Nathan Adams House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 1135 Worthington Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

This elegant Queen Anne-style house was built in 1887 as the home of Dr. Nathan Adams, his wife Elizabeth, and their son, Nathan, Jr. An 1834 graduate of Yale, Dr. Adams came to Springfield in 1838, where he practiced medicine for many years. Later in life, he lived in New Haven for some time, but ultimately returned to Springfield. He was in his mid-70s when he and his family moved into this house, and he was only able to enjoy it for about a year before his death in 1888. Soon after, Elizabeth moved around the corner to a new, even larger house at 28 Ingersoll Grove, where she remained until her death in 1908.

By 1890, this house on Worthington Street was the home of Emily Jacobs, the widow of another noted physician, Dr. Horace Jacobs. She lived here until her death in 1898 at the age of 77, and her daughter Mary inherited the property. She was unmarried, but early 20th century census records show her living with several other family members, including her nephew Horace Rice, who was here in 1910, and her brother Chauncey A. Jacobs, who was here in 1920. Like his father, Chauncey was a physician, but he was 76 years old and evidently retired by this point. Both siblings lived here for the rest of their lives, until Chauncey’s death in 1923 and Mary’s in 1927.

The next owner of this house was David E. Tebo, a former woolen mill manager who had previously lived in Enfield, Massachusetts. He came to Springfield in the late 1920s, and his relocation was likely spurred by the imminent construction of the Quabbin Reservoir, which would flood Enfield and three other neighboring towns. The 1930 census shows him here in this house, along with his daughter, Anne T. Blair, who was an attorney. Both were still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and David Tebo died a few years later in 1945, when he was about 90 years old.

Anne Blair continued to live here until 1969, when she finally sold the property about 40 years after she and her father had moved in. The house has remained well-preserved since then, on both the exterior and interior, and it stands as an excellent example of the many fine Queen Anne-style homes that were built in the McKnight neighborhood during the late 19th century. Along with the other houses in the area, it is now part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Sarah A. Dale House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 1119 Worthington Street, at the corner of Thompson Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

This Queen Anne-style house was built in 1886, and was originally the home of Sarah A. Dale, a 70-year-old widow whose husband, brass foundry operator Lombard Dale, had died a decade earlier in 1876. She lived here with two of her unmarried daughters, Ellen and Lizzie, until her death in 1902, and the two sisters subsequently inherited the property. They remained here throughout the first two decades of the 20th century, but Ellen died in 1920. Lizzie was still living here as late as 1926, but by the 1930 census she was living in the Hotel Kimball, and she died later that year.

By 1929, this house was owned by investment banker Raymond L. Stratford, who lived here with his wife Carmen and their two young children, Raymond Jr. and Joan. However, they were only here for a few years, and had moved out by the mid-1930s. The house went through several more ownership changes during the 1930s, and by the end of the decade it was owned by Daniel A. Leary, an Irish immigrant who lived here with his sisters Anna, Katherine, and Mary. All four were unmarried and in their 60s or 70s, and they continued to live here until at least the early 1950s.

The first photo shows the house as it appeared in either 1938 or 1939, around the same time that the Learys purchased the property. However, at some point either during or soon after their ownership, the house underwent some dramatic changes. Like many other large homes in the McKnight neighborhood, it was converted into a boarding house in the mid-20th century. The exterior was also heavily altered, including the removal of the front porches and the installation of asbestos shingles on the walls. The house remained in this condition for many years, but it is now in the process of being restored to its original appearance. The first photo was taken in early 2018, and more work has been done since then, but it shows how the asbestos shingles have been restored, the clapboards have been painted, and the porches are being rebuilt.

Benjamin R. Stillman House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 97 Florida Street in Springfield, around 1910. Image courtesy of Jim Boone.

The house in 2018:

This elegant Queen Anne-style house was built in 1887 as the home of Benjamin R. Stillman, an insurance executive who was the general agent for the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company. He and his wife Jennie moved to Springfield in 1883, and lived at 212 Bay Street for several years before purchasing this property a few blocks away on Florida Street. He evidently tore down an earlier house that had stood on the site, and moved into this house upon its completion in 1887. At the time, he and Jennie had two young children, Daisy and Cyrus, and they lived here for about three years. However, in 1890 Stillman was appointed secretary of the Safety Car Heating and Lighting Company of New York, and the family relocated to New York.

In 1891, the property was sold to Homer L. Bosworth, a businessman who was originally from Otis, Massachusetts. He was born in 1834, and held a variety of jobs in his early life. He moved west in the late 1850s, selling subscription books in Missouri before moving to Illinois, where he taught school, worked in the county clerk’s office, and opened a store. None of these careers lasted long, and he eventually made his way to Washington, D.C., where he was appointed as a treasury clerk during the Civil War.

