Allis Mansion at Mercy Hospital

The Allis Mansion 1867
Carew Street, Springfield Ma.

Haitsill Hastings Allis was born in 1825 and died in 1901. In 1849 he started the Hastings Allis & Company Brick Works which he renamed the Hampden Brick Works in 1852. He built a large number of buildings to include much of Franklin Street and Congress Street as well as the Allis Hotel. He was on the Common Council in 1866. Some reports say he was part of the founding of the Springfield Street Railway, the memorial Church, and the Fire and Marine Insurance Company, but the records of these companies do not mention him.

In 1867, Mr. Allis had a young architect by the name of Eugene C. Gardner design a very impressive Second French Empire mansion for him in front of his brick works on Carew Street. With polychromatic brick work, a large central tower, imposing bays and decorative iron work on the roof, this indeed was a bold statement of Mr. Allis’ status and wealth in the community. Mr. Gardner went on to become a very prominent architect in Springfield and designed the Trolley Barn on Carew and Main as well as the Worthy Hotel. He and his son designed many of Springfield’s schools.

In 1896, the Catholic Church purchased the Allis mansion for $26,000. and Bishop Bevin lived there for about two years. In 1898, the Sisters of Providence took over the mansion and opened it as the House of Mercy, one in their series of hospitals around the country.

The opening of the hospital coincided with the huge influx of returning wounded and sick soldiers from Cuba who suffered from yellow fever and wounds as a result of the Spanish American War. Mercy was a much sought out hospital for treatment and their 35 beds were inadequate and patients were put on the porches and throughout the building. In 1899, an addition was built to the right of the Mansion. It was torn down in 1974. Interesting note that the monument honoring the Spanish American War is located just down the road at Memorial Square.

The Maternity Hospital to the west of the Allis Mansion was built in 1907. Thousands of Springfield residents can claim it as their first “home”.

On December 17, 2012 the Sisters of Providence Health Systems applied for a permit to demolish the Allis Mansion and announced they intended to demolish the Maternity Hospital and two other older buildings in order to provide parking for a new 20 million dollar office complex. The said that the deteriorating condition of the buildings was a major factor (lack of maintenance leads to deterioration) and the need for parking.

The properties were surveyed by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in 2001 and they indicated that the complex of old buildings were eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a small Historic District. An official nomination appears not to have been made. Unfortunately National Register Status does not prevent private entities from demolishing buildings.

The shame of this demolition is that one of the finest and last of the great Second French Empire Mansions in the City is to be demolished. This house is part of the heritage of Springfield and even more ironic, the heritage of Mercy Hospital which apparently is not concerned with such things.
Any further history or additions to this are appreciated. Providence Health Systems says it is hiring a historic consultant to advise them on how to “preserve the history of the buildings” Seems not demolishing them would be a good start. Let Mercy know how you feel about this.
Any additions/corrections welcome.

Allis Mansion

Thanks for a thorough and informative piece, Jim. There's certainly nothing I can add to it. I am sorry to learn of the potential demolition and hope it can, indeed, be saved.

Allis Mansion demolition

I just signed the Preservation Trust's petition on and wondered if there was some background info on the building - thanks for posting this, Jim!

allis mansion demolition

I think the above history gives the background of the building. Any other questions let me know.
thanks for looking.

Allis Mansion Demolition

It's a damn shame that an important piece of Springfield's historical beauty destroyed. I find it odd that this piece of the past in poor condition. You would think maintenance a very important part of the health industry.
I guess Mercy will sacrifice its important unique piece of Springfield/ Mercy history to compete with Baystate Medical Center.

allis mansion

Oh how i am wishing I could win a big lottery. I would purchase the building, and renovate the whole inside. The fireplace on the first floor was so awesome. I would live on the first floor and rent out rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors to low income persons. This beautiful building deserves to be saved and preserved and totally renovated. What a shame it would be to just tear down this beautiful piece of history.

allis mansion demolition

It must be reported that the Allis Mansion was destroyed in the early morning of July 2 and Springfield has suffered another loss of its Architectural heritage. Below is letter to the Editor in response to the demolition. Pictures available at or on facebook springfield preservation trust. What is is interesting was the rush to demolish. the demolition of the Maternity Hospital had been started, but they stopped and moved next door to take down the Allis Mansion. It had been announced mid day Friday that there would be a demo, and it was done by 10:30 on Monday morning. Is is questionable if they even tried to salvage any of the beautiful woodwork/staircase/marble fireplaces and first owners initials over the front door. We will see.

Letter to Editor: Springfield Republican

It is terribly sad to see the magnificent Allis Mansion on the campus of Mercy Medical Center torn down. It is of such historic significance to the city and the hospital and all the people who have supported Mercy over the years.

But the demolition, which took place last week really started 20 years ago, when the Allis Mansion began to be neglected and maintenance was stopped by Mercy Medical Center.

This is called “demolition by neglect.” Was the Allis Mansion in bad shape? Yes. But was it structurally sound? Yes. And could it have been mothballed until a viable alternative was found? Yes. Would it have still been a viable building today if it had been maintained? Yes. Are there many other equally old buildings in Springfield that have been maintained and are still standing? Yes.

The city and the public needs to take a more active role in designating historic districts so that this type of thing can’t happen again. When people understand they cannot willfully tear down historic buildings, they tend to take better care of them. To tear down something just because it’s “in bad shape” when you let it get in bad shape in the first place, is wrong.

I think the destruction of this historically significant building should wake up the good citizens of Springfield so that we do not have to face another tragedy like this one. The rapidly dwindling stock of historic properties is one of the few things that make Springfield unique. Drive by Mercy Medical Center and the Allis Mansion and mourn. Then resolve to not let it happen again by standing up and letting your City Councilors know that the few remaining landmark historic buildings need to be identified and protected. Only then will the demolition of the Allis Mansion have stood for something.

Springfield Preservation Trust

I know the Maternity Hospital

I know the Maternity Hospital to the west of the Allis Mansion was built in 1907. And I also know how it contributed to the general health.

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Park Commissioners Report Springfield Ma 1895

Found this book recently and was wondering what to do with it. Any suggestions? Thanks.

I just signed the

I just signed the Preservation Trust's petition on and wondered if there was some background info on the building - thanks for posting this, Jim

Allis Mansion

Thanks for signing the petition, but sad to say the mansion was destroyed in July. The good news is that due to the public upset with the Demolition, the Springfield Historical Commission and the Springfield Preservation Trust, were finally able to get a Demolition Delay Ordinance passed by City Council. This will protect buildings that are not in Historic Districts (they are already protected) for an additional 90 days from the time a demolition permit is requested.

Thank you for your support. It takes us all working together to protect our heritage and built environment.

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