Holy Name School, Springfield, Mass

The Holy Name School on Dickinson Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The school in 2017:

At the start of the 20th century, Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood was growing rapidly, and in 1909 the Diocese of Springfield established a new Catholic parish to serve the area’s residents. That same year, construction began on this building, on Dickinson Street between Alderman Street and Grenada Terrace, just north of the “X.” It was completed in 1910, and originally served as both a chapel and as the Holy Name School, which opened in the fall of 1910 with 200 students.

Over time, both the parish and the school grew, and by the time the first photo was taken a second school building had been built, on the far left side of the photo. Beyond it was the church itself, and just out of view to the left was the rectory. A little over a decade later, in 1951, a social center was built on Alderman Street, followed in the late 1960s by a new church at the corner of Grenada Terrace. Throughout this time, the Holy Name School educated many thousands of Springfield children, including former mayor Charles V. Ryan, who was probably attending the school around the time when the first photo was taken.

Nearly 80 years after the first photo was taken, the Holy Name Parish is still an active church, although the school has since been closed. In 2009, it and four other Catholic elementary schools were consolidated into one school, St. Michael’s Academy in East Forest Park. The century-old Holy Name School did not remain vacant for long, though, because since the fall of 2009 the school buildings have been rented to the city of Springfield. From 2009 to 2013, the campus was the home of New Leadership Charter School, and it is now the home of the Liberty Prepatory Academy.

Jonathan Cogswell House, South Windsor, Connecticut

The house at 1748 Main Street in South Windsor, around 1935-1942. Image courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

The house in 2017:

Jonathan Cogswell was born in 1782 in Rowley, Massachusetts, and was the son of Dr. Nathaniel Cogswell, a local physician. He graduated from Harvard in 1806, followed by Andover Theological Seminary, and in 1810 he was ordained as pastor of the Congregational church in Saco, Maine. A year later, he married Elizabeth Abbott, whose uncle, Samuel Abbott, was a wealthy merchant who had been one of the founders of the Andover Theological Seminary.

The Cogswells lived in Saco for 18 years, until Jonathan resigned in 1828 because of the mental and physical strain of the ministry. He and Elizabeth moved to New York City with their four daughters, but the following year he accepted a position as pastor in New Britain, Connecticut, where he remained until 1834, when he left to join the faculty of the newly-established Theological Institute of Connecticut.

The school was located in what was, at the time, part of East Windsor, and in 1834 Cogswell built this elaborate Greek Revival-style mansion directly across the street from the school. With its massive columned portico, it stands out among the mostly Colonial and Federal-style homes in the village of East Windsor Hill, and reflected his wealth and social standing. He taught church history at the school, and served as the chair of the ecclesiastical history department for the next 10 years.

In 1837, a few years after moving to East Windsor, Elizabeth died, and later in the year Jonathan remarried to Jane Kirkpatrick, the daughter of the late Andrew Kirkpatrick, who had served for many years as the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. They had two children together, and during their time in East Windsor his daughter Elizabeth was also married, to James Dixon, a lawyer from Enfield who went on to serve as a U.S. Representative and Senator.

Jonathan Cogswell remained in East Windsor until 1844, when he retired from teaching and moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey. He sold his mansion to the school, and it became the home of the president, Dr. Bennet Tyler. A year younger than Cogswell, he had graduated from Yale and served as a pastor in Connecticut before becoming president of Dartmouth College from 1822 to 1828. He subsequently returned to Connecticut, where he was one of the founders of the Theological Institute a few years later.

Tyler served as president of the school until his retirement in 1857, and he died a year later. Then, in 1865, the school moved to Hartford, where it eventually became the modern-day Hartford Seminary. The original campus here in East Windsor Hill has since been demolished, and today this house is the only surviving building from the school. Along with the rest of the neighborhood, it is now part of the East Windsor Hill Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

The Elms, Springfield, Mass

The Elms, a private school at the corner of High Street and Ingraham Terrace in Springfield, around 1892. Image from Picturesque Hampden (1892).

The scene in 2017:


This mansion at the corner of High Street and Ingraham Terrace in Springfield was built around the 1860s, and was originally the home of retired Army officer Robert E. Clary. He was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts in 1805, but his family came to Springfield, where his father became a clerk at the Armory. After spending much of his childhood in Springfield, Clary entered West Point in 1823. He graduated thirteenth in his class, which was significantly higher than fellow classmate Jefferson Davis, the future Confederate president. Although Clary would fight against Davis’s armies in the Civil War decades later, the two men were friends at West Point, and Davis even served as the best man at Clary’s wedding in 1829.

When the Civil War started in 1861, Clary had already been in the Army for over 30 years. He spent most of the war as a chief quartermaster for a variety of departments, and at the end of the war he was promoted to the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general. After the war, he retired to this mansion in Springfield. It sat atop the hill just east of downtown, and from here he could enjoy expansive views of the city and the Connecticut River valley. By the 1870 census, Clary was newly-married to his second wife, Mary. The couple shared the house with four other family members, including his 88-year-old mother Electa, and they also had three servants who lived here.

