Corner of Longmeadow Street and Emerson Road, Longmeadow, Massachusetts (2)

A wintry scene looking southeast toward the intersection of Longmeadow Street and Emerson Road in Longmeadow, around 1902-1909. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The scene in 2024:

These two photos show the same scene as the ones in the previous post, except these photos here were taken in the winter rather than in the summer. And, rather than being taken from ground level, they are taken from the southeastern bedroom on the second floor of the Josiah Cooley House. The photographer who took the top photo, Paesiello Emerson, lived in this house in the early 20th century with his half siblings Annie and Henry, and this is one of the many photos that he took of Longmeadow during this period.

The top photo is undated, but as explained in the previous post it must have been taken in 1909 or earlier, due to the presence of the house on the far right side of the photo. This house was demolished around 1909, when Springfield-based heating and plumbing contractor George R. Estabrook purchased the property and built a new house on the site. Likewise, the house on the left, which stood at the corner of Bliss Street, was demolished around the late 1920s in order to build St. Mary’s Church.

Today, both the church and the former Estabrook house are still standing, and the latter now serves as the rectory. Although these were built after the top photo was taken, the overall scene is still recognizable from that photo, especially when the landscape is covered with freshly-fallen snow. And, there is at least one noticeable surviving feature from the top photo—the maple tree in the foreground. It is now probably around 150 years old, and it still stands in the front yard of the Josiah Cooley House.

Corner of Longmeadow Street and Emerson Road, Longmeadow, Massachusetts

The view looking southeast toward the intersection of Longmeadow Street and Emerson Road, sometime around 1902-1909. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The scene in 2023:

These two photos were taken from the front yard of the Josiah Cooley House, looking southeast across Longmeadow Street. The top photo was taken by amateur photographer Paesiello Emerson, who lived in the Cooley House, and it is one of the many images that he captured of early 20th century Longmeadow.

The top photo shows a trolley traveling northbound on Longmeadow Street. At the time, trolley tracks ran the length of the street from the Connecticut state line in the south, to the Springfield border on the north. The tracks were operated by the Springfield Street Railway, and this provided direct service from Longmeadow to Springfield. Passengers could also take the trolleys south to Hartford, so this section of track in Longmeadow provided an important link in the interurban trolley system between these two major cities.

The trolley was a sign of changing times here in Longmeadow. Throughout the 19th century, the town had remained a small agricultural community, with very little development aside for the houses that lined either side of Longmeadow Street. However, the arrival of the trolley line meant that people could now live in Longmeadow and easily commute to Springfield, so by the early 20th century many of the old farms were being subdivided into residential streets.

On the other side of Longmeadow Street in the top photo, several old houses are visible through the trees. It’s hard to say whether this was a deliberate juxtaposition on Paesiello Emerson’s part, to show the modern trolley with a backdrop of old farmhouses, but the photo certainly has that effect. These two houses, which once stood on the east side of Longmeadow Street just south of Bliss Road, were likely built at some point in the 18th or early 19th centuries, but both would disappear within the first few decades of the 20th century.

The house further to the right, just beyond the trolley, was the first to go. Its presence in the photo helps to establish the date that it was taken, because the house was demolished by about 1909, when Springfield-based heating and plumbing contractor George R. Estabrook purchased the property and built a new brick house on the site. Further to the left, the house at the corner of Bliss Street was demolished around the late 1920s, in order to build St. Mary’s Church.

Aside from new buildings across the street, this scene would undergo more changes in the years after the top photo was taken. As automobiles became more common in the early 20th century, Longmeadow Street became part of the main north-south route through the Connecticut River Valley. This was made official with the designation of New England Route 2 in 1922, which was later renumbered as U.S. Route 5 with the establishment of the United States Numbered Highway System in 1926. Longmeadow Street was a part of this route, resulting in heavy automobile traffic through the center of a town that, a few decades prior, had been a quiet village on the outskirts of Springfield. This led to concerns about speeding, and after a string of traffic fatalities in 1927 the town decided to install traffic lights at five key intersections, including one here at the corner of Emerson Road.

