Joseph A. Call House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 42 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1887 for Joseph A. Call, although there seems to be little information about who he was. However, he must have died by the late 1890s, because the 1899 city atlas lists the property as being owned by his heirs. The following year’s census shows that it was being rented by Harry McGregor-Norman, who lived here with his wife Jessie and their three young children, Ruth, Harry, and Jessie. At the time, the elder Harry worked in the paper industry, as the traffic manager for the American Writing Paper Company. However, he died in New York in 1908, and by 1910 the family was living in Cambridge.

By the 1910 census, this house was owned by Dr. Alice Robison, a physician who lived here until her death in 1923. In 1930, it was owned by Amanda W. Ewing, an elderly widow who lived here with her daughter Marjorie Gage, plus Marjorie’s husband Frank and young son Bradlee. By the time the first photo was taken, the Gages were living in Amherst, and they rented this house to bank executive Myron C. Peabody. At the time, he was the assistant treasurer of the Federal Land Bank in Springfield, but he later became the bank’s vice president and then president.

Peabody lived here with his wife Ruth and their two children, Myron and Laura, and in 1941 they purchased the property from the Gage family. Three years later, the younger Myron enlisted in the Army during World War II, but he was killed in action in Italy in April, 1945, only a month before the European war ended. The elder Myron continued living here with Ruth until 1960, when they sold the property. Since then, the house has been restored, and in 1976 it became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

William S. Banning House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 50 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1890 for William S. Banning and his wife Ella. William was originally from Connecticut, but in 1872 he came to Springfield, joining a number of other young men who were moving from small New England towns to the rapidly-growing city. He worked for a local contractor, but after a few years he left and started his own company, which soon became one of the largest in the city. It was good timing, because Springfield was in the midst of a building boom fueled by the sudden increase in population. One of the largest of these developments was the McKnight neighborhood, where some of the city’s most prominent residents lived, and he and Ella moved here after this house was completed.

After Ella’s death in 1917, and Williams’ death in 1921, the house was sold to real estate developer Edwin Robbins. During the 1930 census, he was living here with his wife Hattie, their daughter Grace, and her husband Harold Steward, along with 16 year old Dorothy Connelly, who was a granddaughter of Edwin and Hattie and presumably the niece of Grace. The following year, however, the family had sold the house to Nellie E. Brown, a retired kindergarten teacher from Bangor, Maine. She had previously lived in Enfield, Massachusetts, but she relocated to Springfield in 1931, presumably because of Enfield’s impending disincorporation to build Quabbin Reservoir.

Brown was still living here a few years later when the first photo was taken. She was in her 70s at the time, and she continued to live here until her death in 1954 at the age of 89. In 1976, the house became part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and like so many other homes in the neighborhood it has been restored to its original 19th century appearance, with even more Queen Anne-style ornamentation than it had when the first photo was taken.

Eli B. Clark House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 56 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1888 for Eli B. Clark, a retired pastor who was about 80 when he moved into the house. An 1839 graduate of Yale Theological Seminary, he had a long career as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Chicopee, serving from 1839 to 1875. During this time, he was involved in the Underground Railroad, assisting runaway slaves in their journey north through the Connecticut River Valley. His wife Cornelia died in 1880, and he continued living in Chicopee for another eight years, until he moved to Springfield. However, he died in 1889, only a year after this house was completed.

The Clark family owned this house for more than a decade, and by the 1900 census they were renting it to lawyer Hervey K. Hawes, who had previously lived in the house directly across the street from here. By 1910, though, the property had been sold to Joseph and Susan McVeigh, who lived here with their four children. Joseph was born in Ireland to Scottish parents, and Susan was originally from Iowa, but the couple ended up here in Springfield, where Joseph worked as a wholesale grain merchant.

By the time the first photo was taken, their children had moved out, but Joseph and Susan would continue to live here for many years. Joseph died in 1959, but Susan remained here until her death in 1965, at the age of 91. Since then, the exterior of the house has remained well-preserved, and it is now part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Mary A. Booth House, Springfield, Mass

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

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1893 for Walter T. Bugbee, a tailor who had previously lived a few houses away at 24 Dartmouth Street. It seems unclear why, after living there for just six years, he chose to move to a very similar house on the same block, but he did not live in this one for very long, either. By 1900, he had moved to Garfield Street in Forest Park, and this house was owned by scientist Mary A. Booth, who lived here alone except for a servant.

Originally from Longmeadow, Mary Booth became interested in science thanks to her father, Samuel C. Booth, who had accumulated an extensive collection of minerals and Native American artifacts that, after his death in 1895, she donated to the Springfield City Library. In particular, she specialized in microscopy and micrography, becoming a leading authority on these topics, as well as one of the few female scientists in 19th century America. She was a member of a number of scientific societies, including the Royal Microscopical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and she traveled extensively to give lectures while also working as the editor of the magazine Practical Microscopy.

