Old Brick Row, New Haven, Connecticut

The Old Brick Row on the Yale campus, seen from the corner of College and Chapel Streets in New Haven, in 1863. Image from Yale University Views (1894).

The scene in 2018:

Today, much of the Yale campus consists of ornate Gothic-style buildings that were constructed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, prior to this time the campus consisted of a group of brick Federal-style buildings that ran parallel to College Street from the corner of Chapel Street. Collectively known as the Old Brick Row, these were built between 1752 and 1824, and they formed the heart of Yale University until the late 19th century, when the old buildings were steadily replaced by more modern ones. Only one building, Connecticut Hall, still survives from the Old Brick Row, although it is now surrounded by newer buildings and is hidden from view in the present-day scene.

The site of the Old Brick Row, now known as the Old Campus, was also the site of the first Yale building in New Haven, which was named the College House. It was completed in 1718, two years after the school moved to New Haven, and was located in the foreground at the corner of College and Chapel Streets. During the early years, it was the only building on campus, but it was later joined by other buildings, including Connecticut Hall, a dormitory that was completed in 1752 and was, in later years, known as South Middle College. Then, in 1763, the First Chapel – later known as the Atheneum – was built to the south of Connecticut Hall. College House was demolished in 1782, but the other two buildings were still standing when the first photo was taken in 1863, with the First Chapel second from the right, and Connecticut Hall just to the right of it.

Following the demolition of the College House, Yale decided upon a campus plan that would involve new buildings to the south of the First Chapel and to the north of Connecticut Hall. This is regarded as the first such campus plan at any college in the country, and it consisted of a single row of buildings that alternated between long dormitories and smaller buildings that were topped with steeples. As part of this plan, Union Hall – later called South College – was built near where the College House had stood, on the far left side of the first photo. This was followed at the turn of the 19th century by the Lyceum, which stood immediately to the right of Connecticut Hall, and Berkeley Hall – later North Middle College – further to the right of it. The last two additions to the Old Brick Row came in the early 1820s, with the construction of North College on the extreme northern end of the row around 1821, and the Second Chapel, which was built between North Middle and North in 1824.

By the time the first photo was taken in 1863, the campus had also come to include buildings such as a library, laboratory, art gallery, and Alumni Hall, which was used as a lecture hall. The Old Brick Row continued to play a central role on the Yale campus throughout this time, but this would soon begin to change. In 1870, the school adopted a new campus plan, which called for the gradual replacement of the old buildings and the creation of a quadrangle that was surrounded by new Gothic-style buildings. This began at the northwestern corner of the block with the construction of Farnam Hall, Durfee Hall, and the Battell Chapel in the 1870s, although this did not immediately affect the Old Brick Row, which stood here for several more decades.

The first to go were South College and the Atheneum, both of which were demolished in 1893 to make way for Vanderbilt Hall, which was completed a year later. By this time, the rest of the Old Brick Row had found itself essentially surrounded by new buildings, hidden from view from the street and in the midst of a newly-formed quadrangle. These old, plain brick buildings looked increasingly out of place in the midst of the new, ornate Gothic-style brownstone buildings, and most were removed over the next few years. Both North Middle College and the Second Chapel were demolished around 1896, followed by the Lyceum and North College in 1901. South Middle College was also slated for demolition as part of the new campus plan, but it was ultimately saved, and was restored to its original Georgian-style design in 1905.

The present-day photo shows a few of the late 19th and early 20th century buildings of the Old Campus, most of which are now older than much of the Old Brick Row had been when it was demolished. In the distance on the extreme left is Vanderbilt Hall, with Bingham Hall (1928) at the corner, Welch Hall (1891) to the right of it, and Phelps Hall (1896) barely visible beyond the trees on the far right. South Middle College, which is once again known by its historic name of Connecticut Hall, is still standing in the quadrangle behind Bingham Hall, no longer visible from this angle. It is the only surviving remnant from the Old Brick Row, but in 1925 it was joined by McClellan Hall, which stands next to it on the quadrangle with a Colonial Revival design that matches Connecticut Hall and pays tribute to the long-demolished buildings of the Old Brick Row.

