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.

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.

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.

John Banister House, Newport, Rhode Island

The house at 56 Pelham Street, at the corner of Spring Street in Newport, around 1930. Image courtesy of the Providence Public Library.

The house in 2017:

This large, elegant Georgian-style home was built in the early 1750s, and was built as the home of John Banister (1707-1767), a prosperous colonial merchant. Banister was originally from Boston, but subsequently came to Newport, where he married Hermione Pelham in 1737. She came from one of Newport’s leading families, and her great-grandfather, Benedict Arnold (1615-1678), had served for many years as the colonial governor of Rhode Island. Governor Arnold, whose other descendants included the Revolutionary War traitor of the same name, owned a significant amount of land in downtown Newport, including the Newport Tower, which still stands a few blocks away from here. This property was later inherited by the Pelham family, and then by John Banister after the death of his father-in-law in 1741.

Banister built this house on the property about a decade later. He and Hermione had two sons, John and Thomas, who grew up here, and John inherited the house after his father’s death in 1767. However, the two brothers later found themselves on opposite sides of the American Revolution. Thomas was a loyalist, and even enlisted in the British army during the occupation of Newport, while John supported American independence. In retaliation for his patriot views, the occupying British forces seized this house, along with John’s farm in nearby Middletown. The house became the headquarters of General Richard Prescott during the occupation, although John later reclaimed his property following the British evacuation of Newport in 1779. His brother Thomas was less fortunate, though. As a loyalist, his property was confiscated by colonial authorities, and he never returned to Newport after the army’s evacuation.

By the time the first photo was taken around 1930, the house was nearly 200 years old, and was already recognized for its historical significance. Then, in 1968, it became a contributing property in the Newport Historic District, a National Historic Landmark district that encompasses much of the downtown area. Over the years, the interior has been heavily modified, but the exterior has remained largely the same as it was when the house was built. Even these two photos, taken nearly 80 years apart, do not show much of a difference, aside from the removal of the shutters. However, in recent years the John Banister House has fallen into disrepair, as shown by several boarded-up windows in the 2017 photo. Shortly after this photo was taken, though, work began on a major renovation of both the interior and exterior, including restoring the original floor plan, replacing the shingles and windows, and repairing damage to the chimneys, foundation, and frame. When this work is completed, the house will again be used as a single-family home.

For more information on the Banister House and its ongoing restoration, see these articles here and here on the Newport This Week website.