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.

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.

City Library and Elijah Blake House, 1887

I picked up a neat glass negative of the Springfield City Library. This negative apparently belonged to a former photographer from the Springfield Union, it was taken in 1887, just a few years after the library was built (in 1871). Most other photos I have seen of the library have been closer to end of its life in 1912.

Emmanuel Congregational Church

Emmanuel Congregational Church

This church once stood at the corner of White and Orange Streets. I identified the photo in two ways; first, the sender of this postcard mentioned that she lived at 175 White St., and that the church was across the street. Second, she mentioned that Mr. Means was the preacher, and a check of the 1910 city directory confirms that Mr. Means was the pastor of Emmanuel Congregational Church.

Elliott Street Duplexes

A row of four duplexes -- houses that were a single building, but owned by two separate people -- once stood on Elliot Street. Today, only a single duplex of this era remains and its future is very much uncertain.

Here is a photo from the only wooden duplex of the four on Elliot St. in 1910 (all others were brick). Click the image for more detail.

Mystery School Stereoview

I went to "Papermania" in Hartford this weekend, the biggest ephemera show in the Northeast. It is held every year in the beginning of January.

I picked up a stereoview that I can't identify. It is of a school, and the pencil writing on the back simply says "Springfield Mass School".

Armory Hill Young Men's Christian Association

I picked up a photo on eBay featuring the Armory Hill Young Men's Christian Association. On the reverse of the photo, it is written "1885 - Springfield College held first classes in Armory Hill YMCA".

Armory Hill YMCAArmory Hill YMCA

A new way to identify postcards

I have a lot of postcards in my collection that are probably from Springfield, but remain unidentified. From time to time I stumble across a house by complete luck, but for the most part that is difficult because it is limited to areas I frequently travel.

348 Hancock St. (or "don't trust the city records")

Springfield's GIS system is available online; it is a great way to find out information about various buildings in the city. However, I have come to find that the dates in the system are not always accurate.

I purchased this picture on eBay a couple of months ago, the photographer is listed as W.O. Greene, Springfield Mass.:

348 Hancock St.348 Hancock St.

A little Chicopee/Springfield cross-history

I was scouring old maps today for a Baptist church that might have been on Central Street, and came across this little section of Central:

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