Bosworth remained with the Treasury Department until 1871, and the following year he moved to England, where he entered the condensed milk business. This proved highly profitable, and he became wealthy during his time overseas. He and his wife Delia, along with their two daughters, Mary and Anne, lived in England until 1885, when they returned to the United States. Homer was in his early 50s at this point, and was largely retired from active business. However, here in Springfield he served on several corporate boards, including those of the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company, the Springfield Gas Company, and the Springfield Institution for Savings.

In addition to this house in Springfield, the Bosworths also owned a home in Hyannisport on Cape Cod, where they spent their summers, and a home in Orlando, where they spent their winters. In his semi-retirement, Homer enjoyed a life of leisure. He was an avid golfer, hunter, and fisherman, and he was also a member of the Colony Club, one of the city’s most exclusive social clubs of the era. The first photo was taken during his residence here, and it shows the house, along with the carriage house on the left side. In 1923, the upper floor of this carriage house was converted into an apartment, which was reportedly used by the family’s chauffeur.

Homer Bosworth died in 1924, and Delia died two years later. Their daughter Mary inherited the property, and the 1940 census shows her living here with her husband, Hinsdale Smith, and a housekeeper. However, she died later that same year, and in 1941 the house was sold to Violet Tiffany. She converted it into a boarding house, and rented rooms to tenants until her death in 1972. She made some minor cosmetic changes, including repainting and repapering the interior, along with repainting the exterior with a solid brown color. Otherwise, though, the house remained well-preserved despite becoming a boarding house.

In 1976, the house was purchased by Jim and Merry Boone, who restored both the exterior and interior. That same year, it became a contributing property in the newly-established McKnight Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Boones have carefully maintained the house ever since, and it stands as one of the best-preserved homes in the McKnight neighborhood. As a longtime resident of the area, Jim has also been a valuable resource for previous blog posts about McKnight homes, and he graciously provided the c.1910 photo for this post, along with much of the historical information about his house.

Andrew L. Fennessy House, Springfield, Mass

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

The house in 2018:

This ornate Queen Anne-style house was built in 1884, and was originally the home of banker Andrew L. Fennessy. At the time, he was cashier for J. G. Mackintosh & Co., but in 1886 he started the banking firm of Fennessy, Armstrong & Co. This business evidently prospered, because within just a few years he was building a new, much larger home on Maple Street. The house was completed in 1888, but his stay there was also short-lived, because in 1891 he moved to Boston and sold his Maple Street residence to paper manufacturer and philanthropist Nathan Bill.

In the meantime, his former home here on Buckingham Place was purchased by Edward H. Phelps, the treasurer and editor of the Phelps Publishing Company. This Springfield-based company had its origins in 1878, when Phelps left his position with the Springfield Union newspaper in order to purchase the New England Homestead. Phelps revived this moribund agricultural journal, and subsequently expanded his company’s holdings to include Farm and HomeAmerican Agriculturalist, and the Orange Judd Farmer. He remained with the company until 1890, when, shortly after purchasing this house, he decided to retire from publishing because of poor health. However, his ailments did not prevent him from starting the Phelps Music Company, which he ran until his death in 1897 at the age of 55.

Following his death, this house remained in the Phelps family for about 20 years. The 1910 census shows his widow, Harriet, living here with their son Walter, his wife Flora, and their daughters Harriet and Dorothy. Walter carried on the family tradition by publishing the Springfield Weekly Guide, and he lived here with his mother until her death in 1914. By 1917, though, he and Flora had moved to a newly-built house on Trinity Terrace in the Forest Park neighborhood, and this house on Buckingham Place was subsequently sold.

The next owner of this house was G. Fred Estey, the treasurer of the H. W. Carter Paper Company. A native of New Brunswick, Estey came to the United States as a teenager. He held a variety of jobs in Boston during the late 19th century, eventually working for many years in the accounting department of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company before coming to Springfield in 1908 to work for H. W. Carter Paper. He and his wife Geneva had two children, Helen and Roger, who were born during the family’s time in Boston, but Geneva died in 1909, shortly after the move to Springfield. The 1920 census shows Estey living here along with Helen, Roger, his aunt Ester Sutherland, and a servant. They would remain here until the mid-1920s, but by 1926 Estey had moved to a house on Westford Circle.

Subsequent owners of this house included Henry G. Miller,a phonograph salesman who was living here during the 1930 census along with his wife Carrie and their four children. By 1933, though, the house had changed hands again, and was the home of Elwin O. Rowell, an engineer for the Boston & Maine Railroad. He and his wife Dell were still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and the 1940 census shows them renting a room to Horace G. Clark, a city police officer.

Today, this house is one of the many fine Victorian-era homes that still stand in Springfield’s McKnight neighborhood. At one point during the 20th century, the house was covered in aluminum siding, but this has since been removed and the exterior has been restored to its original appearance. As a result. the present-day view shows very few changes since the first photo was taken some 80 years ago, and the house is now part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Katharine Seymour Day House, Hartford, Connecticut

The house at the corner of Forest Street and Farmington Avenue in Hartford, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The house in 2018:

This house was built in 1884, and was designed by noted New York architect Francis H. Kimball. It features a variety of exterior colors and building materials, as was typical for Queen Ann-style homes of this period, including light-colored limestone and contrasting brownstone trim. Other common Queen Anne elements include an asymmetrical facade, along with a complex roof that is filled with an eclectic mix of gables and dormers. This style was particularly common in the United States during the 1880s and 1890s, with this house dating to the early part of that period.

