130 School Street, Springfield, Mass

The house at 130 School Street, at the corner of Mulberry Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

This lot, at the corner of Mulberry and School Streets, was originally numbered as 60 Mulberry Street, and it was the site of a house since at least the mid-19th century. However, the property was subsequently re-numbered as 130 School Street around 1918, and the house itself does not appear to be the same one that originally stood here. Based on its architecture, it looks like it was probably built sometime in the early 20th century, although it is possible that the old house underwent a major renovation instead of complete demolition and reconstruction.

In any case, by about 1917 this house was being rented by James Gordon Gilkey, pastor of the nearby South Congregational Church. Reverend Gilkey was about 28 years old at the time, and he had just begun what would become a long pastorate at the church, after several years as a teacher and chaplain at Amherst College. The 1920 census shows him living here with his wife Calma, their two young children, and a servant, and the family would remain here until around 1928, when they moved up the street to a house at 127 Mulberry Street.

By 1929, the house was owned by Carrie J. Emory, who was in her late 60s at the time. She was unmarried, and during the 1930 census she lived here alone except for a cook. She was still here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and she continued to live in this house until her death in 1942, at the age of 79. Her funeral was held here at the house, and, as she was a member of South Congregational Church, it was officiated by Reverend Gilkey.

Today, some 80 years after the first photo was taken, the exterior of this house has remained remarkably unchanged, and the only significant differences between these photos are the trees. The house is one of a number of well-preserved homes along Mulberry Street, and it is now part of the city’s Ridgewood Local Historic District.

11 thoughts on “130 School Street, Springfield, Mass”

  1. I lived in this house from 1974 to 1976, at which time I was a reporter for the Springfield Daily News, where inter alia I wrote a number of articles on Springfield history and architecture. It was owned in the 1960’s and 70’s by the Clapp family (Harrison Clapp had been Secretary of Mass Mutual). At my time, just after the death of the elder Clapps, it was in dusty disrepair but filled with art, books, and memorabilia Of the old New England Clapp and Moulton families. The neighborhood had run down and I was chagrined when burglars took my 19 inch b&w TV rather than the Moran and Bricher seascapes in the living room.
    (I ran off from Springfield to join the Foreign Service in 1976 and have finally left the Last Post of Lagos Just this year)

  2. I’m the current owner of this house, I bought the house in 2011. While trying to research the history of the house, I found around 1837 this house was built and there was no School St. at the time, thus it’s number was on Mulberry St. I’ve tried to retain the original character of the house and have painted it with a little nod to Dr. Seuss because it’s on the corner of Mulberry St. The slate roof is extremely difficult to clean, if anyone knows how (without damaging anything) I’d love to get the rusty streaks off that the rounded metal roofs above have left over the years.

      • Part of the foundation is large stones and part is brick, so it’s possible the brick portion was an addition to the original structure, or it may have been “repaired and modified ” over the years.

  3. Hi, My name is Anne Southers and I lived at 130 School Street as a small child and so loved this home.I lived here from 1944 to 1952 and attended School St. School. My mother’s name was Susanne Davidson and owned this home given to her by her parents. I have such happy memories of this beautiful home and know and remember the rooms of this house.

    • Hi Anne, thank you for your info. When you walk into the house you can feel that it has been well loved. I’ve tried to find out who the families were and how many children lived here as the rounded stairway railings and other features give off a vibe of kids running through the house. Thank you again, your comments made me smile !

  4. Hello, I owned and lived in this wonderful home in the early 1980’s after purchasing it from the Clapp sisters who I never met. The first time I saw the house in the winter of 1980, water was pouring out between the exterior clapboards – I later found out that the home had been shown to a prospective buyer and someone turned on the main water supply, but not the heat! The burst water pipes were in all of the bathrooms, the kitchens, pantry and in numerous walls.
    During the time when it was unoccupied by humans, a family of 7 racoons were living in the basement – we relocated them via the SPCA.
    This home was incredibly well built and years later, after becoming a building contractor, I realized just how special the construction was. There was a small fire in the front living room wall in 1982 and to this day I marvel at how well the Springfield Fire Department approached the problem with conscientious removal of sections of the wall and floor.
    While doing wall repairs, I found a pay packet for a worker entitled “Lead Carpenter” and his weekly pay was $40. I can’t remember the year it was from. If I can find this item, I’ll donate it to The Springfield Preservation Trust or another entity that may be interested.

    • Hello Tom,
      I agree with you, this house is incredibly well built which makes it wonderful to live in (cool in the summer, square and level,etc.,) and sometimes a nightmare to work on (metal mesh with 1 1/2′ plaster, bricking at wall bases, etc.,), can’t wait to be done working on it . Sounds like you did your fair share of work here too ! The house had been vacant for 3 years when I bought it, so I also had water pipe issues as all the copper in the basement was missing. And I also had critters in the basement, but mine were only bats.
      Sounds like your memories here had to do with working on it.
      Do you remember how long you lived here or who you sold it to?
      Thank you for sharing your experiences with this wonderful house !

  5. Hello S.R.,
    I lived in the house from May of 1980 through January of 1983. By the way, the fire I mentioned exposed some of those bricks at wall bases as well. I believe these were part of the original building and were meant to act as “fire stops” – they sure worked in my case!
    When I moved in, the fireplace in the room on the right when you enter the front door (Library?) was natural gas with old ceramic logs. Is that still the case?
    I sold the house to Florence A Howes. If you’re interested, you can search the ownership back to 1948 via MA Land records website.

  6. Hi Tom,
    When I moved in, the 2 gas fireplaces (library and dining room) were inoperable as the piping had been ripped out and they were missing the logs. I’ve since had them repaired and replaced the ceramic logs, and the wood burning fireplace has had a bit of work, so all are working now. But I still haven’t been able to burn off that awful smell from new gas logs. It’s funny that the room you mentioned seems to be most peoples favorite room ! I’m partial to the living room with all the windows french doors entrance, fireplace, built-in hutch and french doors out to the porch. Thanks for the info, again. One of these days I’d like to do a chronology of the house and it’s residents since 1837….but when I would get that sort of time, who knows ?


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