Edward A. Clark House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 403 Maple Street, on the northeast corner of Smith Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

1138_1938-1939 spt maplest403img1

The house in 2016:

This house was built around the 1890s, and was the home of Edward A. Clark, his wife Georgia, and their son Saxton. Edward was a bookkeeper in a paper mill, and the family lived here until sometime in the 1910s. By 1920, newlyweds John and Harriet Shuart were living here, but in 1923 they moved their new house next door at 393 Maple Street. The house was subsequently owned by George A. Fox, who lived here with his wife Mildred. A longtime employee of Milton Bradley, George worked as the head of the company’s game department from 1917 until his death in 1946, and was still living here when this first photo was taken.

Along with the rest of the neighborhood, the house is now part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District. Its exterior remains in good condition, and is well-preserved from the first photo. The only change is the porch on the second floor, which had been enclosed in the 1930s. However, the present-day appearance is probably its original design anyway, and better matches the first floor porch.

John D. Shuart House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 393 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

1137_1938-1939 spt maplest393img

The house in 2016:

This home was one of many large Tudor Revival-style houses that were built on Maple Street in the early 20th century. Completed in 1923, it was the home of John D. Shuart, who was the assistant treasurer for the Springfield Glazed Paper Company. Shuart was born in 1894, and was the son of William H. Shuart, who was the president of the paper company. He attended Williams College. but left during his junior year to enter the Navy during World War I. In 1917, before heading overseas, he married Harriet A. Dickinson, the daughter of former Springfield mayor Henry S. Dickinson. After the war they lived in the house next door at 403 Maple Street for a few years before moving into this house in 1923.

During the time that he lived in this house, John served several terms on the city’s Board of Aldermen, and he was also involved in political and social organizations. However, by the time the first photo was taken, the house was for sale. A year or two later, in the 1940 census, the family had significantly downsized. Perhaps a result of the Great Depression, they were living in an apartment at 169 Maple Street by then. John was no longer working for his father’s paper company, and was instead the vice president of a vending machine company. He was by no means struggling, though, and the census lists his income as being $4,500, or nearly $80,000 in today’s dollars.

Some 80 years after the Shuarts moved out of here, the building is no longer a private residence, and is now owned by the Hampden Berkshire Tuberculosis & Respiratory Disease Association. The porch on the right side has been completely enclosed, and the front lawn was paved over to make a parking lot. However, most of the exterior retains its original appearance, and the house forms part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Charles B. Brown House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 385 Maple Street, at the corner of George Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

1136_1938-1939 spt maplest385img

The house in 2016:

This house was built in 1895 for Charles B. Brown, a carriage manufacturer who had worked for Brockett & Tuttle of New Haven for many years before coming to Springfield to work for J.H. Rogers Carriage Company. He lived here with his wife Alice and their three children, but by 1910 this house had been sold to Mary Castle, an elderly widow who lived here with a servant until the 1920s. The next owner of the house was Franklin D. Neale, an attorney who lived here with his wife Orpha and their five children until at least 1940.

Architecturally, the house somewhat reflects a shift in house styles at the end of the 19th century. It includes a tower, which was practically an obligatory feature in Queen Anne-style houses of the era, yet it lacks the excessive ornamentation that was common for such houses. Instead, the rest of the house more closely resembles the much simpler American Foursquare design that was just coming into popularity at the time.

Today, the exterior of the house remains well-preserved from the first photo, which was taken back when the Neale family still lived here. It is one of many historic late 19th century homes along Maple Street, and serves as a reminder of the days when this neighborhood was one of the most desirable residential areas of the city. Along with the rest of the area, it is part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Merrick-Phelps House, Springfield, Mass

The Merrick-Phelps House at 83 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

1124_1938-1939 spt maplest83img

The house in 2016:

This house at the corner of Maple and Union Streets was built in 1841 as the home of Solyman Merrick, a tool manufacturer who, six years earlier, had invented the monkey wrench. He sold his patent to Stephen C. Bemis, and had apparently made enough money off the sale to afford this elegant house. The same year he moved into this house, Merrick married Henrietta Bliss, and the couple lived here until her death, just three years later. In 1847, Merrick sold the house and had another new one built, this time nearly across the street at 104 Maple Street.

The second owner of this house was Ansel Phelps, an attorney who served as mayor from 1856 to 1858. He died in 1860, and for many years this section of Maple Street continued to be the home of some of the city’s most prominent residents. This house remained as a single-family home well into the 20th century, but gradually fell into decline along with the rest of the neighborhood, suffering from years of neglect.

