Russell-Osborne Building (1885)

Russell-Osborne Building

The building at 245 High Street in Holyoke was built c. 1885. It was originally owned and designed by architect James A. Clough. By 1888 the building was owned by Gilbert Russell and Archie J. Osborne, who ran a hardware and cutlery shop. By 1891, William W. Porter’s Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke Express, a trucking and teamsters service, operated out of the same shop. As described in the Hardware Dealers’ Magazine (May, 1918):

The firm of G. E. Russell & Co., which has been in business for 35 years in Holyoke. Mass, has changed its name to the Osborne Hardware Co. There is no change in the personnel of the firm. A. J. Osborne, whose name the firm adopts, has been conducting the business since 1907. Mrs. G. E. Russell’s interest purchased by Mr. Osborne.

Archie J. Osborne went with Mr. Russell as clerk to learn the hardware business. Six years later he was taken into the firm. Mr. Russell died in 1907 and since then Mr. Osborne has conducted the business.

Mr. Osborne is one of the charter members of the New England Hardware Dealers’ Association. He was its first vice president and was president in 1914; is also an active member of the Western Massachusetts Hardware Dealers’ Association and was president of that organization also. For thirty years or more Mr. Osborne has been engaged in the hardware trade. He was born in North Hadley, Mass, on Jan. 18, 1862, and attended the schools of that town.

Mr. Osborne is president of the Chamber of Commerce, an organization with which he has been actively connected years. He was vice president for a number of years, when he carried the burden of the association, being always ready to put his shoulder to the wheel in any movement for the betterment of Holyoke. He is also active as a member of the Rotary Club.

The building’s original first floor has been much altered. Just to the left of the Russell-Osborne Building is the Mayberry Building, 249-251 High Street, built c. 1881.

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Rigali Building (1887)

Rigali Building, Holyoke

L. J. Rigali, a dealer in cigars and tobacco, erected the building at 341-346 High Street in Holyoke (on the right in the image above) in 1887. It was designed by George P. B. Alderman. Various businesses have occupied the building over the years. Just to the left of the Rigali building in the picture above is the building at 345-347 High Street, occupied by the YMCA from the late 1880s until 1893 and then occupied by the YWCA until 1910. In the late 1940s the two buildings were taken over by Henry A. Moquin (1919-1976), a dance instructor who restored the structures and had his dance studio on the third floors.

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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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Wollison-Shipton Building (1888)

Wollison-Shipton Building

The Wollison-Shipton Building, at 146-156 North Street in Pittsfield, was constructed of Philadelphia pressed brick, with cast iron detailing and plate glass windows and skylights for each of the four stores on the first floor. The second floor of the building contained the Y.M.C.A. and offices, the third floor more offices and the top floor had a photography gallery. The building‘s architect was H. Neil Wilson and the builder was builder was D.C. Munyan, who constructed a number of notable buildings in town.

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Forbes Library, Northampton (1894)

Forbes Library

Forbes Library

Judge Charles E. Forbes, who wished to build a library for Northampton, left a bequest which funded the construction of the Forbes Library. Opened in 1894, the Richardsonian Romanesque building was designed by architect William Brocklesby of Hartford. The first Librarian (1894-1903) of Forbes was Charles Ammi Cutter, who had created the Cutter Expansive Classification System when he was Librarian at the Boston Athenaeum. The Forbes Library is also home to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum. Read More

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Sears Building (1896)

80 Race Street, Holyoke

Around 1896, Henry G. Sears and Lemuel Sears (not related by blood) constructed the building at 80 Race Street in Holyoke. Henry G. Sears was born at Shelburne Falls in 1853. As related in volume 6 of the Encyclopedia of Massachusetts, Biographical–Genealogical (1916):

In March, 1871, he entered the employ of Lemuel Sears, a merchant of Holyoke, Massachusetts, remaining but a few weeks when he accepted the advice of an uncle, Henry Eldridge, and went West. He located at Dwight, Illinois, and there made an agreement by which in return for his services he was to receive twelve dollars and fifty cents per month the first year, fifteen dollars the second and twenty dollars the third year, in addition to his board. The West did not prove to his liking, and after one month in his new home he returned to Holyoke and again entered the employ of Lemuel Sears, beginning as clerk at a weekly salary of four dollars and board. He remained in that subordinate position until twenty-three years of age, when he was admitted to a partnership in the business then conducted upon a retail basis only. The partnership, begun in 1876, was continued until the death of Lemuel Sears, March 17, 1912, when Henry G. Sears purchased the interest owned by the heirs and became sole proprietor. Soon after 1876 the business was enlarged and as wholesale and retail grocers the firm became well and most favorably known, the enthusiasm, energy and efficiency of the junior partner agreeing well with the matured wisdom and long experience of the senior. After becoming sole proprietor Mr. Sears, in April, 1913, expanded the business by incorporation, as the Henry G. Sears Company, with Henry G. Sears as president and treasurer, and the business of the company has been built up until it is at the present time (1916) the largest in Western Massachusetts.

The grocery store was damaged in a fire in 1921. The building later housed a local beer and wine distributor and is now home to Paper City Studios.

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Former Harvard Public Library (1886)

Harvard Public Library

In 2007, the old Broomfield School in Harvard reopened as the new home of the town’s public library. Harvard’s previous library building is located at 7 Fairbank Street. Built in 1886 and expanded in 1902, the Harvard Public Library was designed by William Channing Whitney (1851-1945), the nephew of Edward Lawrence, who had donated $5,000 for books provided the town constructed a building to house them. A further gift of $5,000 from Hannah W.C. Sawyer provided for purchasing the lot and building the library on the site of an inn that had burned down in 1880. Read More

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