Dennison O. Lombard House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 69-71 Walnut Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2019:

This house was apparently built around 1900 by Dennison O. Lombard, an iron foundry foreman who had previously lived in an earlier house on this lot. Lombard had acquired the property around 1889, after the death of its prior owner, Elisha D. Stocking. He lived there for about a decade before building the current house, which features a Queen Anne-style exterior that was popular for Springfield homes during the late 19th century. The lot also includes a smaller house, visible behind and to the left of the main house. This may have been built at the same time, but it is also possible that it is actually the original house, which could have been moved to the rear of the property when the new one was built.

During the 1900 census, Lombard was 54 years old, and he was living here with four of his children and his father. He was listed as being married at the time, but his wife was evidently not living here. They may have been separated for some time, because Lombard’s name appears in the newspaper archives in 1895, when his wife Nellie sued him for support. The census also shows butcher Alonzo A. Baker living on the property, presumably in the rear house. A year earlier, he had married his wife Ida, and by 1900 he was living here with his wife Ida and her 16-year-old daughter Elsie B. Kennedy. It was the second marriage for both Alonzo and Ida, as they had each been previously divorced, which was unusual for the late 19th century.

Lombard moves out of Springfield by 1903, and he died a year later. By the 1910 census, there were two different families living here, evidently with one in the main house and the other in the rear house. The first family was headed by Mary E. Murphy, a 48-year-old widow who lived here with nine of her ten children. They ranged in age from 7 to 24, and the five oldest were all employed. Alice was a stenographer for an ice company, Edward was a salesman for a baker wagon, Grace did office work for an art company, Samuel was a stenographer for a blank book company, and Ruth did office work for a publishing company.

The other residents on this property in 1910 were Charles and Catherine Wright, who were 48 and 37 years old, respectively. They lived here with five children, ranging from their 16-year-old daughter Grace to their three-year-old son William. The Wrights had a sixth living child who had presumably moved out already, and they also had three other children who had died young. Charles was the only person in the household who was employed, and he worked down the hill from here at Smith & Wesson.

By the early 1910s, this property was sold to Mary C. Gerrard, an Irish immigrant whose husband James had recently died. She lived here for several years until her death in 1915, but the house would remain in Gerrard family for many decades afterward. The 1920 census shows two of her children, Raymond and Catherine, living here, with Raymond working as an assembler at the nearby Armory.

Catherine was still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s. She evidently rented rooms to lodgers, based on classified ads that frequently appeared in the newspaper during the mid-20th century, but during the 1940 census she only had one lodger, 67-year-old Florence Barker. Otherwise, she appears to have lived in the house without any other family members during this time, and she resided here until her death in 1976 at the age of 83.

Today, about 80 years after the first photo was taken, the house does not look significantly different. The buildings on the far left and far right sides of the first photo are now gone, but both the main house and the building in the rear of the property are still standing, with only minor exterior changes such as the removal of the shutters and the replacement of the porch railing.

William B. Walker House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 305 State Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The scene in 2019:

It is difficult to determine exactly when this house was built. There is a building here on this site as early as the 1835 map of Springfield, but it was unlikely to have been this on. Based on its architectural features, the current building probably dates to around the 1880s, with later Tudor Revival-style details added to the front facade around the early 20th century. It has grown in size too, as the wings on the front and rear of the building in the first photo are also not original.

As early as 1870, this property was owned by Timothy M. Walker, a prominent oil and paint merchant. He lived next door to here, in a house that once stood at the corner of State and Spring Streets, but he owned a significant amount of real estate, which was valued at $200,000 in the 1870 census, or over $4 million today. This particular house at 305 State Street was likely built sometime around 1882, when Timothy’s son William B. Walker married Florence L. Jenks and moved into the house.

Along with his father and his brother Edward, William was involved in the family business, which was located on Market Street, on the present-day site of the MassMutual Center. In addition, he served for a term on the city council in 1881, and he was a director of the Chicopee National Bank. Both his father and brother died in the early 20th century, leaving William as the sole owner of the company, until his own death in 1911 at the age of 62. Throughout this time, William and Florence lived here in this house. They had no children, and the only other residents here in this house in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses were two servants.

