Board of Trade Block (1892)

Board of Tade

The initial structure of the building at 1655 Main Street, today called the Board of Trade Block, was built in 1862 by John Hixon, a manufacturer and wholesaler of boots and shoes. He was later joined in business by William Birnie (1818-1889), who used the block (after his partner’s death) for his Birnie Paper Co., which manufactured envelopes and other paper products. Birnie, who trained as a stonemason, was also involved in bridge and railroad construction. The building was rebuilt after it was damaged by a fire in 1892. The plans were drawn by Jason Perkins, who included the 19-foot wide bay windows on the second and third floors. Over the years the building has housed various offices and social clubs. In 1927 it was joined internally with the buildings on either side.

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Springfield Safe Deposit & Trust Company Building (1933)

Springfield Safe Deposit & Trust Company

The Springfield Safe Deposit and Trust Company was established in 1886. After initially occupying quarters in the ground floor of the Hall Building on Main Street, in 1908 the bank moved to the ground floor of the new Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company building at the corner of State and Main streets. Continuing to prosper even in the midst of the Great Depression, the bank erected its own building at 127 State Street in 1933. Designed by the Boston architectural firm of Thomas M. James Company, the building is considered to be an outstanding example of the Art Deco style. This includes both the exterior and interior details, the latter having survived with only minor changes. The Springfield Safe Deposit & Trust Company later merged with other banks. In 1996, Fleet Bank donated the building to the Community Music School, which owns in today.

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Smith H. Platt House (1893)

182 Sumner Ave., Springfield, Mass

The house at 182 Sumner Avenue in the Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield was built in 1893. It was the home of Smith Harrison Platt (1829-1912), a Methodist minister and doctor whose medical office was in his house. His obituary by W. A. Layton appeared in The Christian Advocate, Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 3 (January 16, 1913):

He was the son of Marshall S. and Tryphena M Platt and was born in New Milford, Conn., on December 14, 1829. A child of Prayer, his parents were Methodists. He was converted at the Stepney camp meeting, on August 30, 1845, licensed to exhort soon afterward and then to preach, December 18, 1847. To be privileged to be the Lord’s accredited messenger for sixty-five years is a favor accorded to but few, and for most of this time to be recognized as one of the ablest preachers of so great a Conference as New York East is to be honored indeed. Thus was our brother blessed.

. . . . .

He was kicked by a horse a few weeks before going to his first charge and was forced to walk with crutch and cane for five years, and with cane alone for sixteen additional years, when the other knee was injured, and with two canes he managed to get about for four additional years. Forced by failing health to abandon the pastorate during his second year, he located and traveled for a time and then entered business, but with improved physical condition he was eager for his chosen life work and reentered the Conference in 1853, having been absent from the pastorate for one year only. For three years he did regular work, but in 1856; he was again obliged to rest, and this was repeated in 1859-62. These, however, were not idle years, as they were spent in writing books, which from many sources brought tokens of helpfulness.

His pastorates were: 1850-51, Cornwall Bridge and Ellsworth; 1852, located; 1853, readmitted, Fairfield; 1854, Olinville Mission; 1855, Greenport; 1856, supernumerary; 1857-58. Brooklyn, Nathan Bangs’s church (New York Avenue); 1859-62, supernumerary; 1-t:3-64, Newtown and Southville; 1865-67, West Winsted; 1868-70, Brooklyn, Fleet Street: 1871-73, Bridgeport, First Church; 1-74-76, Brooklyn, De Kalb Avenue; 1877, Brooklyn, Tabernacle; 1878-80, Ridgefield; 1881-83, Southampton. In 1884 he retired, succumbing to the strain of building the new church at Southampton.

. . . . .

While in De Kalb Avenue, after twenty-five years of trouble with his injured knees, accentuated by rheumatism, causing him for years to sit while preaching, the Lord healed him in answer to prayer.

