William G. Wheat House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 65 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

Although the majority of houses in the McKnight neighborhood are Queen Anne-style, many other homes had yet to be built by the mid-1890s, as preferences began to shift toward Colonial Revival architecture. This particular house was built in 1895, right around the time that this shift was happening, so it still retains some of the earlier Queen Anne features, such as the bay window and the multi-story front porch. However, it is clearly a Colonial Revival home, with elements such as a symmetrical front facade and a cross-gambrel roof, along with an exterior covered in shingles.

This house was originally owned by William G. Wheat, a dry goods merchant who was a partner in the Springfield firm of Meekins, Packard & Wheat. He and his wife Clara lived here with their two children, Harold and Isabelle, until around 1910, when they moved to State Street. The family apparently owned the house for some time afterwards, although by 1920 it was owned by Charles and Edith Van Norman. Charles was a Canadian immigrant who, along with his brother Fred, had founded the Van Norman Machine Tool Company here in Springfield.

By the time Charles Van Norman moved into this house, the company had prospered, specializing in milling and grinding machines. He served as president and general manager of the company, and both he and Edith were still living here when the first photo was taken. Despite living in a comparatively modest house, he was far wealthier than most of his other neighbors, and the 1940 census listed his annual income as $5,000+, the highest bracket used on the census.

Charles lived here until his death in 1946, and Edith died two years later. Since then, the house has not changed significantly, and it still retains its original Colonial Revival appearance. Along with the other houses in the neighborhood, it is part of the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Salem W. McIntyre House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 61 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

This house is one of the oldest on Dartmouth Street, and was built in 1885 for Salem W. McIntyre. However, by the late 1890s it was owned by John and Harriet Crane, who lived here with their two children, Alfred and Mary. Originally from Middlefield, Massachusetts, John came to Springfield in the 1880s and had a varied career, first owning a grocery store, then becoming a bookkeeper, before finally becoming a real estate agent in 1903. He started his own real estate business, John W. Crane Company, and hired Alfred as the treasurer.

It was a good time to get involved in real estate in Springfield, with the city’s population rapidly growing. Known as the “City of Homes” since the 1880s, this nickname would become even more true in the early 20th century, with trolley lines and later automobiles enabling the large-scale development of the suburban parts of the city. After John’s death in 1925, Alfred carried on the real estate business, and he also continued living here in this house, along with his wife Lulu and their son, Sumner. They were still living here when the first photo was taken, and after Alfred’s death in 1947, Lulu remained here with Sumner until finally selling the house in 1959.

Like the neighboring house to the right, this house has also been beautifully restored, with few noticeable changes since the first photo was taken. The only significant difference is the lack of the enclosed porch on the back left side, although this may not have been original to the house anyway. Along with the other houses in the neighborhood, it is a contributing property in the McKnight Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Hervey K. Hawes House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 53 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

This house was built in 1894 as the home of lawyer Hervey K. Hawes, and it is a good example of Shingle-style architecture in a neighborhood that is largely dominated by earlier Queen Anne homes. Unlike these older homes, which usually featured a complex roof, highly ornamented exteriors, and a variety of building materials, this house reflects a shift toward simpler architecture. It features a single, large gable that gives the house a more horizontal focus, and the exterior is almost entirely covered in shingles, with minimal decoration.

Hawes evidently did not live in this house for very long, because by 1898 it was owned by Kirk Washburn. He was a longtime employee of publishers G. & C. Merriam, eventually becoming the company’s secretary and later the treasurer. Kirk and his wife Minnie had one child, Kirk, Jr., who also went on to work for G. & C. Merriam. However, he died in December 1918 from pneumonia caused by influenza that, based on the timing, was probably contracted during that year’s infamous flu pandemic. The elder Kirk lived here until his death in 1929, and Minnie died six years later.

By the time the first photo was take, the house was used as a rental property. It was the home of Richard and Elizabeth Whittey and their two children, and at the 1940 census they were paying $50 a month to rent the house. Richard’s occupation was listed as an investigator for a credit bureau, while his son Richard, Jr. was a sales manager and his daughter Evelyn was a secretary. The same census also provides their annual salaries, which were $2,300, $2,000, and $780, respectively. By way of comparison, a $2,000 salary at the time would be equal to about $35,000 today, when adjusted for inflation.

In 1976, the McKnight Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and his house was included as one of the contributing properties. Since then, it has been restored and remains in excellent condition, with hardly any noticeable differences from the 1930s photo. This past year, the Springfield Preservation Trust awarded the current owner with the Edward Sims Award for Stewardship, in recognition of the home’s level of preservation.

