The house at 47 Churchill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.
The house in 2017:
Churchill Street was among the first streets to be developed in the Forest Park Heights neighborhood, and nearly all of the homes on the street date back to the 1890s. The one exception is this two-family home, which was built in 1911. As a result, it has a different architectural style than the other houses, most of which are Queen Anne-style homes like the one on the left. Instead, this house has a Colonial Revival-style design, with a rather unusual combination of a stuccoed first floor and shingled second floor.
The house appears to have first been owned by a George Dalton, although he did not live here for very long. By the 1920 census, there were two families renting the house. In one unit was Philip S. Silbert, a flour salesman who lived here with his wife Flora and their infant daughter Eleanor. The other unit was rented by William J. Rayner, the treasurer of Gilbert & Barker Manufacturing Company, a West Springfield-based company that made gasoline pumps. At the time, he was living here with his wife Alice and two children, George and Elizabeth.
By the 1930 census, the property was owned by Morris Kaufman, a clothing salesman who lived here in one of the units and rented out the other one. He and his wife Yettie were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and they lived here with their daughter Lillian and son Jule. By the time the first photo was taken, the house had become much more crowded. Both of the children were married and living here with their spouses, although Lillian died in the fall of 1939 at the age of 31, leaving her husband Louis and their young daughter Bernadine.
After the first photo Jule and his wife Sallee continued living here with his parents, and they raised their two children here. Yettie died in 1953 and Morris in 1965, but the house remained in the Kaufman family for decades, until Sallee’s death in 1998. During this time, very little has changed with the house’s exterior, and in 1982 the property became part of the Forest Park Heights Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.