An automobile service station on State Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.
The building in 2015:
This building is located in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood, a suburban section of the city that rapidly grew in population in the early 1900s. At first, this growth was facilitated by the trolley line that ran through here, but later on it was automobiles that made this a practical place to live and commute from. The establishment in the first photo, which appears to be called Frank’s Service, based on the sign above the door, would have been one of the many automobile-related businesses that opened to meet the demand. I found this one particularly interesting, though, because my grandmother grew up in this neighborhood, and this place was about halfway between her house and where she worked in the late 1930s, at MassMutual. She would’ve driven past here every day, and perhaps even stopped in to buy a Coca Cola. According to the city assessor’s records, it was built in 1935, and although I don’t know what the building has been used for since the 1930s, it has clearly been vacant for a while. The property has been owned by the City of Springfield since 2003, probably for nonpayment of taxes, so it had likely been abandoned long before that.