Dr. H. O. Pease House, Springfield, Mass

The duplex at 27-29 Dartmouth Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

This large duplex was built in 1894, and was originally owned by Dr. Herbert O. Pease, a physician who had his medical practice here in Springfield. He lived on Maple Street, but rented this house out to two different families. During the 1900 census, the unit on the left, number 29, was rented by Frederick Bardwell, a telegraph operator. At the time, he was living here with his wife Anne and their two young children, Gladys and Leland. The family proved to be particularly long-term tenants, and even after Anne’s death in the 1920s, Frederick continued to live here. The 1930 census shows that he was paying $60 per month in rent, and was living here with Gladys, who had become a teacher. They were both still living here when the first photo was taken, as well as during the 1940 census, more than 40 years after Frederick first began renting from Dr. Pease.

The unit on the right side was, by the 1900 census, rented by Sarah Blake, a 68-year-old widow who lived here with her two adult daughters, Mary and Delia. The latter worked as a bookkeeper, and Mary was a dentist, which was a rather unusual career path for a Victorian-era woman. She was the first female dentist in the city, and enjoyed a long career that extended into the 1930s, although she only lived here in this house until the 1910s. By 1920, the right side of the house was rented by physician George H. Davis and his wife Margaret, and in 1930 it was rented by Fred Ward, who was the clerk of the city’s school superintendent.

By the 1970s, the building was abandoned and boarded up, and its two-story front porch was gone. It became a part of the McKnight Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and was finally restored in the 1980s. Since then, it has been well-maintained in its original appearance,  providing an excellent example of Queen Anne architecture on one of the finest streets in the neighborhood.

George Nye House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 1120 Worthington Street, at the corner of Ingersoll Grove in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

When the McKnight neighborhood was developed in the late 19th century, it attracted a wide variety of prosperous Springfield residents. Among them was George Nye, a wholesale meat dealer whose house was built in 1888 at the northeast corner of Worthington Street and Ingersoll Grove. Some 40 years earlier, when this area was very sparsely settled, Major Edward Ingersoll had an estate here on the north side of Worthington Street. His house was located around this spot, and he owned a large amount of land behind it, which became known as Ingersoll’s Grove. This land was subdivided and developed in the 1880s, and the street Ingersoll Grove was opened through the property.

Major Ingersoll’s old house was demolished as part of the development, and George Nye’s house was built in its place, with a Queen Anne-style design that reflected the architectural tastes of the era. George and his wife Martha had previously lived on Florence Street in the city’s Six Corners neighborhood, so the move brought them a new, larger, more stylish home, as well as a far more desirable location. They lived here for many years, and after George died in 1907, Martha remained here for another 15 years, when she sold it in 1922, two years before her death.

The house was purchased by attorney David B. Hoar, who married his wife Marion several years later. The couple raised their seven children here, and like the Nyes they lived here for decades. They were living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and they remained here even as the neighborhood entered a decline in the mid-20th century. Unlike many of the other large houses in the area, it was never converted into a boarding house, nursing home, group home, or similar use. David and Marion Hoar finally sold the house in 1968, but it remained a single-family home, and eight years later it became part of the McKnight District on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it is well-preserved, and like many other historic homes in the neighborhood it is nearly indistinguishable from its appearance in the first photo.

Samuel F. Newell House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 69 Bowdoin Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2017:


As mentioned in the previous post, Nelson and Samuel Newell were brothers who owned the Newell Brothers’ Manufacturing Company. Originally located in Longmeadow, they later moved their factory to a site along the Connecticut River at the end of Howard Street in Springfield. Around 1873, they built matching houses here on adjoining lots on Bowdoin Street, and Samuel lived in this house until his death in 1878 at the age of 56. He and his wife Augusta had five daughters, three of whom were still living here with their mother in the 1880 census.

Augusta Newell would remain in this house for many years, usually living with a variety of family members. By 1900 her daughter Caroline was divorced and was living here with her mother along with two of her own children. A decade later, the house had become more crowded. Caroline was still living here with Augusta, along with her daughter Edith, sisters Mary and Alice, Alice’s husband William, and a servant.

After Augusta’s death in 1915, the house was sold to Robert Ingersoll, whose father James lived in the neighboring house to the left. Robert’s wife Florence was the daughter of Milton Bradley, the founder of the toy company that bears his name. Robert himself was a part of his father-in-law’s company, holding positions such as secretary, vice president, assistant general manager, and assistant treasurer of Milton Bradley. They were still living here by 1930, and that year’s census listed the house as being worth $25,000. This was a considerable amount of money during the Great Depression, equivalent to over $350,000 in 2017.

Like so many other large houses in the McKnight neighborhood, though, the Great Depression saw its transition from a mansion to a group home. It was used as a nursing home for many years, apparently as early as 1940, when the census listed eight lodgers here, all but one of whom were over the age of 65. Over time, the building became a boarding house, and was eventually abandoned. It sat vacant for many years before being heavily damaged by a fire in 2010 and subsequently demolished. The carriage house, which is not visible from this angle, still stands on the property, and the large tree is recognizable in both photos, but otherwise the lot remains vacant.