The original owner of this house was Franklin Chamberlin, a lawyer who had once owned much of the land here at the corner of Forest Street and Farmington Avenue. In 1871, he had constructed a house just to the left of here, at 73 Forest Street, and in 1873 he sold it to Harriet Beecher Stowe. A year later, he sold another part of his land to Mark Twain, who constructed a house of his own on the property. However, Chamberlain retained the corner lot for himself, and subsequently built this house, which was flanked on either side by two of the country’s most celebrated authors.

Chamberlin died in 1896, but his widow Mary lived here in this house until her death in 1907. The next owner of the house was Willie Olcott Burr, the editor of the Hartford Times. His father, Alfred Edmund Burr, had been the editor of the newspaper for 60 years, and Willie began working for him as a teenager in 1861. The newspaper prospered under both father and son, and by the early 20th century it had the largest circulation of any paper in the state. Willie Burr moved into this house sometime in the early 1910s, and the 1920 census shows him living here with his wife Angie and two servants. He died only a year later, although Angie would continue to live here throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1940, the house was purchased by Katharine Seymour Day, who was the grandniece of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She had previously purchased her great aunt’s former home next door, and in the late 1920s she led the effort to save the Mark Twain House, which was being threatened with demolition at the time. Her 1940 acquisition of this house helped to further preserve the neighborhood, and the house is still standing today, with few noticeable differences between the two photos. Along with the neighboring Stowe House, it is now part of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and it serves as offices and as a research library for the organization.

Oren D. Allyn House, Holyoke, Mass

The house at 141 Locust Street in Holyoke, around 1891. Image from Holyoke Illustrated (1891).

The scene in 2017:

This house was built in 1890 as the home of real estate developer Oren D. Allyn, and, like many of the other elegant homes in Holyoke during this period, it was designed by noted local architect George P. B. Alderman. The house incorporated many Queen Anne-style elements, including an asymmetrical design, a complex roofline, a large front porch, and a tower on one corner of the house. It was accompanied by a matching carriage house behind it, and the property originally extended to Sycamore Street in the back and Hampshire Street on the left.

Oren D. Allyn was born in Holyoke in 1853, and as a young man he worked in his family’s meat market on High Street, with city directories variously listing him as a clerk, salesman, and bookkeeper. However, by 1885 he had entered the real estate business, and began developing much of the Oakdale neighborhood. This area, at the western end of downtown Holyoke’s street grid, had been laid out in the mid-19th century, but it was not until the 1880s that the city’s growth reached this neighborhood.

Allyn’s father, Anderson Allyn, owned a large plot of land in this section. The 1884 city atlas shows the property line running diagonally to the street grid, starting near the corner of Beech and Franklin Streets and ending near the corner of Essex and Pleasant Streets. The land covered much of the area now bounded by Beech Street, Franklin Street, Hampshire Street, and Magnolia Avenue, and in the coming years Oren Allyn built over 300 homes in the neighborhood, including his own house here on Locust Street.

Aside from his work in real estate development, Allyn also served on the city’s board of public works from 1899 to 1906. He supported the City Beautiful movement of the era, and during his time on the board he encouraged projects such as planting trees along the city’s streets. He put these ideas into practice in his own expansive yard as well, including cultivating a large rose garden here. The first photo was taken only about a year after the house was completed, but by this point the left side of the scene was already dotted with a number of recently-planted trees and bushes.

The completion of this house coincided with Oren’s 1891 marriage to Alice Ladd, and he lived here for the rest of his life. He and Alice did not have any children, but they shared the house with Alice’s family. By 1900, her mother Augusta and sister Mabel were both living here. Augusta died in 1904, and Mabel was no longer here by the 1910 census, but by that point Alice’s widowed brother Wilbur was living here with his three sons. Wilbur had moved out before the 1920 census, but his sons were still living here at the time. Oren died in 1929, at the age of 75, and Wilbur subsequently returned to this house in order to live with his sister. He died in 1935, and Alice moved out of the house in 1939.

The property was later subdivided, and today two houses stand on the left side of the house, on Hampshire Street. The carriage house is gone, along with Allyn’s rose garden and other landscaping, and in the mid-20th century the wooden clapboards were covered with green asphalt shingles. These shingles have since been removed, but other exterior changes have included enclosing the top of the tower and replacing the railing and posts on the front porch. A fire escape, only partially visible in the 2017 photo, has been added to the left side of the house, and the interior is now divided into eight apartment units. However, the house still stands as one of the many elegant mansions that were built in Holyoke during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.