Springfield in the 1870's

This blog has been a little quiet lately -- it actually takes more time than I expected to assemble a coherent article on Springfield's history. Plus, I'm a procrastinator.

I've recently been focusing on stereoviews, which were produced between 1850 and 1900, but were most popular in the 1870's. They are among the earliest photographic records of Springfield.

This was an exciting time in the city's history. Springfield nearly doubled in population from 1860 (11,766) to 1870 (26,703). Change was rapid - and it's always more fun to be expanding than contracting or stagnating.

Above is an example of a typical stereoview:

They consist of two nearly identical photos, taken with a slight offset, so that if you use a special viewer, the image will appear somewhat three-dimensional.

I just purchased that card, and its not yet in my possession, but it appears to be the aftermath of a fire in the Mass Mutual block downtown. It doesn't seem to be from any particular series, it was probably made special to capture the unique event.

One great benefit of stereoviews is that, for the most part, a "checklist" is included on the back, listing all cards from the series. As any collector knows, a finite goal is a good thing.

I hope you enjoy exploring the checklists, along with the history behind their subjects, as well as any available images. I have noted the article as a reference article, it will be updated from time to time as my collection grows.

Springfield History laid to waste

Hi Ralph,
Did you see the fire by my house on Elliot st? The Circa 1873 Mc Inniss house burnt badly- seemingly due to neglect or worse. so terribly saddening. I have photos that I would share of same if you like. Still enjoying your postings.

Thom (@ The Alexander House)

Elliott St. Fire

Yes, I saw that fire. The Springfield Historical Commission is in contact with the building department, and the building department is in contact with both the owner and the insurance company. All parties seem to think that the building can be reconstructed. I understand that the roof is still exposed to the weather, though, and I think that until it gets secured properly, the chances of it being saved diminish daily.

1919 Wilbraham Rd

I am wondering if there is any information on 1919 Wilbraham rd in the early 1900s I see by the map it was a school does anyone know the name or any details ??

1919 Wilbraham Road

If you are refering to a school at 1919 Wilbraham Road, that would have been a temporary metal structure (photo available through Republican). That building was erected after the brick school house at the corner of Parker Street and Old Acre Road was condemned as a school. The school at Old Acre Rd was hand built by farmers whose children attended the school. At the current Mary M. Walsh School (formally 16 Acres School) there is a lone red brick on the south landing that was taken from Old Acre Rd school and placed in that wall of the four rooms that were dedicated in 1941.
As far as the school at 1919 Wilbraham Road is concerned, it was torn apart in a hurricane. Students were then sent to Homer and Warner Schools until the first 4 rooms of the current school could be completed. I have a full history that was written to celebrate the 50th birthday of 16 Acres School if anyone is interested. All information was gathered from microfiche of newspaper articles describing the process of getting the original four rooms at 50 Empress Court. Sue Montmeny

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