After William’s death, Florence moved to a house on Maple Street, and this property was sold to the Dickinson-Streeter Company, undertakers who were previously located down the street from here at 190 State Street. Its origins dated back to 1861, with the formation of Pomeroy & Fiske. It was subsequently acquired by Elijah W. Dickinson, with his son Francke W. Dickinson later joining the firm. Then, in 1910 Francke formed a partnership with George W. Streeter, and a year later they purchased the former Walker residence and converted it into their new funeral home.

At the time, it was common for funerals to be held in private homes; for example, William Walker’s funeral was here at his house, officiated by the Reverend Augustus P. Reccord of the Church of the Unity. Dickinson-Streeter recognized the demand for a home-like funeral parlor, and this large house served their purpose well. Although such funeral homes would later become common, they were rare at the time, with a 1911 Springfield Republican article describing it as “a modern mortuary establishment of a style hitherto unknown in this vicinity.”

Dickinson-Streeter aimed to keep the house relatively unaltered on both the interior and exterior, although at some point in the early 20th century the house underwent some changes, including the addition of a one-story wing at the front. The original Queen Anne-style exterior was also altered around the same time, giving the front of the house a Tudor Revival appearance.

In 1919, George Streeter purchased Francke Dickinson’s half of the partnership, and Dickinson died three years later. However, Streeter retained the Dickinson-Streeter name, and he was still running the funeral home when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s. He would ultimately outlive his former business partner by nearly half a century, before his own death in 1968 at the age of 94.

The funeral home remained in business here throughout the 20th century. During this time, the building did see some changes, including an addition on the right side. The gable on the right side of the original house has also changed since the first photo was taken, but overall the building is still easily recognizable from its 1930s appearance. Dickinson-Streeter ultimately closed at some point around 2013, more than a century after its founders had moved here, and the building is now used as offices, as shown in the present-day view.

Hartford Library, Hartford, Vermont

The Hartford  Library on Main Street (now named Maple Street) in Hartford, around 1900. Image from The Old and the New.

The building in 2018:

This Queen Anne-style library building was constructed in 1893, in the center of the village of Hartford. It was built thanks to the efforts of several prominent locals, including Horace and Seraph Pease, who donated a parcel of land adjacent to their home, and Ephraim Morris, a woolen manufacturer who gave $5,000 to construct it.

The library was dedicated on September 16, 1893, in a ceremony that included remarks by former governor and Civil War Medal of Honor recipient Samuel E. Pingree. He was a Hartford resident and one of the founders of the library, and he also served on its board of trustees. His comments were followed by the keynote speaker, Dartmouth College President William Tucker, who spoke on “Uses of a Library.”

Upon completion, the library consisted of a reading room on the first floor, and a lecture room, known as Library Hall, on the second floor. At the time, it had about 2,000 books in its collections, but by the early 20th century it had grown to some 4,000. A total of 4,503 books were checked out from the library in 1908, and during its first 15 years in operation the library served 1,550 different patrons here.

The first photo was taken around this time, but very little has changed here in this scene more than a century later. It remains in use as a public library, with around 17,000 items in its collections today, and it is now one of four libraries in the town of Hartford. The exterior of the building has remained well-preserved throughout this time, and in 1994 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Four years later, it also became a part of the Hartford Village Historic District, which encompasses many of the buildings here in the traditional town center of Hartford.

 

Sunnyacre, Hartford, Vermont

The house at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets (present-day Maple and Elks Streets) in Hartford, around 1900. Image from The Old and the New.

The house in 2018:

This Queen Anne-style house was built in 1884 as the home of Horace Pease, a member of one of the most prominent families in Hartford during the late 19th century. His father, Luther Pease, had owned the original Pease Hotel here in the village for many years, and he was also a merchant who sold hardware, paints, tinware, stoves, and other such items out of his store nearby.

Horace Pease was born in 1844, and over the years he was involved in a number of different business in the area. He was a partner in the manufacturing firm of French, Watson & Co., which produced farming tools such as pitchforks, rakes, shovels, and spades, and he was also the president of the Ottauquechee Woolen Company. In addition, he served variously as town treasurer, town auditor, and a justice of the peace, and he was the secretary and treasurer of the Hartford Water Works, with his wife Seraph serving as president.