In 1874, Clary sold the house to grocer Olin Smith. He and his family lived here for a few years, but in 1881 the house was acquired by The Elms, a private school that had previously been located in Hadley. Unrelated to the similarly-named Elms College in Chicopee, The Elms was founded in 1866 by Charlotte Porter as a school for girls, to prepare young girls for colleges such as Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley. Charlotte Porter served as the principal of the school for many decades, and lived here at the school until her death in 1931 at the age of 90.

The school appears to have closed soon after Porter’s death, and the building was demolished by the late 1930s, because it does not appear in the 1938-1939 WPA photographs. All of the other homes in the quarter-mile-long block between High Street, Union Street, Walnut Street, and Ingraham Terrace have also since been demolished, and today much of this block is a parking lot for the former Wesson Memorial Hospital. This building, which is now owned by Baystate, is visible on the far left. Further in the distance is the High School of Commerce, which was built in 1915 and was later expanded with an addition on the right side of the photo.

The Maplewood, Pittsfield, Mass (2)

Another view of The Maplewood, seen from the corner of North Street and Maplewood Avenue in Pittsfield, around 1910-1920. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2016:

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This view shows several of the buildings at The Maplewood, a resort hotel in the Berkshires that had once been a private school for girls. As mentioned in the previous post, a school was established here as early as the 1820s, with several of the buildings dating back to this time period. By 1884, though, the Maplewood Young Ladies Institute had closed, and the buildings were converted into a hotel.

The hotel closed in 1936, and most of the buildings were demolished by 1940. The property was redeveloped, and modern commercial building now stands on the site at the corner of North Street and Maplewood Avenue. The hotel’s only surviving building is one of the original 1820s Federal-style school buildings. It is partially visible in the distance of the first photo, on the eastern side of the property, and today it still stands on the other side of the trees in the distance. After having been used first as a school and then as a hotel, it has since been redeveloped into condominiums.

The Maplewood, Pittsfield, Mass (1)

The Maplewood, on the north side of Maplewood Avenue, between North and First Streets, around 1900-1920. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2016:

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This property has seen a variety of uses over the past two centuries. After being used as farmland in the late 1700s, it became a military base and prisoner of war camp during the War of 1812. The grounds were sold after the war, and by the 1820s a school was established on the site. In 1841, the school became the Pittsfield Young Ladies Institute, and was later known as the Maplewood Institute. During this time, the school hosted the country’s first intercollegiate baseball game, with rival schools Amherst College and Williams College playing here on July 1, 1859. The game drew large numbers of Maplewood girls, who watched Amherst win 73-32 in 26 innings, in a game that bore little resemblance to today’s game.

The school grew over time, with the campus ultimately consisting of an assortment of interconnected buildings that had been built over the course of the 19th century. Perhaps the most unusual addition to the school had been the old First Church, which had been built at Park Square in 1793 by architect Charles Bulfinch. It was damaged in a fire in 1851 and moved here, where it was put to use as a gymnasium. It was still standing when the first photo was taken, and would have been located directly behind the building seen here.

By the end of the Civil War, the school enrolled about 200 girls, but it soon entered a period of decline. Its problems were compounded by the Panic of 1873, which caused significant damage to the United States economy. The school never fully recovered, and closed for good in 1884. Three years later, the buildings were converted into a hotel. It reopened as The Maplewood, and was one of many resort hotels that sprung up in the Berkshires during the late 19th century.

The first photo was taken during its time as a hotel, but like so many other grand hotels of the Gilded Age, it suffered in the 1930s. Just as an earlier financial crisis had doomed the school, the hotel could not survive the Great Depression, and it was sold at a bankruptcy auction in 1936. Nearly all of the buildings, including the old Bullfinch church, were demolished. Even the fountains, including presumably the one in this photo, were melted down as scrap metal during World War II. Only one building, just out of view to the right of this scene, was preserved, and it is now a condominium building. Of the objects that are visible in this photo, only the columns survive. They were donated to Tufts University when the building was demolished, and they now support a porch in front of Ballou Hall.

Old Central High School, Pittsfield, Mass

The Old Central High School, seen from First Street in Pittsfield, around 1900-1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The building in 2016:

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This land between First and Second Streets had once been Pittsfield’s cemetery, but in 1872 the graves were relocated and the land was redeveloped as the Common. A few decades later, after Pittsfield’s high school building burned down, this location was seen as ideal for a new school. It opened in 1898, with a capacity of 600 students, but the city was experiencing rapid growth at the time. Between 1900 and 1920, Pittsfield doubled in population, and it did not take long for the new high school to be overcrowded.

A new, significantly larger high school opened in 1931, a few blocks away on East Street. The old building became the junior high school, and starting in 1961 it housed the newly-established Berkshire Community College. After the college moved to its current campus in 1972, the old school was again vacant. It was ultimately preserved, though, and was redeveloped into housing. Today, it still has all of the same architectural splendor that it had when it first opened, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.