Apollos Marsh House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 276 Union Street, at the corner of School Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2018:

This house was built around 1822, as the home of Apollos Marsh. He was in his late 20s at the time, and he moved in to the house within a few years after his 1819 marriage to Catharine Warner. The house was constructed by Simon Sanborn, a master builder who was responsible for many of Springfield’s early 19th century homes, although the exterior would have looked significantly different than its appearance in these two photos. Marsh would go on to become the first superintendent of Springfield Cemetery, a position that he held from 1841 until his death in 1869, but it seems unclear as to how long he lived here in this house. The 1835 map of Springfield shows that this property was owned by a Charles Ball, and the first Springfield directory, published in 1846, lists Marsh as living on Elm Street.

In the absence of street numbers during the mid-19th century, the subsequent ownership of this house is difficult to trace. However, by 1854 it was the home of Abijah W. Chapin, the city’s postmaster. He lived here with his wife Sarah, although she died in 1857 at the age of 39. The 1860 census shows him living here with his young sons Frederick and Edmund, and it lists the value of his real estate at $4,000, plus another $5,000 for his personal estate, for a combined total equivalent to about $260,000 today.

Chapin was still living here a decade later, and by then he had remarried to his second wife, Elizabeth, and had another child. No longer the postmaster, Chapin was instead an insurance agent in the firm of Chapin & Lee. His net worth had substantially increased during this period, with the 1870 census assessing his real estate at $40,000, and his personal estate at $7,000. Together, this was equivalent to nearly $1 million today. He and Elizabeth had one more child, who was born later in 1870, but within a few years the family would move out of this house and relocate to Deerfield, Massachusetts.

At some point in the 1850s, probably during Chapin’s ownership, this house underwent a major expansion with an addition to the rear. The third floor may have been added during this project as well; the Italianate-style rounded arches on the windows were almost certainly not part of the original 1822 design of the house, but they were fashionable by mid-century when this renovation occurred. The house was further expanded around the 1870s, with a narrow addition on the right side that brought the house almost all the way to the sidewalk on School Street.

By the mid-1870s, this house was owned by George H. Deane, a steam pump manufacturer in the firm of G. H. Deane & Co. The 1880 census shows him living here with his wife Maria, their children Charles and Isabella, Charles’s wife Mary, and two granddaughters, along with two servants. By this point, George had become the city auditor, but Charles was still involved in the family’s steam pump business. The Dean family would continue to live in this house until around 1885, and by the following year Charles was residing at 78 Maple Street, while George was at 18 School Street.

This house was subsequently owned by John A. Murphy, a partner in the stationery firm of Taylor, Nichols & Co. He was living here by the late 1880s, along with his wife Henrietta – who was known as Etta – and their daughter Ritta. He lived here for the rest of his life, until his death in 1915 at the age of 65. During this time, he had a successful career in the paper manufacturing business. Taylor, Nichols & Co. became the Murphy-Souther Company, and then he eventually purchased the entire business, which was renamed the John A. Murphy Company. In addition to this, he served on the city’s board of aldermen from 1889 to 1891, and he was the board’s president in 1891.

Following Murphy’s death, Ritta’s husband, Joseph L. Pitman, succeeded his father-in-law as president of John A. Murphy Company. During the 1920 census, they were living in a nearby house at 43 School Street, along with their daughter Henrietta and Ritta’s mother Etta. However, this house on Union Street remained in the family, and by 1922 they were all living here again. Etta Murphy died in 1934, but the Pitmans were still in this house when the first photo was taken about five years later. Joseph was still in the paper business, but by this point he was the president and treasurer of Colonial Papeteries Inc.

Ritta died in 1950, and Joseph in 1952, but their daughter Henrietta continued to live here for many years while working as a secretary for a patent and trademark law firm. Her husband, David E. Hoxie, died in 1973, and by the end of the decade she was retired. She sold the house in 1980, nearly a century after her grandfather had purchased it, and she moved to Vermont, where she died in 2004.