Horace and Seraph Pease were married in 1877, and in 1884 they moved into this newly-built house in the center of Hartford. This lot had been the site of an earlier house that was built here in 1801, but when Horace purchased the property he relocated it to Summer Street and constructed his own house here. He and Seraph subsequently lived here for the rest of their lives, until her death in 1929 and his death three years later.

With no surviving children, Horace’s nephew Charles W. Pease inherited the property, and the house remained in the family for a few more years until it was sold in 1938. Then, in 1945 the house was sold to the Hartford Elks Club, and it was used as the club’s lodge for the rest of the 20th century. During this time, it underwent a significant expansion with an addition to the rear of the building, as shown on the far right side of the second photo.

The Elks chapter has since disbanded, but their sign was still standing when the photo was taken in December 2018. Aside from the addition, the exterior of the house has seen other changes over the years. Many of the original Victorian-era details are now gone, along with the shutters, and the house is now covered in siding. Overall, though, it is still an architecturally-significant feature in the center of Hartford, and in 2018 the 11,000-square-foot building was eyed as the new home of the Hartford Historical Society. However, the organization was unable to raise the necessary funds, and the property has since been sold to a church for use as a community center.

Brown Block and Elks Block, Bellows Falls, Vermont

The buildings at the northeast corner of the Square in Bellows Falls, around 1890-1905. Image courtesy of the Rockingham Free Public Library.

The scene in 2018:

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, downtown Bellows Falls suffered a series of devastating fires, many of which were located here at the Square. Many large brick buildings here, including the nearby Hotel Windham and the town hall on the other side of the street, have burned over the years. Ironically, though, the three wood-frame buildings visible in this scene have survived these fires, and they are still standing at the northeast corner of the Square, well over a century after they were built.

On the far left is the corner of a three-story commercial block that was built around 1820 and extensively modified in 1890. By the turn of the 20th century, around the time that the first photo was taken, it was the home of Baldasaro’s Fruit Market. Just to the right of this building is the Exner Block, which is partially visible in this scene at 7-25 Canal Street. Built around the mid-19th century, it originally had two stories as shown in the first photo, but in 1905-1907 it altered and expanded to its current appearance.

The third wood-frame building here is the Brown Block, which occupies most of the left side of these photos. It was built in 1890 at 1-5 Canal Street, and it was originally owned by Amos Brown. It features distinctive Queen Anne-style architecture, which is uncommon for commercial buildings in Bellows Falls, including a turret on the right side of the building.

The Brown Block was heavily damaged by a fire that occurred here in the early morning hours of Christmas 1906. At the time, the building was occupied by a number of commercial tenants, including a fruit store, bakery, lunch room, a boot and shoe store, a cigar shop and restaurant, and a barber shop. In addition, there were several residents living in apartments on the upper floors. The fire gutted the Brown Block, but there was no loss of life, and the building was ultimately repaired.

Just to the right of the Brown Block is the Elks Block, which was built in the late 1880s or 1890s. By the time the first photo was taken it had a variety of tenants, as shown by the assortment of signs on the front of the building. These included a restaurant, a boot and shoe store, a drugstore, and a photographic studio. However, like its neighbor, this building would also be damaged by a fire. It was one of several buildings that burned on March 26, 1912, in the same fire that also destroyed the Hotel Windham. The building was gutted and the roof was destroyed, but it was subsequently rebuilt.

Today, more than a century after the first photo was taken, this scene still looks largely the same. The exterior of the Brown Block is particularly well-preserved, and even the ground-floor storefront has retained its original appearance. The two lower floors of the Elks Block also look the same today, although the ornate cornice at the top of the building is gone, having been replaced after the 1912 fire. The exterior of the third floor was also probably rebuilt after the fire, which would explain why the bricks are a different shade than the lower floors. Aside from the Brown Block and Elks Block, the other two buildings in this scene are also still standing today, and all four properties are now part of the Bellows Falls Downtown Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

James A. Lakin House, Westfield, Mass

The house at 91 Court Street in Westfield, around 1892. Image from Picturesque Hampden (1892).

