Simon Sanborn: Master Builder

I was poking around Google Maps and I came across an unusual house on Madison Avenue. Here is a photo:

Sterns mansionSterns mansion

My immediate reaction was that this house did not belong on this street - it was atypical of the surrounding houses, and of a style much older than I would gave expected. So I did some more digging...

I started by looking at the earliest Springfield ward map that I could find, the 1882 version. It showed the property as owned by "Joseph C. Parsons & Others". This proved to be a good starting point. I next searched the Republican archives for the words "Parsons" and "Madison", and came up with this blurb:

A transfer of valuable real estate, which has been expected for some days, was consummated yesterday when Charles L. Goodhue bought the
estate of Joseph C. Parsons, late of Holyoke, and John S. McElwain of Holyoke, the Henry Sterns property on Sterns Hill. The price is not
made public, but it is understood to be not far from $20,000. The price asked was $25,000. Messrs. Parsons and McElwain paid Sophia
Sterns, widow of Henry Sterns, about $42,000 for the estate, in 1871. The property consisted of five acres between Central Street, Madison
Avenue, the Springfield Cemetery, and the homestead of the late Samuel Bowles. The same tract is conveyed to Mr. Goodhue, save the old Sterns
house which, with a lot 75 feet front on Madison avenue and 110 feet deep, was sold several months ago to Mrs. William P. White for a
little over $4,000. The recent owners laid out about $10,000 in moving the brick mansion from the brow of the hill to the rear of the lot,
and in other improvements preparatory to building, at the time when Mr. Parsons contemplated making Springfield his home and having his
sons-in-law, Mr. Meekins and Mr. Taft, occupy the sightly Sterns estate with him.

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