Orlando M. Baker House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 111 Dartmouth Terrace in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

Many of the houses on Dartmouth Terrace were built in 1888, including this one at the corner of St. James Avenue. It was built for Orlando M. Baker, one of the partners in G. & C. Merriam & Co., the publishing company that later became Merriam-Webster. He was born in New York state in 1832, and moved throughout the country, including working as a school principal in Milwaukee in the 1860s. During this time, he married Abbie Walton, a Milwaukee native, and the couple had a son, Harris. They were living in Springfield by 1880, and in 1882 Orlando joined the Merriam company. He later became treasurer and, in 1904, became president of the famous dictionary publishers. In the meantime, Abbie died in 1896, and the following year Orlando married her younger sister Kate, who was 22 years younger than him. The couple lived here together until his death in 1914.

By 1920, the house was owned by Charles and Jessie Young. Charles was 69 at the time, 15 years older than Jessie, and was usually referred to in published accounts as “Colonel,” although this title was usually in quotation marks, suggesting this was not a military rank. He died in the 1920s, and Jessie lived here until her death in 1942. The 1930 census shows her living here with her brother Charles and sister Emily, and by 1940 Charles was still here, along with a live-in maid. After her death, the house appears to have been converted into three separate apartments. However, like the other historic homes on Dartmouth Terrace, it has since been restored to its former splendor, and is part of the McKnight District on the National Register of Historic Places.

5 thoughts on “Orlando M. Baker House, Springfield, Mass”

  1. To support your theory about Charles Lewis Young and his “Colonel” title, according to his obituary published in the Springfield Republican on 6 Aug 1926, “He was not, in fact, a colonel; he had never held the rank. A captain he was in the Spanish-American War, by virtue of his raising a company of volunteers. Yet the public so far insisted on calling him “Col” Young. . . .”

  2. I was born and raised on 166 Princeton Street. I’d walk by this house many times on my way to Magazine park to play ball. The dingle was down Dartmouth Terrace, heading towards the coal companies, the iron RR bridge and gasoline alley. I always admired this beautiful home. Majestic in in design and construction. This home is in a section of Springfield that was amazing with the architecture of another time. It’s a shame the cost of heating these places, along with industry leaving Springfield, ultimately lead to their plight. This home on Dartmouth has never had owners that could keep pace with the upkeep. I do remember walking past the garage facing St James, and there through the glass windows of the garage was an old carriage or
    some sort of old vehicle. A really stately home of another time and place.

  3. These homes that are on the social register and in the historical district of Springfield,
    require a lot of money to repair, using materials and designs of the home itself. Waivers of material usage can be pretty hard to come by, governed by people who don’t pay
    the bills to fix up the place. The Baker home is a good example of the restraints in this regard. This home has been in disrepair for years, and will, someday, be condemned and demolished.


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