Martindale Farm, Ware, Massachusetts

The Martindale Farm in Ware (formerly Enfield), Massachusetts, on April 6, 1946. Image courtesy of the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission, Quabbin Reservoir, Photographs of Real Estate Takings collection.

The scene in 2024:

This house, located on Webster Road in the town of Enfield, Massachusetts was built around the year 1800 by Jesse Fobes. Jesse moved to Webster Road in 1796 from Bridgewater, MA into a smaller house just north of this property. Once this home was completed, he would move his family to the much larger farm house. When Enfield became an incorporated town in 1816, Jesse would serve as one of its first Selectmen. Ownership of the farm would be passed onto Jesse’s son, Henry Fobes. Much like his father, Henry would also become a Selectmen of the town. Henry would hold onto ownership of the farm until selling it to Joel and William Martindale in 1870 for $8,000. Included in the sale of the farm was a provision that the Martindale’s would have to house and feed Henry until his death. Considering Henry lived another 15 years until dying at the age of 92 in 1885, it seems like Henry got the better end of the deal.

By the 1880s, the farm had a considerable amount of outbuildings. On the 182 acre property were a large carriage shed, garage, hen house, brooder house, three barns, and an assortment of other smaller chicken coops. Joel Martindale would officially call the farm Maple Terrace, in reference to the three terraces that lead up to the front of the house. A sketch of the farm house with its terraces and some outbuildings was even included in the 1879 book History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. Maple Terrace had become something of a local landmark by this point.

The farm would pass into the hands of Joel’s grandson, Emory Bartlett in 1917. He would drop the Maple Terrace name, and officially incorporate the farm as Martindale Farms Inc. But the glory days of the farm were farm behind at this point. Only a few years later, Emory would sell the farm to Harry Ryther in 1925 as payment for a large debt.

Because of its proximity to the Quabbin Reservoir watershed, the Massachusetts Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission purchased the house and the 182 acres it sat on from Harry Ryther in 1934 for the sum of $11,900. Two Martindale sisters were still living in the farm house when the Water Supply Commission purchased the property.

Martha and Mary Martindale were daughters of Joel Martindale, and both had lived in the house almost their entire lives. This led to debate as to whether or not the home should be torn down. The home appears to be right on the line of the watershed, so some thought the house should stay up and be used as employee housing. Others believed the home was still too close to the reservoir, and should be torn down immediately. An agreement was reached with the Water Supply Commission that allowed the Martindale sisters to live in the home until they either died or moved away. During that time, the home would also be used by Quabbin employees.

Mary Martindale would die in 1952 at the age of 77. Her sister, Martha would decide to move out of the large home into a smaller apartment in Springfield in 1955 so she could be closer to her remaining friends and family. Martha Martindale would be the last private resident to live inside the boundaries of the Quabbin Reservoir land. The home was torn down shortly after, and the landscape allowed to go wild. Building materials from the home were reported as being reused in a future home in the area.

The before photo was taken in 1946, much later than many of the Water Supply Commissions photos of old Quabbin homes. At this point, the reservoir was already fully flooded and the home was now located in the town of Ware, following the disincorporation of Enfield in 1938. Today, the terraces to the home are still clearly visible when you visit the farm. The home’s cellar hole is completely filled in, and much of the yard is overgrown with brambles and vines. The foundations for the outbuildings are easily found out of frame to the right of the photo. Walking down the old driveway leads to the foundations of the barns, as well as some stone walls. The tree to the left of the house in the before photo is almost certainly the same tree on the far left of the current photo. Other old trees can be seen today that would have been very young at the time the home was sold to the Water Supply Commission.

The Martindale Farm is one of the best and most easily accessible spots in Quabbin for history lovers. Located near the end of Webster Road through Gate 53, the old farm is located in a large clearing on the west side of the road. In the summertime, Quabbin rangers will sometimes do history programs at this location and go into greater detail on who the people were that owned this farm.

David Hoyt House, Deerfield, Massachusetts

The David Hoyt House on Old Main Street in Deerfield, on July 24, 1930. Image courtesy of the Boston Public Library; photographed by Leon Abdalian.

The house in 2023:

This house was built in 1803 near the southern end of Deerfield’s Old Main Street. It was originally the home of David Hoyt, and it was subsequently owned by several more generations of the Hoyt family, including his son Horatio Hoyt and grandson Horatio Hoyt Jr.

The house features Federal style architecture, including details such as ornate window casings and pediments above the first floor windows, along with a distinctive front doorway. Although not as large or elaborate as the Federal style homes that were being built in the coastal parts of Massachusetts during this time, the house is nonetheless a good example of this type of architecture here in the Connecticut River Valley.

