A virtual Historical Society for Springfield, MA. We will present stories about Springfield's history, advocate for historical preservation, and provide a place for users to contribute their own knowledge of Springfield's past.

Sumner Ave in 1899 with Faith Chapel visible

This is a picture of Sumner Avenue. It is allegedly from 1899, though nothing on the photo positively dates it. (Click on the photo for a larger size)


Allis Mansion at Mercy Hospital

The Allis Mansion 1867
Carew Street, Springfield Ma.

Magnolia Lions Update

For those who remember my original article wondering where the Magnolia Lions went...

I came across an article in the Springfield Republican, April 21, 1957. At this point in time, the Magnolia Lions were no longer in existence, and in fact, people were remembering them with nostalgia, so they likely hadn't been around for a while.

Historical Resource: MACRIS

Lately, I have tended to only write blog entries when I am wowed by something, and lately, nothing has wowed me. But today, I realized that the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS) has digitized its historical inventory files and is making them available to the public.

What wowed me was a photo of the West Union Street school, taken in the 1970's. The building is no longer standing, and I had never seen a photo of it before.

West Union St. SchoolWest Union St. School

Mason Square/Winchester Square/Winchester Park

Mason Square/Winchester Square/Winchester Park

Winchester Square Fire StationWinchester Square Fire Station

Photo added by Ralph Slate

I am doing some research on this venerable piece of land and am trying to figure out when the names were changed. This is what I know.

Springfield's original North Church

North Church (original)North Church (original)

Every now and then I come across photographs which are marked as being from Springfield, but upon further research, they are not. They are either from another state's Springfield, or sometimes are from another town in the region.

I thought that would be the case when I came across this stereoview, marked "North Church", published by Milton Bradley & Co, Springfield. I didn't recognize the church, and to me, "North Church" was the church that sits on the corner of Salem & Elliot Streets. Still, the identification wasn't written in pencil -- it was printed on a label affixed to the card, so I went ahead and bought it, puzzled as to its location.

The short list of 19th century schools left in Springfield

Someone asked me when schools were built in Springfield, so I decided to consult some prior research that I had compiled. When I looked at the list of Springfield Schools that stood in 1900, I was surprised at just how few of them are still standing. Of the approximately 40 Springfield Public Schools that existed in 1900, just 10 11 remain standing -- 75% of them have been demolished.

Update: Springfield Historical Commissioner Bob McCarroll has told me that I missed a school -- Alden St. School, which was converted into a church. I was confused because the school was built in 1890, but the city had the building present on the site listed as being built in 1910.

Only one school stands from Springfield's first school building boom in the 1860's, only 2 schools from the city's second school building boom in the 1880's stand, only one single-room ungraded school still stands, and only two schools from the 1890's stand largely unmodified.

Here are the ten eleven schools, ordered by year of construction.

Indian Orchard Grammar

Indian Orchard GrammarIndian Orchard Grammar

Built in 1868, this is Springfield's oldest standing school, although it has been significantly modified to the point where it is unrecognizable from its original design. It was renamed Myrtle Street School and the original school had another building built in front of it. Then a second building was built in the front, a twin of the first. The school was later converted into housing, I'm not sure when.

Republican archives now online

There is an exciting new development for people interested in researching Springfield and Springfield-area history: The Republican has digitized many of its back issues and is offering them online on a subscription basis.

Historic Preservation and Researching Your Home

Researching Your House

If we live in old houses we often become curious who lived here before, when they lived here and general things about the history of our homes, even early pictures of our houses.

Unknown school photo, circa 1900

I'm posting this photo in the hopes that someone can identify it. It is a school photo, probably from around 1900, most likely from Springfield. What is unusual about this photo is that most of the students are identified on the back -- so maybe you will find your ancestor there. If you do, I can send you a large electronic copy which you can have printed out at a photo printer like CVS or Walgreens.



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