Edmund K. Baker House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 192 Maple Street, at the corner of Central Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This Tudor-style house was built around 1901, and was originally the home of Edmund K. Baker, the secretary and treasurer of the Hampden Paint and Chemical Company. He and his wife Marie were in their mid-40s at the time, and they lived here with their four children: Madeline, Rhea, Donald, and Lawrence. Edmund later became the president of the company, and he continued to live here in this house for the rest of his life. Marie died in 1927, and by the 1930 census Edmund was living here alone except for two servants. He died five years later, and the house remained vacant until the early 1940s.

The house was still vacant when the first photo was taken, but it was later sold and was again occupied by he mid-1940s. However, at some point the top floor of the house was removed, and it was converted into a commercial property. The front porch is also gone, but otherwise the remaining two floors still retain the building’s original Tudor-style architectural elements. Despite its altered condition, though, the house still stands as one of the many historic mansions along this section of Maple Street, and it is now part of the Ames Hill/Crescent Hill Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Safford-Carter House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 238 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

According to the state MACRIS database, this house was built in 1914 and was originally owned by the Carter family. However, part of the house appears to be older, dating back to around the 1890s, when the property was owned by James D. Safford, the president of the City National Bank. As seen in these two photographs, the house is highly asymmetrical, with a large wing on the left side that does not entirely match the right side of the house. The 1899 city atlas shows a house standing here, with a footprint that roughly matches the right side of the house, which suggests that the right side was built sometime around the 1890s, followed by the large addition on the left side around 1914.

Either way, by 1914 the house was owned by Edwin A. Carter, the vice president of the Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company in Indian Orchard. He and his wife Nina had previously lived on Pearl Street, before purchasing this property in the mid-1910s and evidently building a sizable addition to the house. The couple had two children who died young, and by the time they moved into this house they only had one surviving child, Charles, who was about ten years old at the time. The 1920 census shows the three of them living here along with two servants, and Charles continued to live here with his parents until the late 1920s, when he married his wife Louise.

Edwin Carter remained with the Chapman Valve Company for many years, eventually becoming chairman of the board by the early 1930s. He and Nina were still living here when the first photo was taken, and the 1940 census shows them here with a live-in cook and two maids. Edwin died a few years later in 1943, and Nina continued to live here in this house until her death in 1947. Since then, the exterior of the house has remained well-preserved, without any noticeable changes from the first photo. However, the it is no longer a single-family home, and the interior is now divided into 12 apartments.

Nathan Nirenstein House, Springfield, Mass

The house at the corner of Washington Road and Sumner Avenue in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This house is one of the newest in the Forest Park Heights neighborhood, dating back to 1931, only a few years before the first photo was taken. It was built in a Tudor Revival style that was popular for upscale homes of the era, and was originally the home of real estate dealer Nathan Nirenstein. A native of Russia, Nirenstein immigrated to the United States as a boy and subsequently entered the real estate business. In 1925 he established the Nirenstein National Realty Map Company, which published high-quality real estate maps of locations throughout the United States, and he was also involved in several other companies, including the Kellogg Buildings Realty Trust Company, the Harrison Realty Corporation, and the Bowles Lunch Company.

Nirenstein built this house around the same time as his marriage to his wife Tessie, and the couple had two children, David and Judy, who were born a few years later. They would continue to live here for many years, until around the early 1970s. Since then, the house has been well-preserved, with no noticeable differences between the two photos. It still stands as one of the many fine early 20th century homes in the area, and it is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Solomon B. Griffin House, Springfield, Mass

The house are 185 Mill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This large Tudor Revival-style home was built in 1904 for Solomon B. Griffin, the managing editor of the Springfield Republican. Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1852, he attended Williams College, where his father was a professor and librarian. However, because of poor health he did not graduate, and after leaving college he came to Springfield, where he was hired by Republican editor Samuel Bowles as a member of the newspaper staff. Although he started out as a reporter, he soon earned greater responsibilities, first becoming the local editor and then, in 1878, the managing editor.

Solomon Griffin was a bachelor for much of his adult life, but in 1892 he married Ida M. Southworth, the 34-year-old daughter of the wealthy paper manufacturer John H. Southworth, who had died the year before. After their marriage, Solomon and Ida lived with her mother Elizabeth in the Southworth mansion on Round Hill in the North End, where they raised their two sons, Bulkley and Courtlandt. However, Elizabeth died in 1901, and within a few years the family had this house built on Mill Street, directly adjacent to 175 Mill Street, which Griffin had owned since the 1800s.

