H. D. Graves House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 20 Fairfield Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1901, and its original owner was H. L. Graves, although it seems unclear as to exactly who this person was. He, or perhaps she, did not live here for very long, though. By 1908 the house was owned by Margaretha Seuss, the maternal grandmother of Theodore Geisel. Better known in later years by his pen name of Dr. Seuss, Theodore Geisel was a young child when his grandmother lived here, and he lived just a few houses away on the same street.

Margaretha lived in this house with her daughter Bertha and Bertha’s husband, William H. Klein. He was a former lieutenant in the Massachusetts Militia, and in the 1910 census he was listed as a bookkeeper in a brewery. Margaretha died in 1913, but the Kleins remained here for many years. They had two sons, George and Frederick, and they were still living here by the 1930 census. However, at some point in the 1930s they moved to nearby Keith Street, where hey rented half of a two-family home.

By the 1940 census, this house on Fairfield Street was rented by Harry J. Talmage, who worked as a manager for the New England Milk Producing Association. He lived here with his wife and three teenaged children, and in 1940 they were paying $45 in monthly rent. They were only here for a few years, though, because by around 1942 they had moved to a different house in Forest Park. However, their former house has changed very little since the first photo was taken, and the property is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Percy Gates House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 60 Garfield Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1900 for insurance bookkeeper Percy S. Gates and his wife Beula, although the couple lived here for less than a decade, before moving to Longmeadow by the 1910 census. The house was then sold to George and Sophie Joslyn, who went on to live here for the rest of their lives. George was listed as a bookkeeper in the 1920 city register, although the census records do not list any occupations for either him or Sophie. However, they were involved in several different charitable and social organizations, with George serving as secretary of the Wesson Memorial Hospital and treasurer of the Automobile Club of Springfield, while Sophie was the treasurer of the Home for Friendless Women.

Sophie died in 1938, right around the time that the first photo was taken, and George remained here until his death in 1943. The house has had a number of other owners since then, but it has remained well-preserved, with hardly any differences since the first photo was taken nearly 80 years ago, except for the paint color. In 1982, the house became part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thomas Crane House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 66 Garfield Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This Colonial Revival-style home was built in 1899 for Thomas and Katherine Crane, and their young children, Robert and Ruth. Thomas was a Scottish immigrant who came to the United States as a child, and he worked as a traveling salesman for a furniture company. The family only lived here for a few years, though, before moving to a nearby house on Maplewood Terrace.

The house was subsequently owned by James P. Stearns, an auditor for MassMutual. He was living here during the 1910 census, along with his wife Gertrude, their two children, and his niece. However, they did not live here long either, and by the next census the house was owned by retired stove dealer Charles Gowdy and his wife Blanche. He lived here until his death in 1933, and Blanche later left this house and moved in with her son.

By the time the first photo was taken, the house was being rented by Mollie B. Higgins, a widow who lived here with three adult daughters, Harriett, Margaret, and Ruth. All three were unmarried, with Harriett working as a teacher, Margaret as an insurance clerk, and Ruth as a dentist assistant. During the 1940 census, the family was living here and paying $55 per month in rent, but a few years later the house was sold again.

Today, this scene is completely unchanged, including the adjacent houses to the right and in the distance on the left. The exterior of this house has remained well-preserved, and along with the other houses in the neighborhood it is now part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

William F. Wright House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 15 Churchill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This house was built in 1898 for William F. Wright, although he does not appear to have lived here long, because by 1902 it was the home of attorney Wallace R. Heady, his wife Sarah, and their two young children, Joseph and Mary. Prior to moving into this house, he and Sarah had two other children, but they died young, just six months apart in 1898 and 1899. They would go on to have three more children, but Sarah died of tuberculosis in 1907, only a few months after their youngest child was born.

By the 1910 census, Heady was living here with the five children, his mother Elvira, and a 16 year old Irish servant. He was still working as a lawyer at the time, but in 1914 he was appointed as a judge for the Police Court of Springfield, which later became the District Court of Springfield. In the meantime, his oldest surviving child, Joseph, also became a lawyer. His education was interrupted by World War I, when he left high school to serve in the Navy, but after the war he graduated from high school and subsequently received his law degree from Boston University.

Wallace Heady served as a judge for 22 years, until his resignation in 1936 at the age of 71. His decision was prompted by Governor James Michael Curley’s newly-established policy requiring judges over the age of 70 to undergo physical and mental evaluations. Rather than submitting to an examination, he tendered his resignation, and he made his reasons very clear in his letter to Governor Curley.

When the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, Heady was still living here in this house, but he died a few years later in 1942. The house was subsequently sold, and at some point the wood shingles and clapboards on the exterior walls were replaced with asbestos shingles. Otherwise, though, the house retains its 19th century appearance, and in 1982 it became part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

David Bordeaux House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 19 Churchill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This Colonial Revival-style two-family home was built in 1898, and was originally owned by David Bordeaux, a photographer who had a studio on Main Street. In the 1900 census, he was 38 and was living here in one of the units with his wife Elizabeth, and they rented the other unit Dwight and Flora Hakes, a newlywed couple. Dwight worked as a bank clerk for the Springfield Institution for Savings, and he and Flora later moved to a house on Central Street, where he died of cancer in 1910 at the age of 36.

By the 1910 census, David and Elizabeth Bordeaux had moved to a new house on Pineywoods Avenue, but they still owned this property and rented it to two other families. It continued to be used primarily as a rental property throughout the next few censuses, with a variety of middle class residents whose occupations included a lithographer, a contractor, an architect, and an engineer. Most families did not seem to stay here for long, though, because each census between 1900 and 1940 has entirely different residents here. Around the time the first photo was taken, each unit was rented for $35 a month. One unit was the home of leather worker Benjamin Pressler, his wife Fay, and their two young children. The other was rented by Alice M. Welch, a divorced secretary who lived here with her five young children and a maid.

Today, the house is still a two-family home, with few changes to the exterior. The only significant difference is the wide, shingle-covered columns, most of which have since been replaced, except for the one on the second-story side porch on the left. Otherwise, though, the house has retained its original appearance, including the clapboards on the first floor and shingles on the second and third floors. Since 1982, the property has been part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fred E. Webb House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 33 Churchill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1895, and was originally owned by milk dealer Fred E. Webb. He and his wife Mary had two children, Maude and Everett, who grew up here, and by 1900 they also lived here with Mary’s parents and three boarders. Both Maude and Everett remained here as adults, with Maude working as a teacher, while Everett had a variety of jobs listed on the different census records. In 1933, Maude married Merrill L. Clifford, a printer who was originally from Maine. The couple lived here with her parents, although Fred died in 1939, right around the time that the first photo was taken.

The house remained in the family until 1965, when Merrill sold it, four years after Maude’s death. Since then, very little has changed with the exterior of the house. For the most part, it looks the same as it did when the Webb family lived here, and it has retained its original Queen Anne-style appearance. It is one of many well-restored historic homes in the neighborhood, and in 1982 it became part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.