Today, the exterior of the house is not very different from its appearance when the first photo was taken some 80 years ago. At some point after the first photo was taken, the house was covered in asbestos siding, but this was removed during a 1980s restoration. Along with the other nearby homes, it is now part of the Lower Maple Local Historic District, and, at nearly 200 years old, it stands as one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city.

Albert W. Fulton House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 5 Ridgewood Terrace, at the corner of Union Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

Albert W. Fulton was born in Iowa in 1859, but later moved to Chicago, where he worked as a reporter and commercial editor for the Chicago Tribune. However, he came to Springfield in 1893, and that same year he married his wife, Rena E. Day. Early in their marriage, they lived in a new house on Spruceland Avenue in the Forest Park neighborhood, but around 1909 they moved into this newly-completed, much larger house on Ridgewood Terrace. At the time, Fulton was the treasurer of the Phelps Publishing Company, a Springfield-based firm that published a variety of agricultural-related periodicals, including the New England HomesteadFarm and Home, American Agriculturalist, Orange Judd Farmer, and, perhaps most notably, Good Housekeeping.

Albert and Rena had two daughters, Dorothy and Anna, and they lived here until about 1924, when they moved to a nearby house at 372 Union Street. Albert would eventually go on to become president of Phelps Publishing, and he lived in Springfield until his death in 1938. In the meantime, this house was sold to William S. Warriner, who was living here during the 1930 census, along with his wife Jennie. He was an insurance agent, but he was also involved in politics, having previously served as a city alderman and as a state legislator. Along with this, he was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, where he was badly wounded in Cuba, and he went on to serve for many years in the state militia, eventually attaining the rank of colonel.

The Warriners were still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, but they moved out soon afterward, because by 1940 they were living nearby on Mulberry Street. The house was then sold to Raymond H. Kendrick, an Episcopal priest who was serving as canon of Christ Church Cathedral. He was native of Springfield, and the son of former mayor Edmund P. Kendrick, but after completing his education he served in a number of different churches, including in Albany, New Bedford, Boston, and North Andover, before finally returning to Springfield. After purchasing this house on Ridgewood Terrace, he and his wife Sarah went on to live here for the rest of their lives, until her death in 1956 and his death in 1968.

Nearly 80 years after the first photo was taken, very little has changed with the Ridgewood area. Developed at the turn of the 20th century with a number of upscale homes, this area between Union and Mulberry Streets has retained its original appearance, including here at the corner of Ridgewood Terrace and Union Street. Both this house and the neighboring house to the left at 351 Union are well-preserved, and they are now part of the city’s Ridgewood Local Historic District.

Harry G. Fisk House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 367 Union Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This house was built in 1899, and was part of the Ridgewood development, where a number of upscale homes were built on the former estate of Colonel James M. Thompson at the turn of the 20th century. It was purchased by Harry G. Fisk, who moved in with his newlywed wife Alice after their marriage in 1900. Fisk came from a prominent family of industrialists, including his uncle, George C. Fisk, who was the longtime president of Springfield’s Wason Manufacturing Company, one of the nation’s leading producers of railroad cars. George and his brother Noyes, Harry’s father, also started the Fisk Manufacturing Company, which became a major producer of soap, and Noyes served as the company’s clerk and treasurer.

Harry was born in Springfield in 1873 and graduated from MIT in 1896. Three years later, he and his father Noyes started the Fisk Rubber Company, with Noyes as president and Harry as treasurer. From its factory in Chicopee Falls, the company would go on to become a major producer of tires, and was eventually acquired by Uniroyal. Aside from the tire company, though, Harry was involved in a number of other corporations. He succeeded his uncle as president of the Fisk Manufacturing Company, and he was also a director of several other companies, including Massachusetts Mutual.

He and Alice had four children, one of whom died in infancy, and they lived in this house until 1911, when they purchased a nearby house at 111 Maple Street. Later in the 1910s, the house was sold to Douglas V. Wallace, the son of Forbes & Wallace co-founder Andrew Wallace. He grew up in his father’s house on Maple Street, but after his marriage to Mary Robinson in 1913 the couple moved into this house. Douglas worked for his father’s department store, eventually becoming vice president and treasurer of the company, and he and Mary had two children who grew up here. However, the family moved to Longmeadow in the late 1920s, where Douglas died in 1930 at the age of 44.