The house was situated on a large lot, extending along the south side of Mill Street from Pine Street to Maple Street, and all the way back to the Mill River. A century earlier, the property had been the home of David Ames, Sr., an early Springfield industrialist who served as first superintendent of the armory, and the lot was later sold to Horace Smith, the co-founder of Smith & Wesson. The old Ames house was demolished around 1890, and by the time Griffin purchased the property the lot was vacant. He built this house on the northwestern corner of the property, along with a carriage house on the opposite side of the lot, set back from the road.

Solomon Griffin remained the managing of the Springfield Republican for more than 40 years, before finally retiring in 1919, and he lived here in this house until his death in 1925. In the meantime, though, his son Bulkley was also involved in the newspaper business, starting out as a reporter for the Republican before establishing the Griffin News Bureau in 1922. He was a veteran of World War I, and he would also go on to serve as a war correspondent in Europe during World War II.

After her husband’s death, Ida continued to live in this house for the rest of her life. During the 1930 census, the property was valued at $100,000, or about $1.5 million today, and Ida was living here alone except for a servant and a cook. She was still here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, but she died soon after, in 1940. The property was subsequently acquired by Amity Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows, who continue to hold their meetings here more than 75 years later. Along with the rest of the surrounding neighborhood, the house is now part of the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places.

George W. Kyburg House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 6 Ames Hill Drive in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

Ames Hill Drive is a short cul-de-sac street that was developed in the 1920s, at the top of the hill on Maple Street. It is located on the lot that had once belonged to David Ames Jr., and the street runs behind his former mansion, which still stands on Maple Street. There are only a few houses on Ames Hill Drive, but they were home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents. This particular one was built in 1927 for George W. Kyburg, a businessman who was the treasurer of the Package Machine Company. Like many of the other mansions of early 20th century Springfield, it has a Tudor Revival style, and it was designed by Max Westhoff, who was one of the city’s leading architects of the era.

During the 1930 census, George was living here with his wife Ellen and two servants, but he died just a year later, after living in this house for only about four years. By the following year, Ellen had sold the house to Harry H. Caswell, the general manager of W.F. Young, Inc. He served in this role from 1919 to 1956, during which time the company specialized in the horse linament Absorbine, as well as Absorbine Jr., which was made for human use. Caswell moved into this house with his wife Estelle and their daughter Patricia, although Estelle died only a few years later in 1934. He and Patricia were still living in the house when the first photo was taken, and he remained here until his death in 1964 at the age of 81.

Like many of the other mansions along this part of Maple Street, the house was eventually acquired by the MacDuffie School, as part of its campus. In 1974, it also became part of the Ames/Crescent Hill Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has survived as an excellent example of Tudor Revival architecture. However, the MacDuffie School moved out of Springfield after the 2010-2011 school year, and on June 1, 2011 the entire campus was heavily damaged by a tornado, including this house. The damage to this house has since been repaired, though, and today it is part of Commonwealth Academy, which now owns the former MacDuffie campus.

Lewis E. Tifft House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 225 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This Tudor Revival-style home was built in 1927 for Lewis E. Tifft, an investment banker who lived here with his wife Frances and their daughter Evelyn. A graduate of Williams College, Lewis had established the Tifft Brothers firm with his brother Charles in the early 20th century. He left the firm to serve in France during World War I, but after the war he returned to Springfield and continued working as a banker. During this time, he and Florence lived on Ridgewood Terrace, but they subsequently purchased this property near the top of the hill on Maple Street, and hired Boston-based architect John Barnard to design this house.

The Tiffts were still living here a decade later when the first photo was taken, and they would remain here for many years, until Frances’s death in 1961 and Lewis’s death in 1968. The property was then given to the adjacent MacDuffie School, a private school whose campus encompassed many historic mansions on the upper part of Maple Street. In 1974, the house became part of the Ames/Crescent Hill Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and it continued to be used by the MacDuffie School until 2011, when the school relocated to Granby. That same year, the school buildings were heavily damaged by the June 1 tornado, but the Tifft House has since been restored, and it is now part of Commonwealth Academy, which is located on the former MacDuffie campus.