19th Century

The short list of 19th century schools left in Springfield

Someone asked me when schools were built in Springfield, so I decided to consult some prior research that I had compiled. When I looked at the list of Springfield Schools that stood in 1900, I was surprised at just how few of them are still standing. Of the approximately 40 Springfield Public Schools that existed in 1900, just 10 11 remain standing -- 75% of them have been demolished.

Update: Springfield Historical Commissioner Bob McCarroll has told me that I missed a school -- Alden St. School, which was converted into a church. I was confused because the school was built in 1890, but the city had the building present on the site listed as being built in 1910.

Only one school stands from Springfield's first school building boom in the 1860's, only 2 schools from the city's second school building boom in the 1880's stand, only one single-room ungraded school still stands, and only two schools from the 1890's stand largely unmodified.

Here are the ten eleven schools, ordered by year of construction.

Indian Orchard Grammar

Indian Orchard GrammarIndian Orchard Grammar

Built in 1868, this is Springfield's oldest standing school, although it has been significantly modified to the point where it is unrecognizable from its original design. It was renamed Myrtle Street School and the original school had another building built in front of it. Then a second building was built in the front, a twin of the first. The school was later converted into housing, I'm not sure when.

Springfield's bridges across the Connecticut

In response to a question about bridges across the Connecticut River, I thought I'd post the answer as an article.

Memorial and Toll BridgesMemorial and Toll Bridges

The photo is from a postcard, and shows the brief period of time when both the Old Toll Bridge and the Hampden County Memorial Bridge were standing. In a display of Yankee frugality, the Toll Bridge is being dismantled board by board.

St. Joseph's Church: 1874-2008?

News has broken today that St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, situated on the corner of Howard and East Columbus Avenue, has been sold by the Springfield Diocese for $1.2 million to the Colvest Group of Windsor, CT.

Given Colvest's history of developing parcels into CVS and Starbucks, I'm not very optimistic that their plan includes renovating and preserving this church. Odds are that it will be demolished, yet another church steeple gone from the downtown horizon.

Old White Street School

Before the present-day White Street School was built in 1904 across from Stratford Street, there was another White Street School. It was an mixed grade school, and it served the rural population in that area of the city. It was described in the 1900 City Report as having just a single school room -- in other words, it was a little old brick schoolhouse. It had 40 students and was heated only by a wood stove. The first teacher was Carol A. Moseley, in 1872, and in 1875 its teacher was Georgie A. Thayer.

The school operated on White Street, just before its intersection with Sumner Avenue, and served as a school until at least 1900. The building still exists today as the oldest schoolhouse in Springfield -- but for how much longer?

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.

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