By the 1930 census, the house was owned by Chester T. Neal, a patent lawyer who lived here with his wife Julia, their four children, and his mother Minnie. He and Julia were still living here when the first photo was taken at the end of the decade, and they would remain here until at least the mid-1940s. Since then, the exterior of the house has remained well-preserved, as have many of the other surrounding homes in the neighborhood. Because of this, the area now forms the city’s Ridgewood Local Historic District, and encompasses the turn-of-the-century development in between Union and Mulberry Streets.

Charles H. Barrows House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 375 Union Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

This house was built around 1901 for Charles H. Barrows, an attorney who lived here with his wife Jeannie and their daughter Eunice. Born in Springfield in 1853, he graduated from Harvard in 1876 and Harvard Law School two years later. He began his legal practice in the firm of Stearns & Knowlton, where he worked alongside Marcus P. Knowlton, a future chief justice of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. Barrows also went on to work in state government, serving as assistant attorney general from 1881 to 1883, before returning to Springfield and opening his law practice.

Aside from his work as a lawyer, Barrows was also involved in many local organizations, including serving as president of the Springfield YMCA and the president of the board of trustees for the International YMCA Training School, which was later renamed Springfield College. Other roles included president of the home for aged men, the Springfield Improvement Association, as well as the Horace Smith fund. He also wrote several books, including The Personality of Jesus (1906), The Poets and Poetry of Springfield in Massachusetts (1907), and The History of Springfield in Massachusetts for the Young (1909), as well as a few shorter works.

Charles Barrows died in 1918, and Jeannie and Eunice lived in this house until the mid-1920s. By 1930, the house was owned by another lawyer, Clinton E. Bell. Originally from Southampton, he had attended Amherst College, graduating in the same class as future president Calvin Coolidge, and he went on to receive his law degree from Columbia. He practiced law in New York City for a few years, but then returned to Springfield in 1901, where he became a successful lawyer and a prominent citizen.

Clinton Bell and his wife Charlotte were living here during the 1930 census, but he died four years later. Charlotte died in 1938, right around the time that the first photo was taken, and by the following year the house was the home of James and Lola Blunt. James was a vice president at the Springfield-based Monarch Life Insurance Company, but he only lived in this house for a few years before moving to Longmeadow in the early 1940s. At some point afterwards, the house appears to have been covered in asbestos shingles, and a small one-story addition was built on the right side. On the inside, it was converted into four apartments, but overall the exterior still retains much of its original appearance,  and it now forms part of the city’s Ridgewood Local Historic District.

393 Union Street, Springfield, Mass

The house at 393 Union Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

Like the neighboring homes on either side of it, this house is among the oldest surviving buildings in Springfield. It dates back to around 1828, and was part of a small community that formed around the Methodist church, which was located at the corner of Union and Mulberry Streets. The early ownership of this house seems unclear, but by 1861 it was the home of Alexander Chapin, who was working at the U. S. Armory at the time. However, within a few years he was working for S. D. Burbank, “manufacturer of Gold and Silver Spectacles, Eye-glasses, Thimbles, and Solid Gold Rings.” He switched his occupation a few years later, though, because by 1865 he was selling boots and shoes with A. Chapin & Co.

Alexander Chapin died in 1866, but his wife Emily continued living here until her death a decade later. The house remained in the family, though, and during the 1880 census their daughters Frances E. Chapin and Maggie Montague were both living here, as were cousins William and Mary Bush, and Gordon Noble. At the time, Frances was 40 years old and unmarried, while Maggie was five years younger and a widow, having lost her husband William in 1865, just a year after their marriage. The family lived here into the early 1880s, but by 1883 it was the home of John S. Grant, a traveling salesman who lived here until around 1897, when he moved to Connecticut.