The house in 2018:

The first photo shows a large Queen Anne-style house that once stood here on the north side of Court Street, near the corner of Chestnut Street. It was constructed at some point in the late 1880s or early 1890s, and it was originally owned by James A. Lakin, a prominent local businessman and politician. Lakin was born in Boston, but came to Westfield after the Civil War and lived here for the rest of his life. He had previously lived in a house at 9 Pearl Street, but he had moved into this new, much larger house by the time the first photo was taken.

Lakin was a jeweler for many years, before becoming involved in a number of other businesses here in Westfield. He was a freemason, and he was involved in several Masonic organizations, including serving as the secretary of the Masonic Fraternal Accident Association of America, and president of the National Masonic Aid Association. In addition, he was the president of both the Woronoco Street Railway Company and the American Casket Hardware Company, and vice president of the Woronoco Savings Bank. Aside from his business interests, Lakin was also involved in state and local politics. He was elected to two terms in the state legislature in 1890 and 1891, and in the mid 1890s he served on the staff of Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge, holding the rank of colonel as an assistant adjutant general.

Lakin died in 1898 at the age of 57, leaving his wife Addie and their four children. The rest of the family evidently moved out of this house shortly after his death, because by the 1900 census they were again living in the house at 9 Pearl Street. In the meantime, this house on Court Street was sold to Thomas M. Hazelton, who lived here until hos own death in 1905. Hazelton’s wife continued to live here for several more years, but around 1909 she sold the property to Frederick L. Parker, an employee of the United States Whip Company.

Parker purchased this house around the same time as his marriage to his wife Mary. They were both about 35 years old at the time, and they spent their honeymoon in Enterprise, Florida and in Cuba, before returning to Westfield and moving into this house during the spring of 1909. Parker subsequently became president of the United States Whip Company in 1912, taking control of what was, at the time, the world’s largest whip manufacturer. By this point, the whip industry – which had formed such a large part of Westfield’s economy – was in decline, with the rise of automobiles eliminating the need for buggy whips. However, the company outlasted most of Westfield’s other whip manufacturers, and Parker remained its president until his death in 1951.

Around 1928, Frederick and Mary Parker drastically altered the appearance of their house, as shown in the present-day photo. The ornate Queen Anne-style details were removed, including the tower and the circular porch, and the exterior was remodeled with a very different French Eclectic-style design. As a result, the house now bears little resemblance to its appearance in the first photo. However, the interior of the house remained largely unchanged after the renovation, and today it still retains its original Victorian-era features.

During the 1930 census, the newly-remodeled house was valued at $50,000, equivalent to nearly $800,000 today, and the Parkers were living here alone except for a servant. A decade later, in the aftermath of the Great Depression, its value had dropped to just $20,000, but by this point the Parkers employed two live-in servants, whom they paid $572 and $780 in yearly salaries. This was fairly typical income for domestic servants of the period, equivalent to about $10,600 and $14,500 today, respectively.

Frederick Parker lived here until his death in 1951, at the age of 77. He left an estate that was valued at more than $1.3 million, or about $13 million today, and in his will he made a number of bequests to local charities. In addition, he left $250 to every employee who had worked at the United States Whip Company within the past two years. He left the bulk of his estate to his widow Mary, but she evidently had a sizable amount of property in her own name. She died a year later in 1952, and her estate was valued at over $7.2 million, more than $70 million today, which was described in the Springfield Union as one of the largest estates ever filed with the county’s registry of probate.

In 1953, the house here on Court Street – which had been valued at $24,000 after Mary’s death – was sold to Frederick’s cousin, Lewis C. Parker, Jr. He had recently become the vice president and treasurer of White Industries, a Westfield-based greeting card and stationery company, and he had previously served as city council president, the same position that his cousin Frederick had once held. He went on to live here until around the early 1970s, and the property has changed hands several more times since then.

Today, this house is still standing here. Although heavily altered from its original appearance, its current design has become historic in its own right, and it is a relatively unusual example of French Eclectic architecture here in Westfield. With these changes, almost nothing remains from the first photo, but perhaps the only exception is the low granite retaining wall along the sidewalk, and the short posts on either side of the driveway. These were evidently added when James A. Lakin built the first house, and they are still here more than 125 years later.

Special thanks to current homeowner Donald Bazzurro for providing the information on the house’s 1928 transformation.