The top photo was taken in 1930, and very little has changed here in nearly a century since then. Along with many other homes here in the center of Deerfield, it is now owned by Deerfield Academy, but the exterior remains nearly identical to when the top photo was taken. It is one of the many well-preserved historic homes here on Old Main Street, and it is a contributing property in the Deerfield Village Historic District, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Ichabod Tucker House, Salem, Massachusetts

The house at 28 Chestnut Street in Salem, probably around 1890-1910. Image courtesy of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Frank Cousins Glass Plate Negatives Collection.

The house in 2023:

This house was built in 1800 as the home of Ichabod Tucker, a lawyer who served as clerk of courts for Essex County. Its design was typical for houses of this period, featuring three stories that were topped by a hip roof. The front façade was subsequently reconstructed in 1846 with Greek Revival features, which often happened as owners tried to keep up with changing styles and tastes.

Tucker lived here until his death in 1846, and his adopted daughter Nancy inherited the house. She lived here with her husband Thomas Cole, a teacher and microscopist who is not to be confused with the prominent 19th century artist of the same name. Nancy died in 1890 at the age of 95, and the house was later owned by the Willson family before becoming the parsonage for the First Church in Salem.

The first photo was taken around the turn of the 20th century, and very little has changed in this scene since then, aside from paving the street and adding a driveway on the right side. As with the other homes on Chestnut Street, it has remained well-preserved in its 19th century appearance. It is a contributing property in the Chestnut Street District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Nathaniel West & James W. Thompson House, Salem, Massachusetts

The house at 38-40 Chestnut Street in Salem, probably around 1890-1910. Image courtesy of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Frank Cousins Glass Plate Negatives Collection.

The house in 2023:

This double house was built in 1845, and it stands on the north side of Chestnut Street. It consists of two separate homes standing side by side, with 38 Chestnut on the right and 40 Chestnut on the left. It is somewhat newer than most of the other houses on the street, which generally date to the first two decades of the 19th century. As a result, while the house has many of the same Federal-style features of the earlier homes on the street, it also includes a mix of Greek Revival elements.

The original owner of 38 Chestnut was merchant Nathaniel West, although he does not appear to have actually lived here. By the early 1850s, the house was owned by another merchant, Joseph S. Andrews, who also served as mayor of Salem from 1854 to 1856. In the meantime, the house on the left side at 40 Chestnut was originally owned by the Rev. James W. Thompson, who lived here until 1859. It was subsequently the home of merchant John B. Silsbee and his wife Martha.

Both houses would have a number of other owners throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries. The first photo was taken sometime around the turn of the century by Frank Cousins, who used photography to document many historic properties throughout the city. Very little has changed with the appearance of the house in more than a century since the first photo was taken, and it is one of the many historic homes that still line Chestnut Street today.

Medlicott House, Longmeadow, Massachusetts

The house at 720 Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow, on August 10, 1909. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The scene in 2023:

The house in the first photo was built as the home of Calvin and Experience Burt, although the exact date of construction seems unclear. Some sources cite 1786, which would be about two years after their marriage. However, contemporary newspaper accounts indicate that the Longmeadow home of Calvin Burt was “entirely consumed” by an accidental fire in 1814. Assuming this is the same Calvin Burt, that would indicate that the house in the first photo was not the same one that was built in 1786, unless there was enough of the structure of the house that survived and enabled it to be restored.

However, despite this apparent discrepancy in construction dates, the house was definitely the home of the Burt family. Calvin was a merchant, and in 1805 he built a store just a little to the south of here, which still stands on Longmeadow Street. He and Experience had nine children, who were born between 1785 and 1801. The couple would live here for the rest of their lives, until Experience’s death in 1833 and Calvin’ s death in 1848.

The next owner of this house was William G. Medlicott, who purchased it in 1851. Originally from England, Medlicott was the son of a shipping merchant. He became a sailor, but made a rather inadvertent arrival in America as a young man when he was shipwrecked on Long Island. He subsequently shifted his efforts to industry, eventually becoming a woolen manufacturer in Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

William Medlicott was about 35 years old when he purchased this house. He had married his first wife, Marianne Dean, in New York in 1842. However, she evidently died at some point afterwards, because in 1854 he married his second wife, Eliza. The 1855 state census shows William and Eliza living here with four children. The three oldest—Arthur, Mary, and Agnes—were presumably from his first marriage, but the youngest child—three-month-old Bertha—was from his second marriage.

It was during Medlicott’s ownership that he significantly altered the exterior of the appearance, in keeping with changing architectural tastes. This work occurred around the mid-1860s, and included the addition of a front porch, a Mansard roof, and a two-story bay window on the left side of the house. The result was an architectural hybrid that combined the original Federal-style house with newer Italianate and Second Empire features.

Aside from his industrial pursuits, Medlicott was also a rare book collector, specializing in Anglo Saxon and early English literature. He eventually amassed one of the world’s most extensive collections in these fields, with about 20,000 volumes in his library. He made the books available to researchers, many of whom traveled to his home here in Longmeadow to study these works. Medlicott experienced a financial setback in 1876, and he had to sell a large portion of his collection. However, he retained about 13,000 works, and he continued to live here until his death in 1883.

