Of all the houses that have disappeared from Springfield, I am strangely drawn to the Elizabethan style house that once stood at 120 Sumner Ave.
I have four separate turn-of-the-century images of this house, the most I have seen of a single residential property other than the Wesson mansion or the Barney House. (And to think, I can't find a single early photo of my own house!)
This drawing is from American Architect and Building News, March 20, 1897:
This photo is from a book titled "Picturesque Views Along the Lines of the Springfield Street Railway", published in 1899. Note the Magnolia Lion at the right.
This photo is from Scientific American Building Edition, November 1899.
This photo is from a real photo postcard, probably from the 1910 era:
Since the house survived past 1939, a WPA photo also exists at the Springfield Building Department, but I don't have easy access to those photos.
The architect of the house was G. Wood Taylor, and it was designed for the Mutual Investment Company, operated by the McKnight brothers. The Scientific American article says that the house was built for Dr. Francis M. Bennitt, and the 1900 City Directory lists him as a physician with an office at 137 ½ Main St.
By 1910, a garage had been added to the house, evident on the 1910 City Map. This seems visible in the last photo posted. Bennitt still lived in the house. He lived there until at least 1913.
In 1917, a man named James Eden lived in the house. He was listed as the treasurer of the Perkins Appliance Company at 4 Birnie Ave. In 1920 he was listed with an occupation of "special machinery", operating from 387 Main St. (#410), a general office building.
In 1923 a man named Allis Freedman lived in the house. He was the president-treasurer of Allison Realty & Mortgage Company, at 1983 Main St. In a 1943-44 publication of Jewish organizations, Freedman was also listed as the president of Matzoh Fund, situated at 267 Chestnut St. In 1946 the house was occupied by Freedman's widow.
In 1948 the house was occupied by Naphtall Frishberg. He was the rabbi at the Congregation Beth El, which was at 148 Fort Pleasant Ave. a tudor house now owned by the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
In 1951 a man named Eliezer Levi lived in the house. He was the rabbi at the Congregation Beth El. He lived there until at least 1953.
In 1956 a man named William Ball lived in the house.
From 1958 to 1959 the building is listed as vacant. In 1963 Kodimoh Temple is listed at that address. The building was obviously torn down sometime around 1960, and the temple was built in its place. I'm guessing that the house and land had been left to the Beth El Congregation, and that they conveyed it to Congregation Kodimoh, who moved from their original location on Oakland St. (site of the current Congregation Kesser Israel).
Does anyone have any more information to contribute to this?