Herbert C. Puffer House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 145 Dartmouth Terrace in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1888 for Herbert C. Puffer, a flour and grain merchant who lived here with his wife Elizabeth and their three children, Nellie, Caroline, and Herbert. The family had previously lived on Howard Street, but when Dartmouth Terrace was developed in the late 1880s they joined the city’s other prominent families who moved into the McKnight neighborhood. Aside from his business, Puffer also held several public offices. In 1899, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and he subsequently served as a city water commissioner.

In 1892, his oldest daughter Nellie married Fordis C. Parker, an insurance agent. The couple lived here with her parents for some time, although by the first decade of the 20th century they had moved into their own house on High Street. Fordis went on to become a partner in the Springfield-based fire insurance firm of Judd, Parsons & Parker, and he also had a successful political career. He served nine Springfield’s Common Council and Board of Aldermen, in both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, and as mayor of Springfield from 1925 to 1929.

In the meantime, Herbert and Elizabeth lived here in this house until their deaths in the 1920s. Their son Herbert inherited the house, and he lived here with his wife Harriet and their son Charles. The house remained in the Puffer family for over 60 years, until Herbert’s death in 1953. Harriet sold the property the following year and moved to Longmeadow, where she lived until her death in 1974 at the age of 95. In 1976, this house became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was subsequently restored in the 1980s. Today, there is hardly any noticeable difference between the two photos, and it still stands as one of the many historic 19th century homes in the neighborhood.

Walter T. Bugbee House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 24 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.


The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1887 for Walter T. Bugbee, a tailor whose shop was located on Main Street, directly opposite Court Square. He and his wife Flora had three young children when they moved into this house. Another child had died prior to their move to Springfield, and their fifth child was born in 1892. A year later, they moved out of here and into a nearby home at 60 Dartmouth Street. They did not live there long either, though, and by the 1900 census the Bugbee family was living in Forest Park.

In the meantime, this house was sold to traveling salesman Frank Howland and his wife Bertha, who were living here during the 1900 census. By 1906, though, the house had been sold again, to general store merchant Charles D. Haskell. His first wife, Mary, had died in the late 1890s, and they had one son, Ethelbert, who was about 12 when his father moved into this house. Around the same time that they moved into this house, Charles remarried, to his late wife’s younger sister, Mabel.

The family lived here together for the next seven years, but tragedy struck in 1913. Late in August, 19-year-old Ethelbert was critically injured in a diving accident that fractured his spine. About a week later, Charles contracted typhoid fever, and he died on September 9 at the age of 55. In the meantime, Ethelbert remained in critical condition for about a month after the accident, and he died on September 25, a day after surgeons operated on his neck in an effort to remove the bone fragments.

Mabel was still living here in this house when the first photo was taken, around 25 years later. Alone except for a live-in maid, she continued to live in this house until her death in 1956. Since then, the exterior of the house has been well-preserved, and in 1976 it became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ezekiel M. Ezekiel House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 36 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


Ezekiel M. Ezekiel was born in 1841 in Richmond, Virginia, to a prominent Jewish family. He had 13 siblings, including an older brother, Moses Ezekiel, who went on to become a noted sculptor. During the Civil War, Ezekiel fought for the Confederacy, but after the war he moved north, first to New York and later to Springfield. He worked for many years as a traveling salesman for David B. Crockett Co., a Bridgeport, Connecticut-based varnish company.

In 1884, he married his wife Caroline, who was 20 at the time and less than half his age. Their only child, Grace, was born the following year, and in 1886 moved into this newly-built house in Springfield. Ezekiel continued working for the varnish company, but he was also involved in local politics. He served on the police commission, and he was also at one point the chairman of the Democratic City Committee. In 1903, he was even nominated as the Democratic candidate for Secretary of the Commonwealth, although he lost to incumbent Republican William M. Olin by a wide margin.

The Ezekiel family was still living here during the 1900 census, but they later moved to a new house at 251 Longhill Street in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood. By at least 1908, their former house here on Dartmouth Street was owned by Mary F. Strong, a 56 year old widow whose husband Judson had been murdered in 1904. He was a real estate dealer, and one of his tenants at 120 Main Street was Dr. Edward J. Belt. On October 8, 1904, Belt entered Strong’s office, shot him twice in the face, and also shot another man in the room. He then returned to his own office, where he drank a bottle of carbolic acid. All three men were transported to Mercy Hospital, and Belt was pronounced dead soon after. The other man’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, but Strong was critically wounded and he died nine days later from the resulting infection.

Mary Strong lived here with her three children until sometime in the 1910s, when, like the previous owners, they moved to Forest Park. By 1920, the house was being rented by Robert L. Notman and his wife Laura, who lived here with their six children, aged 9 to 23. Both Robert and Laura were Canadian immigrants, and Robert was listed as being an automobile manufacturer. Later in the 1920s, the house was purchased by Jeremiah L. Shea and his wife Ella. During the 1930 census, they were living here with their son and four daughters, whose ages ranged from 26 to 32. However, by the time the first photo was taken the house was for sale, as indicated by the large sign on the porch.