By the early 2000s it was badly deteriorated. The interior had significant water damage, and the exterior porches and pillars were collapsing. However, it was purchased by DevelopSpringfield in 2013, and the organization restored the home to its original condition. The restoration was completed in 2016, with the interior being converted into offices. Along with this house, DevelopSpringfield is also working on restoring the adjacent 1832 Female Seminary, visible in the background of both photos. When complete, these two restored buildings, along with the carriage house of the Merrick-Phelps House, will form an office park of historic 19th century buildings.

Julius H. Appleton House, Springfield, Mass

The Julius H. Appleton House on Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

859_1938-1939c spt (313 maple)

The house in 2015:

The late 1800s saw a number of mansions built along this section of Maple Street, where many of the city’s most prominent residents lived. Sadly, many of these homes are gone now, but one of the survivors is this mansion at 313 Maple Street, built in 1886 for Julius H. Appleton. It was designed by Eugene C. Gardner, a local architect who also built the recently-demolished YWCA Building on Howard Street. The architecture of the house reflects both Stick style and the related Queen Anne style, both of which were common at the end of the Victorian era in the late 1880s. It is wood-frame, with wood exteriors on the second and third floors, but the first floor exterior is made of brownstone quarried in nearby Longmeadow.

The original owner, Julius H. Appleton, had previously lived in this house on Union Street, and he was a businessman who was involved in a number of different companies. He ran a steam heating company for several years and later became involved in the paper industry, serving as president of the Riverside Paper Company. He was also president of the Hartford & Connecticut Western Railroad, and he served as a director for many area businesses, including Mass Mutual, the Springfield Street Railway Company, Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Chapman Valve Manufacturing Company, and many others. In addition to his business involvements, he also held several political offices, including serving for two years on the City Council and two years on the state Governor’s Council. Appleton died in 1904 at the age of 64, and his funeral, which was held here at his house, was attended by many distinguished guests, including Governor John L. Bates and former Governor Winthrop M. Crane.

The first photo shows the house over 30 years after Appleton’s death, but the exterior appearance was essentially the same. Even today, the house retains all of its original elements in this scene, including the tower, the two-story porch, the shorter turret to the left, and the semi-circular porch around it. The only major change to the property has been the carriage house, which is partially visible to the right beyond the house. The original one burned down around 1980, but the owners later built a replica on the same spot.

David Ames, Jr. House, Springfield, Mass

The David Ames, Jr. House, on Maple Street in Springfield, around 1893. Image from Sketches of the old inhabitants and other citizens of old Springfield (1893).

858_1893c sketchesinhabitants

The house in 2015:

This historic house was built in 1826-1827, for David Ames. Jr., a local paper manufacturer. It was one of the first of many 19th century mansions to be built along this section of Maple Street, on a hill overlooking downtown Springfield and the Connecticut River. The house bears a strong resemblance to the smaller, older Alexander House, and it was designed by Chauncey Shepard, a young local architect who later built homes for many other notable residents, including Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, whose pistol factory he also designed.

David Ames, Jr. came from a prominent industrial family. His father, David Ames, Sr., was the son of an iron mill owner, and David, Sr. began manufacturing shovels and guns during the American Revolution. In 1794, he was appointed by George Washington to serve as the first superintendent of the Springfield Armory, and after leaving his position in 1802 he began manufacturing paper. David, Jr. and his brother John followed in their father’s footsteps in the paper industry, and their company eventually operated mills in Springfield, Chicopee Falls, South Hadley Falls, Northampton, and Suffield.

In 1867, David, Jr. sold the house to his son-in-law, Solomon J. Gordon. Over 40 years after he first built it, Chauncey Shepard was then hired to extensively renovate the house, and the first photo here shows its appearance sometime after these significant alterations. David, Jr. continued to live here until his death in 1883 at the age of 91, and Solomon died just eight years later. The house remained in his family for some time after that, but it later became part of the MacDuffie School. In 2011, the school moved to a new location in Granby, but just before the move happened at the end of the school year, the Springfield campus was heavily damaged by the June 1 tornado. The tornado caused significant damage to the Ames House, including the loss of the front portico and much of the roof.

Nearly five years after the tornado, the house has still not been restored, and the two photos above show the contrast between what it looked like before and after 2011. It is one of the most historically significant homes still standing in Springfield, though, and this year the Springfield Preservation Trust included the house on their annual Most Endangered Historic Resources list.