Today, almost nothing survives from the top photo, but this scene has still managed to retain much of its original scale, even if the buildings themselves are different. St. Mary’s Church still stands at the corner nearly a century after it was built, and next to it is the house that George Estabrook built around 1909. This house was sold to the church in the 1930s, and it now serves as the rectory. However, perhaps the only identifiable thing that survives from the top photo is the maple tree in the foreground on the right side of both photos. It is probably around 150 years old now, and it still stands here in the front yard of the Josiah Cooley House.

Medlicott House, Longmeadow, Massachusetts (2)

The house at 720 Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow, on November 4, 1916. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The scene in 2023:

As explained in more detail in the previous post, this house was evidently built sometime in the early 19th century. It was originally the home of Calvin and Experience Burt, but in 1851 it was purchased by William G. Medlicott, a woolen manufacturer who lived here until his death in 1883. During this time, he made substantial renovations to the house, including adding the porch and Mansard roof, both of which significantly altered the original Federal-stye architecture of the house.

His son, William B. Medlicott, subsequently owned the house and lived here until 1917. It was then demolished around 1921, and a around 1927 a new house was built further back on the lot. That new house is still standing, as seen in the distance on the right side of the first photo, but the only surviving remnant from the first photo is the Brewer- Young Mansion, which is visible on the left side of both photos.


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.

South Parlor, Josiah Cooley House, Longmeadow, Massachusetts (4)

A self portrait of photographer Paesiello Emerson, in the south parlor of his house in Longmeadow, in June 1916. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Paesiello Emerson Collection.

The scene in 2023:

As with the previous post, these two photos show the south parlor of the Josiah Cooley house, a colonial-era home that was built around 1760 on Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow. The subject here in the first photo is Paesiello Emerson, an amateur photographer and retired boot manufacturer who moved here to this house in 1907 to live with his half siblings Annie and Henry Emerson.

Paesiello was originally from Hopkinton, but he later moved to Ashland and Spencer. He was a Civil War veteran, serving in the 5th Massachusetts Battery from 1863 to 1865, and he was wounded in battle in 1864, during the Overland Campaign in Virginia. Although his main occupation was as a boot manufacturer, he took up photography as a hobby around 1902, when he was about 70 years old. He continued this after his move to Longmeadow in 1907, eventually taking hundreds of high-quality photographs of the town during the 1910s and 1920s.

The first photo is a self portrait that Paesiello took here in his home. He was 84 years old at the time, but he was still living a very active life. Aside from his photography, he also enjoyed traveling, and in his later years he made long journeys to places like Bermuda, Panama, and California. He also regularly attended Civil War reunions, including one that he traveled to in Fairhaven, Massachusetts in 1927, when he was 95. The previous year, his family had tried to discourage him from attending that year’s reunion because of his advanced age. So, in 1927 he avoided potential confrontations by slipping out of the house without telling anyone. This prompted several missing person articles in newspapers, which expressed concern about his well-being. He successfully attended the event, and found the articles about himself to be amusing, but it proved to be his last reunion, because he died a few months later.

After Paesiello’s death, his sister Annie inherited his collection of photographs. She was the town’s leading historian of her era, and she had done extensive research on many homes in Longmeadow, including this one. Because of this, she likely recognized the historic value of her brother’s images, which captured scenes from the town during the time period when it was transitioning from a rural farming community into a busy suburb of Springfield. She subsequently donated the images, including the one here in this post, to the Longmeadow Historical Society, and they have since been digitized and made available online.

Annie died in 1941, followed by her brother Henry in 1943, and the house was later sold. At some point in the late 1940s or early 1950s it underwent a restoration, as shown in the second photo. This included reinstalling the original wainscoting here in the south parlor, which had been removed and taken upstairs during an early 19th century renovation. The mid-20th century work also involved moving the doorway further to the left. The door itself was removed, and the doorway was widened to about twice the width of a standard door, creating more of an open floor plan between these two rooms. As a result, one of the windows in the back of the house is partially visible on the left side of the scene. This window appears to be one of the original windows in the house, predating the later 6-over-6 windows that were installed in the front part of the house in the 1820s or 1830s.