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.

Theodore H. Nye House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 11 Ingersoll Grove in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

This elegant Colonial Revival home was built in 1905, and was originally the home of Theodore H. Nye, who worked for George Nye & Co., a wholesale meat company located on Lyman Street in downtown Springfield. The company had been established by his father George, who lived next door from here, in the house on the right side of the scene. George died in 1907, and Theodore went on to hold several positions within the company, including treasurer, vice president, and ultimately president. He lived here with his wife Mary and their two daughters, Gertrude and Harriet, until around 1916, when the family moved to West Springfield.

The house was subsequently owned by Charles H. Angell, actuary for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. He and his wife Jessie lived here with their three sons: Irving, Theodore, and Charles, Jr. However, he died in 1926, and by 1929 Jessie and the boys were living in a more modest house nearby at 198 Saint James Avenue. In the meantime, this house on Ingersoll Grove was sold to William C. Taylor, a retired merchant who had previously owned Taylor’s Music House on State Street. He and his wife Emma were living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and he remained here until his death in 1942.

Today, some 80 years after the first photo was taken, not much has changed in this scene. In a neighborhood dominated by late 19th century Queen Anne-style homes, it is one of the few early 20th century Colonial Revival homes, and it stands as a well-preserved example of this architectural style. The neighboring George Nye house on the right side is also still standing, and both of these homes are now contributing properties in 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.

Francke W. Dickinson House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 141 Saint James Avenue in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

Most of the houses in Springfield’s McKnight neighborhood were built in the 1880s, and feature Queen Anne-style architecture, which was popular during that decade. However, trends had begun to shift by the early 1890s, and some of the later McKnight homes had a Colonial Revival design, including this house at the corner of Saint James Avenue and Thompson Street. It was built in 1894, and was originally the home of Francke W. Dickinson, a funeral director and local politician who lived here with his wife Katie and their two children, Ethel and Henry.

Francke Dickinson was the son of Springfield undertaker Elijah Dickinson, and he and his brother Arthur joined the family business in 1872. Arthur left after just two years, but Francke stayed, and took over the company after his father’s death in 1885. In 1910, he formed a partnership with George W. Streeter, establishing the Dickinson-Streeter Company, which would remain in business in Springfield for over a century. During this time, Dickinson also held several different political offices, including serving on the city’s common council from 1888 to 1890, on the board of alderman from 1903 to 1904, as mayor from 1905 to 1906, and as a state senator from 1908 to 1909.

Their son Henry died in 1896 from heart disease at the age of 19, and Ethel left home after her marriage in 1900, so Francke and Katie were living here alone during the 1900 census, except for one servant. They were still here in 1907, but by the following year they had moved to a house on Chestnut Street, and then to Sumner Avenue a few years later. However, by the 1920 census they had returned to the McKnight neighborhood, and were living at The Oaks, a hotel a few blocks away from here on Thompson Street. They lived there until 1922, when they died only three months apart from each other.

In the meantime, by 1910 their former house here on Saint James Avenue was the home of Elizabeth A. Rice and Helen S. Stratton. The two women were sisters, and both were widows who were in their 70s at the time. Helen died in 1916, but Elizabeth was still living here during the 1920 census, along with her nephew Samuel F. Punderson. He was 50 years old and unmarried, and was the treasurer of the R. W. Rice Coal Company, which had been established by Elizabeth’s late husband Richard. Punderson subsequently inherited the house after his aunt’s death in 1923, and in 1930 he was living here with his wife May, whom he had married a few years earlier.

May died in 1931, and Samuel remained here until his death in 1938 at the age of 75. The first photo was taken around this same time, and it shows the west side of the house as seen from Saint James Avenue. Very little has changed since then, and the exterior of the house has remained well-preserved. Perhaps even more remarkable, though, is that the two trees from the first photo are also still there. They do not seem to have grown much, and aside from a few missing limbs, they look almost the same as they did when the first photo was taken some 80 years ago.