Corner of Belmont and Sumner Avenues, Springfield, Mass

A commercial building on Belmont Avenue, just north of Sumner Avenue at the “X” in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood, photographed on April 8, 1911. Image courtesy of the Longmeadow Historical Society, Emerson Collection.

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The view in 2016:

When the first photo was taken, this section of the Forest Park neighborhood was still in the process of being developed, and the “X”, the six-way intersection of Sumner Avenue, Belmont Avenue, and Dickinson Street, would soon become its focal point. Completed in 1908, this building was among the first commercial buildings in the area, and it was in an ideal location on the north side of Sumner Avenue, wedged between Belmont Avenue and Dickinson Street. In 1911 its tenants included, from left to right, Drown’s Bakery, Chin Sam Laundry, Joseph Novrack First Class Shoe Repairing, and Joseph E. Hartt Meat Market. Over the years, other similar buildings were added around it, and the original facade has been altered, but it is still standing today.

Sumner Avenue, Springfield Mass

Looking east on Sumner Avenue, Springfield Massachusetts, from near the intersection with present-day Washington Road, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The same view in 2014:


Sumner Avenue is the primary thoroughfare across the southern part of Springfield, passing through the Forest Park neighborhood.  At the time that the first photo was taken, this was a prominent, expensive neighborhood with large, ornate houses, similar to the ones seen on Maple Street and other parts of the city.  However, like many of these other areas, the neighborhood has declined, with most of the wealthy residents moving to Longmeadow or somewhere else outside the city.  Today, most of the houses are still there, though, including the Smith Platt House on the extreme left, and the Lathrop House next to it.