Around 1900, the house was sold to Oswin B. Brockett, who lived here with his wife Augusta and their young son Ralph. Originally from Blandford, Massachusetts, Oswin came to Springfield in 1871 when he was in his mid-20s, and became the court messenger for the Hampden County Superior Court.  He went on to hold this position for more than 50 years, and he lived in this house until his death in 1926. Augusta died four years later, but Ralph continued to live here for many more years. During the 1930s, he lived here with his aunt, Maria Knox, and he worked as vault custodian for the Springfield National Bank. They were here when the first photo was taken, and Ralph was apparently having the house repainted at the time, since the photo shows two painters at work on the front porch.

Ralph was single for most of his life, but late in life he married his wife, Alma. They lived here together until his death in 1965, and Alma owned the property until she finally sold it in 1978, ending more than 75 years of ownership by the same family. At some point, probably while Ralph lived here, the exterior was covered in asbestos shingles, replacing the old clapboard from the first photo. However, aside from this the house has retained much of its original appearance, and it still stands as one of three adjacent homes that all date back to the 1820s. All three of these homes, along with others nearby, now form part of Springfield’s Ridgewood Local Historic District.

387 Union Street, Springfield, Mass

The house at 387 Union Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

The house in 2017:

For its first two centuries, Springfield’s development was largely confined to the Main Street corridor in the present-day downtown area. However, as Springfield began a period of rapid growth in the first half of the 19th century, the town began expanding eastward. With this growth came greater diversity in religious denominations, with new churches beginning to appear in a town that had long been dominated by the Congregational church.

One of the first of these new religious groups was the Methodists, who built a church on the upper part of Union Street in 1823, at the corner of Mulberry Street. This part of Springfield was only sparsely settled at the time, and was situated on a hill above the downtown area. However, the Methodists built a small community here, complete with a cemetery that was later absorbed into the much larger Springfield Cemetery. Along with this, they also built houses here, several of which still stand on Union Street nearly 200 years later, including this one.

This house is one of Springfield’s few surviving examples of Federal-style architecture, and according to city records it was built in 1828, which would make it among the oldest buildings in the city. The early history of its owners seems unclear, although an 1851 map shows both this and a neighboring house as being owned by Dennis Cook. A tin manufacturer, Cook appears to have lived in this house, along with his wife Sophronia and their children, George and Lucy. He died in 1853, but later city directories show Sophronia living here into the 1860s.

At some point in the second half of the 19th century, the house was divided into a two-family home, with a variety of people living here over the years. Among them was Robert E. Cooper, a plumber who lived here in the late 1870s with his wife Julia and their sons Henry and George. Robert died in 1878, but the rest of the family was still living here in the 1880s, with George working at the Cheney Bigelow Wire Works while Henry worked at Smith & Wesson. During this same time, the other half of the house was the home of Albert Tomlinson, a dry goods store clerk who lived here with his wife Sarah and their son Henry.

By 1910, the house was owned by Laura I. Mattoon, who rented one half of it to her father, William P. Mattoon. William was the son of William B. Mattoon, the railroad contractor who, among other things, was the namesake of Springfield’s Mattoon Street and the city of Mattoon, Illinois. The younger William was a real estate broker, and he was in his mid-60s when he moved into this house. He went on to live here for about six years, until his death in 1916.

The house appears to have subsequently reverted to a single-family home, because by 1920 it was owned and occupied by Joseph E. Holmes, the treasurer of the Crocker-McElwain Company, a Holyoke-based paper company. He lived here with his wife Pauline and their young daughter Elizabeth, but they had moved out by 1923, and sold the house to attorney Theodore W. Ellis and his wife Gladys.

Theodore and Gladys Ellis were still living here when the first photo was taken in the late 1930s, and they were still here during the 1940 census, although they moved to Longmeadow sometime in the early 1940s. Nearly 80 years later, though, very little has changed with the exterior of this house, aside from the enclosed porches in the back and the missing columns in the front. Overall, the house has been well-maintained, and today it is one of a handful of early 19th century homes along this section of Union Street, all of which date back to the days when Springfield’s Methodists had their meeting house nearby.