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.

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The scene in 2015:

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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.

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The house in 2015:

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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.

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The house in 2015:

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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.

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The house in 2015:

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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.

Kilroy House, Springfield, Mass

The Kilroy House at 63 Chestnut Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2015:

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As mentioned in an earlier post, this site was once the home of publisher George Merriam, the co-founder of Merriam-Webster. He died in 1880, and the house was demolished around the turn of the century. It was replaced with two houses, one of which was this Mission Revival style house, which was completed in 1905 for Dr. Philip Kilroy, an Irish-born doctor who had his home and office here. After his death, the house was owned by WSPR, a radio station that was broadcast from here from 1936 to 1981. It is now owned by the Springfield Library and Museums Association and is used as their offices.

Architecturally, this house is significant because it is one of only a few Mission Revival style houses in Springfield, and as the two photos show it has been well preserved over the years. It is also one of the last few surviving homes along this section of Chestnut Street, which was once a fashionable street for Springfield’s upper class.

First Friendly’s Restaurant, Springfield, Mass

The original home of Friendly Ice Cream, at 161 Boston Road in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2015:

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The first photo was taken only a few years after S. Prestley and Curtis Blake opened the first Friendly Ice Cream location here in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood. In 1935, the two brothers, aged 20 and 18, respectively, borrowed $547 from their parents and opened the ice cream shop, charging 5 cents for a two scoop cone as the sign on the side of the building indicates. The business soon proved to be popular, and in 1940 they opened a second shop in West Springfield. By the early 1950s, they had 10 locations in the area, and when the Blake brothers sold the company in 1979, it had grown to over 500 restaurants. Today, the company operates 380 restaurants along the east coast from Maine to Florida.

The buildings in the first photo were probably built in the 1920s or early 1930s, when Pine Point was growing as a middle class residential neighborhood. As seen here and in this earlier post, these commercial buildings are all still standing, but the change in use has reflected some of the changes in the neighborhood over the years. The original Friendly’s has long since closed, and its storefront is now a pizza restaurant, and to the right the storefronts that were once the First National supermarket are now vacant. Directly across the street from here was Nora’s Variety Store, a Pine Point fixture for many years that, likewise, has closed and also stands vacant.