The house was apparently on the market for a few years, because during the 1940 census it was being rented for $55 a month to Paul M. Limbert, a professor at Springfield College. He and his wife Anna purchased the house a year later, and they lived here for over a decade. In 1946, Paul became the president of the college, and he served in this position until 1952. The following year, he and Anna left Springfield and moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where he became the Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs.

The house was restored in the late 1960s, and it has been well-maintained ever since, with hardly any difference from the first photo. The carriage house, partially visible in the distance on the left, has also been restored, and is now used as an apartment. Along with the rest of the neighborhood, the property is now part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Joseph A. Call House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 42 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1887 for Joseph A. Call, although there seems to be little information about who he was. However, he must have died by the late 1890s, because the 1899 city atlas lists the property as being owned by his heirs. The following year’s census shows that it was being rented by Harry McGregor-Norman, who lived here with his wife Jessie and their three young children, Ruth, Harry, and Jessie. At the time, the elder Harry worked in the paper industry, as the traffic manager for the American Writing Paper Company. However, he died in New York in 1908, and by 1910 the family was living in Cambridge.

By the 1910 census, this house was owned by Dr. Alice Robison, a physician who lived here until her death in 1923. In 1930, it was owned by Amanda W. Ewing, an elderly widow who lived here with her daughter Marjorie Gage, plus Marjorie’s husband Frank and young son Bradlee. By the time the first photo was taken, the Gages were living in Amherst, and they rented this house to bank executive Myron C. Peabody. At the time, he was the assistant treasurer of the Federal Land Bank in Springfield, but he later became the bank’s vice president and then president.

Peabody lived here with his wife Ruth and their two children, Myron and Laura, and in 1941 they purchased the property from the Gage family. Three years later, the younger Myron enlisted in the Army during World War II, but he was killed in action in Italy in April, 1945, only a month before the European war ended. The elder Myron continued living here with Ruth until 1960, when they sold the property. Since then, the house has been restored, and in 1976 it became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

William S. Banning House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 50 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1890 for William S. Banning and his wife Ella. William was originally from Connecticut, but in 1872 he came to Springfield, joining a number of other young men who were moving from small New England towns to the rapidly-growing city. He worked for a local contractor, but after a few years he left and started his own company, which soon became one of the largest in the city. It was good timing, because Springfield was in the midst of a building boom fueled by the sudden increase in population. One of the largest of these developments was the McKnight neighborhood, where some of the city’s most prominent residents lived, and he and Ella moved here after this house was completed.

After Ella’s death in 1917, and Williams’ death in 1921, the house was sold to real estate developer Edwin Robbins. During the 1930 census, he was living here with his wife Hattie, their daughter Grace, and her husband Harold Steward, along with 16 year old Dorothy Connelly, who was a granddaughter of Edwin and Hattie and presumably the niece of Grace. The following year, however, the family had sold the house to Nellie E. Brown, a retired kindergarten teacher from Bangor, Maine. She had previously lived in Enfield, Massachusetts, but she relocated to Springfield in 1931, presumably because of Enfield’s impending disincorporation to build Quabbin Reservoir.

Brown was still living here a few years later when the first photo was taken. She was in her 70s at the time, and she continued to live here until her death in 1954 at the age of 89. In 1976, the house became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and like so many other homes in the neighborhood it has been restored to its original 19th century appearance, with even more Queen Anne-style ornamentation than it had when the first photo was taken.

Eli B. Clark House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 56 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1888 for Eli B. Clark, a retired pastor who was about 80 when he moved into the house. An 1839 graduate of Yale Theological Seminary, he had a long career as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Chicopee, serving from 1839 to 1875. During this time, he was involved in the Underground Railroad, assisting runaway slaves in their journey north through the Connecticut River Valley. His wife Cornelia died in 1880, and he continued living in Chicopee for another eight years, until he moved to Springfield. However, he died in 1889, only a year after this house was completed.

The Clark family owned this house for more than a decade, and by the 1900 census they were renting it to lawyer Hervey K. Hawes, who had previously lived in the house directly across the street from here. By 1910, though, the property had been sold to Joseph and Susan McVeigh, who lived here with their four children. Joseph was born in Ireland to Scottish parents, and Susan was originally from Iowa, but the couple ended up here in Springfield, where Joseph worked as a wholesale grain merchant.

By the time the first photo was taken, their children had moved out, but Joseph and Susan would continue to live here for many years. Joseph died in 1959, but Susan remained here until her death in 1965, at the age of 91. Since then, the exterior of the house has remained well-preserved, and it is now part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.