Dr. Platt did not have the advantages of the schools except for parts of three years at Amenia Seminary, when between sixteen and eighteen years of age, but he was a great reader and a careful student and by private tutoring he kept abreast of his brethren and secured his honorary degree of A.M. from Wesleyan University, while through a correspondence school and such clinical work as he could command, he graduated in medicine, and when, in 1884, he was obliged to permanently retire from the regular pastorate, he devoted his time to the practice of medicine and built up a lucrative practice in Southampton, I. I., and afterward, removing to Waterbury, Conn., he was equally successful.

Knowing of his faith healing, the writer, who succeeded him at Southampton, and who was his pastor there for three years, asked how he reconciled his medical practice with his faith in divine healing. He replied: “The Lord is able to heal either with or without remedies. He employs both methods. When, however, He heals without remedies, in my judgment He either reveals His intent to the individual to be healed or to some second person concerning him.” Thus he consistently believed in faith healing and practiced medicine.

His was a metaphysical mind and his heart was as warm as was his mind intense. His interest in things philosophical and spiritual seemed, if possible, to increase as the result of his pastoral deprivations, and his later years were largely spent in evolving a theological system which he believed when published was to be of incalculable blessing to the Christian world. About a week before he died the writer received a letter from him in which he told of a severe illness from which he had just recovered, and said that he hoped that the Lord had spared him to complete his theological work, which he expected to have ready for the publishers in about twelve months. He was grateful to have been spared, that this work might be accomplished, and gave evidences of devotion to a chosen task which has rarely, if ever, been excelled. He has an opportunity now to prosecute his studies under most favorable auspices.

In 1853 he was married to Miss Catherine H. Bangs, daughter of the late Rev. William H. Bangs, who, throughout his effective ministry, was his companion and helper. To them were born three children [. . . . .] For years he had spent his summers with his daughter in Springfield, Mass., and his winters in North Carolina. He responded to the summons calling him from sickness to health, from the retired to the permanently effective ranks of God’s chosen ones at the home of his sister, Mrs. Flora E. Barnes, Southern Pines, N. C., on October 29, 1912. The funeral services were conducted by the undersigned in Springfield, Mass., on Saturday, November 2, and his body was laid to rest in the Oak Grove Cemetery of Springfield.

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R. L. Nichols House (1893)

202 Sumner Ave., Springfield

The R. L. Nichols House, 202 Sumner Avenue in Springfield, was built in 1893. The following notice appeared in The Horse Review, Vol. XXI, No. 12 (March 20, 1900):

Anyone looking for a free-for-all pacer can be accommodated by R. L. Nichols, 202 Sumner Ave., Springfield, Mass. The mare he will sell has a mark of 2:12%, timed In a race In 2:09%, and she can wipe her record out by some seconds. She is sound and clean, fit to train, and a genuine race mare. Her owner Is In no hurry to sell, and invites the fullest investigation.

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Springfield Street Railway Trolley Barn (1897)

Trolley Barn

At 2273 Main Street and Carew Street in Springfield is a Romanesque-style structure known as the Trolley Barn. Designed by the local architectural firm of Gardner, Pyne & Gardner, it was built in 1897 and served as offices, terminal, garage, and maintenance facility for the Springfield Street Railway Company (formed in 1870). It was once one of several trolley barns along Main Street that serviced the city’s streetcars. Trolleys were eventually overtaken by buses and in 1958 the building was acquired by Peter Pan Bus Lines, which used it as both a bus garage and as a corporate office. Peter Pan later moved to a larger facility. The Trolley Barn was renovated in the early 1980s and then turned over to Coach Builders, Inc., a Peter Pan affiliate that that specialized in rebuilding and refurbishing old buses. A minivan crashed into the corner of the building on January 15, 2015.

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Memorial Square Building (1911)

Memorial Square Building

Located in Springfield‘s Memorial Square neighborhood, near the former Memorial Congregational Church, now St. George Greek Orthodox Church, is the Memorial Square Building at 2291-2295 Main Street. Built in 1911 by the E. J. Pinney Company, the building (now called Memorial Square Apartments) has retail space on the first floor with five stories of apartments.

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E. A. Dexter House (1898)

Dexter House

The E. A. Dexter House at 194 Summer Avenue in Springfield is an example of the Mission Revival/Spanish Colonial Revival style featuring a tile roof and wide overhanging eaves.

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