anti-slavery novel in 1859 entitled The Martyrs, and the Fugitive; or a Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings, and Death of an African Family, and the Slavery and Escape of Their Son. Much later in life, in 1895, he published The Secrets of Health; or How Not to Be Sick and How to Get Well From Sickness, which provides somewhat dubious remedies for nearly every condition, including taking a teaspoon of turpentine before meals to treat cancer, drinking hydrogen peroxide to treat gangrene, and taking warm baths to treat insanity.

By the 1910 census, Platt was 81 years old and he was living here with his daughter Belle, her husband Leander W. White, and their two sons, Harrison and Gardner. He died two years later, and the White family remained here for many years. Leander was a banker, who by the 1920s was serving as vice president of Chicopee National Bank. Belle, like her father, was a physician, but she died relatively young in the 1920s. Leander and his two sons were still living in this house when the first photo was taken, and he died about 10 years later in 1949. Today, the house is still standing, and along with the surrounding houses it is virtually unchanged from the first photo. Like the rest of the neighborhood, it is part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Julius H. Appleton House, Springfield, Mass

The Julius H. Appleton House on Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2015:

The late 1800s saw a number of mansions built along this section of Maple Street, where many of the city’s most prominent residents lived. Sadly, many of these homes are gone now, but one of the survivors is this mansion at 313 Maple Street, built in 1886 for Julius H. Appleton. It was designed by Eugene C. Gardner, a local architect who also built the recently-demolished YWCA Building on Howard Street. The architecture of the house reflects both Stick style and the related Queen Anne style, both of which were common at the end of the Victorian era in the late 1880s. It is wood-frame, with wood exteriors on the second and third floors, but the first floor exterior is made of brownstone quarried in nearby Longmeadow.

The original owner, Julius H. Appleton, had previously lived in this house on Union Street, and he was a businessman who was involved in a number of different companies. He ran a steam heating company for several years and later became involved in the paper industry, serving as president of the Riverside Paper Company. He was also president of the Hartford & Connecticut Western Railroad, and he served as a director for many area businesses, including Mass Mutual, the Springfield Street Railway Company, Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company, and many others. In addition to his business involvements, he also held several political offices, including serving for two years on the City Council and two years on the state Governor’s Council. Appleton died in 1904 at the age of 64, and his funeral, which was held here at his house, was attended by many distinguished guests, including Governor John L. Bates and former Governor Winthrop M. Crane.

The first photo shows the house over 30 years after Appleton’s death, but the exterior appearance was essentially the same. Even today, the house retains all of its original elements in this scene, including the tower, the two-story porch, the shorter turret to the left, and the semi-circular porch around it. The only major change to the property has been the carriage house, which is partially visible to the right beyond the house. The original one burned down around 1980, but the owners later built a replica on the same spot.