By the time the first photo was taken in 1909, the house was still owned by the Medlicott family. According to the 1910 census there were 12 people living here. These included the homeowner, William B. Medlicott, who was the son of William G. Medlicott. He lived here with his wife Grace and their six children: William, Grace, Arthur, Alexander, Robert, and Harriet. William’s older sisters Bertha and Mary also lived here, as did Irish-born servants Annie Flynn and Julia Devaney.

William B. Medlicott worked as an insurance agent, and in 1917 he moved to Cambridge to accept a position at a Boston-based firm. That same year, he sold his Longmeadow house to Stanford L. Haynes, who lived in a neighboring house directly to the north of here. He owned it until his death in 1921, and his heirs subsequently sold the former Medlicott house, which was then demolished.

A 1921 article in the Springfield Republican reported the concerns that many residents had about the demolition of this house, noting how “[t]his town is in danger of losing some of its identity by the removal of so many old landmarks. The tearing down of the Medlicott house is the cause of much regret, at least to older residents.” Despite this concern, though, the house was demolished, and it was later replaced by a new house that is set further back from the road. The new house was built around 1927, and it is partially visible beyond the trees on the left side of the scene.

Today, more than a century after the Republican suggested that the town might be losing some of its identity, many of the old homes are still standing here on Longmeadow Street. The town has grown significantly since the 1920s, and is now a busy suburb of Springfield, but Longmeadow Street has maintained much of its colonial-era identity, including a number of historic homes that still line the street. These houses are now protected as part of the Longmeadow Historic District, which restricts exterior changes to homes along the Longmeadow Green.

Calvin Cooley House, Longmeadow, Massachusetts

The house at the corner of Longmeadow Street and Cooley Drive in Longmeadow, on June 12, 1910. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The house in 2023:

This house is one of a number of homes in this part of Longmeadow that were once owned by the Cooley family. It was built in 1827 as the home of Calvin Cooley, and it would remain in his family for well over a century afterwards. It still stands today as a good example of Federal-style architecture, and it stands out as one of the few brick homes in Longmeadow from this time period.

Calvin Cooley was born in 1765, so he would have been in his early 60s when he built this house. He and his wife Eunice had eight children, although three of them died young. Their surviving children included their oldest son James, who went on to become a diplomat. In 1826, he was appointed as the first US Chargé d’affaires to Peru. He likely never saw this particular house, though, because he traveled to Peru in 1827 and died there a year later from an illness.

Calvin and Eunice both died in the 1840s, and their son Alford subsequently inherited this house. He had married his wife Caroline in 1833, and they had five children who were born between 1835 and 1847. Alford and Caroline both lived here for the rest of their lives, until their deaths in 1889 and 1886, respectively.

Two of Alford and Caroline’s daughters, Martha and Mary, never married, and they lived here in this house for the rest of their lives. The 1900 census shows them here along with farm laborer Patrick White and domestic servant Lucy Shipley. Patrick was 23 at the time and had come to America from Ireland as a child, and Lucy was a 39-year-old African American woman from North Carolina. Given her age and birthplace, she may have been born into slavery and later moved north for greater opportunities.

By the time the first photo was taken in 1910, the property here was still being operated as a farm. As was the case for 18th and early 19th century farmhouses on Longmeadow Street, it was originally located on a long, narrow lot that extended over a third of a mile to the west, to the top of he bluff overlooking the “meadows” that form the floodplain of the Connecticut River. However, by this point change was underway in Longmeadow. It had long been a rural farming community, but its proximity to the rapidly-growing city of Springfield to the north made it a desirable place for commuters, especially once a trolley line opened along Longmeadow Street. By the early 20th century, many of the old farms had already been subdivided into new streets and house lots, and many more would soon follow.

Martha Cooley died in 1927 at the age of 90, and Mary continued to live here until her death a decade later in 1937, when she was just a few months shy of her 90th birthday. Since neither Martha nor Mary ever married or had children, the family home then went to their grand nephew, Noah Saxton Eveleth, who was the grandson of their sister Caroline.

At some point in the mid-20th century, most of the property here was subdivided, and Cooley Drive was laid out behind the house. However, the old house itself was spared, and the Eveleths continued to live here for many years. Noah died in 1971, but his widow Margaret lived here until her death in 1984. The house was subsequently sold, ending more than 150 years of ownership by the same family.

Today, this house still stands as one of the many historic homes that line Longmeadow Street. And, if anything, it is actually more historically accurate now than it was in 1910, since the metal roof from the first photo has been replaced with slate. Because of its historic and architectural significance, the house is now a contributing property in the Longmeadow Street–North Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.