Booth did much of her work here at her home, where she prepared her microscopic slides, took photographs through her microscope, and stored her vast collections. One contemporary source described her home as being “filled with many relics of the past and products of her skill,” while another declared that “she has probably the largest private collection of parasites in this country.” During the outbreak of bubonic plague in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century, she put her knowledge and skills to use in assisting public health officials, by providing them with photographs of plague-infected fleas.

Booth lived here until her death in 1922 at the age of 79, and the house subsequently became the home of Roe S. Clark, his wife Sarah, and their two children. Clark was a businessman who served as treasurer and later president of the Package Machine Company, and he lived here for about a decade before moving in 1932. The house was sold to another local business executive, Harley Morrill. Many years earlier, he had started his career as a railroad engineer, before becoming superintendent at the Ludlow Manufacturing Company. By the time he moved into this house, he was the president of the Springfield Cooperative Bank, which was the precursor of the present-day United Bank.

At some point, the exterior of the house was covered in aluminum siding. It is hard to tell from the black and white image, but it appears to have already been installed when the first photo was taken. The house ended up being used as a rooming house, but the house was ultimately restored on the interior and exterior, including replacing the siding with wooden clapboards. Along with the rest of the neighborhood, the house is part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

James A. Bill, Jr. House, Springfield, Mass

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

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1887 for businessman James A. Bill, Jr. and his wife Ella. Their only child, Raymond, was born a year later and grew up in this house. James was originally from Lyme, Connecticut, and as a young man he worked on board a steamboat that operated on the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Hartford. Despite living in Connecticut, his parents were apparently southern sympathizers, because three of his brothers, born before and during the Civil War, were named Kansas Nebraska Bill, Lecompton Constitution Bill, and Jefferson Davis Bill.

James Bill came to Springfield in 1875, first working for the Connecticut Central Railroad before becoming bookkeeper for the Union Envelope Company and the National Papeterie Company. He later became treasurer and manager of National Papeterie, but subsequently left the stationery business and became secretary, treasurer, and general manager of the Springfield Knitting Company. All three of the companies that he worked for in Springfield were owned, at least in part, by prominent businessman and philanthropist Nathan D. Bill. Like James, Nathan Bill’s family was also from southern Connecticut, although the two do not appear to have been related.

Aside from his business career, James Bill was also involved in local politics, serving on the city’s common council for five years and on the school board for three years. He lived here in this house until his death in 1909, and Ella and Raymond continued living here for a few more years. Raymond graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1910, and he soon went into business for himself, establishing Raymond R. Bill & Co., a Springfield-based heating company.

By the early 1920s, the house had been sold to real estate and insurance agent George S. Lampson, who lived here with his wife Henrietta and their children. They were still living here by the 1930 census, but they moved out at some point soon after. The house does not appear to be listed in the 1940 census, which was done only a year or two after the first photo was taken, so it is possible that the house was vacant at this point. Also, there appears to be a good amount of peeling paint in the first photo, suggesting that the house was probably in need of maintenance.

In the years after the first photo was taken, the exterior was covered in asbestos shingles, a popular material in the mid-20th century. However, the house was restored in the 1980s, with wooden clapboards replacing the shingles, and it now has a paint scheme that highlights the Victorian-era details. Along with the surrounding homes in the neighborhood, it is part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thomas W. Adams House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 72 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:


This house was built in 1886 for Thomas W. Adams, and it was apparently intended as a two-family home. During the 1900 census, both units were rented by middle class families. In one unit was confectionery company clerk Albert B. Sanderson, his wife Emma, their two young children, and a servant. The other unit was the home of dry goods merchant Hambley S. Christopher, his wife Mary, and their two children, along with a servant.

By 1910, the house had become a single-family home, owned by George W. Abbott. A native of New Hampshire, Abbott was a Civil War veteran who fought in the Seventh Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers. He was badly wounded in 1864 during the Battle of Olustee in Florida, but he recovered, and after the war became a merchant in his home state. He was a director of several corporations, including the Concord Street Railway, Sullivan County Railroad, and the First National Bank of Concord. Along with this, he was a presidential elector in 1892 for Benjamin Harrison, and in 1895 he served in the state House of Representatives.

After his retirement, George Abbott and his wife Adelaide moved to Springfield, and they lived here in this house with their daughter Myra, her husband Grenville Stevens, and their children Eleanor, Abbott, and Emily. Adelaide died in 1911, and George in 1918, but the Stevens family continued to live here for many years. Grenville died in 1936, but Myra was still living at the house when the first photo was taken. Emily and Eleanor also still lived here, along with Eleanor’s husband, Warren D. Kinsman, and their children.

The family moved out of the house later sometime in the 1940s, but the house has remained well-preserved since then. Nearly 80 years after the first photo was taken, the house retains its Queen Anne-style appearance, and it is part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.