50-52 Mattoon Street, Springfield, Mass

The twin houses at 50-52 Mattoon Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

852_1938-1939c spt (50-52 mattoon)

The houses in 2015:

852_2015
These two houses are among the earlier ones built on Mattoon Street, and their architecture is among the finest on the street. The one on the right, number 52, was built first, around 1872, for furniture dealer Julius A. Eldredge and his wife Catherine. A year later, the matching house on the left was completed, giving the front of the building its symmetrical design. By the 1900 census, the house on the left was owned by Thomas and Margaret Keating, two Irish immigrants who lived here with their three children. The one on the right was rented by Horace and Martha Eddy, their son Arthur, his wife Florence, and their infant son Lawrence.

By the 1940 census, just after the first photo was taken, the situation here was very different. I could not find any available data on the house on the left, but the one on the right was, like many other on the street at the time, used as a rooming house. It was rented for $65 a month by Alice LeBlanc, a French-Canadian immigrant who sublet the house to 11 lodgers, as the census described them. The census also lists their occupations, which included a baker, machinist, waitress, janitor, and a department store clerk. Their salaries are also listed, which reflected an economy that was still recovering from the Great Depression; they ranged from the waitress’s $440 annual income to the baker’s comparatively princely $1540 earnings (in 2016 dollars these equate to about $7,500 and $26,000, respectively).

When the Massachusetts Historical Commission filed reports on the historic Mattoon Street houses in the early 1970s, most were in a state of disrepair, except for the house on the right here. In their report on it, they remarked that “It is the only existing structure on the street to be rehabilitated and stands as an example of excellence for other owners to strive for.” Thankfully, in the years since, the other owners have followed suit, and today the entire street has been restored to its former elegance and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

42-44 Mattoon Street, Springfield, Mass

The twin houses at 42-44 Mattoon Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

851_1938-1939c spt (42 mattoon)

The scene in 2015:

851_2015
These two houses are architecturally very similar to the neighboring house to the left, and all were built in 1888 and owned by Lebbeus C. Smith. Together, they were among the last houses to be built on Mattoon Street in the 19th century, and they are the only examples of Queen Anne architecture on the street. The 1900 census shows that, like many of the other homes on Mattoon Street at the time, they were used as rooming houses. The one on the left, number 42, was rented by 68 year old dressmaker Mary W. Chamberlain, who in turn sublet the house to nine roomers, whose occupations included several shoe factory workers, clothing salesmen, a dry goods salesman, a telephone inspector, a barber, and a student. The house on the right was similarly crowded; in 1900 it was rented by Canadian immigrants John and Elizabeth Ashton and their daughter Dorothy, along with six roomers, which included two milliners, a dressmaker, a bookkeeper, and a dentist.

When the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, many of the homes on the street were still being used as rooming houses, and by the 1960s many were in disrepair. As mentioned in an earlier post, some of the townhouses on this side of the street were demolished in the early 1970s because of their poor condition. However, the remaining houses, including these ones, have since been restored. and are now part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

36 Mattoon Street, Springfield, Mass

The house at 36 Mattoon Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

850_1938-1939c spt (36 mattoon)

The house in 2015:

850_2015
This house was built in 1888, at the same time as the matching duplex to the right, and these properties were among the last 19th century buildings to be completed on Mattoon Street. They were both owned by Lebbeus C. Smith, who rented this house to other tenants. One such resident here in 1901 was George Newell Bowers, an artist who was active in Springfield in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All three of the buildings visible in the first photo have been restored and are still standing today, and they are part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kingsbury House, Springfield, Mass

The Kingsbury House at 34 Mattoon Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

849_1938-1939c spt (34 mattoon)

The house in 2015:

849_2015
This house on Mattoon Street was built in 1873, and it was originally owned by George O. Kingsbury, a real estate developer who built over 400 homes in Springfield. His house was one of four identical four-story brick townhouses, all of which were built by contractors A.B. Howe and C.C. Moulton for some of the city’s prominent residents. However, over time the buildings deteriorated, and three of the four were demolished in the early 1970s, leaving only the Kingsbury house still standing. The vacant lot to the left was filled in the 1980s, though, when a condominium building was built at 26-32 Mattoon Street. Although new, it was designed to match the Victorian architecture of the rest of the street, and today it blends in well with the historic homes around it.

John Rollings House, Springfield, Mass

The John Rollings House at 24 Mattoon Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

848_1938-1939c spt

The house in 2015:

848_2015
This house is one of the new on Mattoon Street that was built as a detached single-family home. It was built in 1882, and for 23 years it was owned by John Edwin Rollings, an English-born carpet designer who worked for the Hartford Carpet Company. He was listed as living here in the 1900 census, along with two Scottish roomers and a housekeeper. Rollings remarried in 1901, but he died in 1905 at the age of 52. Today, the house is one of many historic Victorian homes on Mattoon Street, and it is part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

25 Mattoon Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 25 Mattoon Street, seen around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

725_1938-1939 spt (25 mattoon)

The building in 2015:

725_2015
This building is a little different from the rest of the houses on the south side of Mattoon Street. It was built in 1891, making it the newest on that side of the street. Unlike all of the others, it was built as an apartment building, and its Romanesque architecture is very different from the rest of the street. It is also known as the Yadow Building, because of the somewhat enigmatic “Yadow” inscription in the center of the parapet, and it is part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.