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.
The Florence Congregational Church, at 130 Pine Street in Northampton, was constructed starting in 1861. The village of Florence was developing as an industrial area at the time. Before the church was built, residents had to make the Sunday trip to Northampton to attend church services. The Florence Church had its beginnings in 1857 as a fair weather outdoor Sunday school for the First Church of Northampton. The church has a Stick style Parish House designed by William Fenno Pratt.
The William Todd Block, at 153-159 Main Street in Northampton (the building on the left in the image above), is a commercial/apartment building erected in 1870. It was designed by J.M. Miner. It replaced an earlier brick building on the site that was destroyed by fire in July 1870. As related in The Attractions of Northampton (1871), by Charles H. Chandler:
The year 1870 will long be remembered in Northampton on account of the two great fires which occurred, and the consequent impulse given to business by rebuilding. The fire of May 18 destroyed the Edwards Church and the North Block; that of July 19 the Warner House, Todd’s Block, and several smaller edifices. By these two fires the whole business center of the town was threatened, and in fact narrowly escaped destruction. As a result, the Edwards Church has been rebuilt on a new site in a superior manner, and the new Fitch Hotel rears its lofty front where the Warner House stood. Todd, Lee & Co. have erected a fine brick block on the old site of the Edwards Church, and W. H. Todd has rebuilt his block, and most of the other buildings burned have been replaced by better and more substantial structures. Besides, Messrs. Dawson, Fitch and Crafts have built a brick block on the corner of Main street and Strong avenue, and Wright & Co. have entirely remodeled their store, putting on a new front.
Next to the Todd Block, at 147-149 Main Street (the building on the right in the image above), is the Serio Block, built c. 1860. Originally called the Clapp and Johnson Block, it was part of what was known as granite row. The building’s second story was added during a renovation in 1870.
The building at 105-107 Elm Street in Westfield was erected in 1900 as the home of the YMCA. The Westfield YMCA was founded in 1888 (the dates 1888 and 1900 appear on the front of the building). Augustus W. Holton designed the building, which has a ground floor that has been used by many businesses over the years. A gymnasium was added to the building in 1903. The YMCA moved to a new building in 1950. Today the old YMCA is called the Rinnova Building. The first-floor commercial space was later home to Fine’s clothing store and more recently was leased by Westfield State University for a downtown art gallery. It is now home to Westfield on Weekends, which includes Westfield Creative Arts.
In 1868 Clinton K. Lambson purchased the property at 89 Elm Street in Westfield. There may have been a building on the property, built in 1860, or Lambson may have erected a new commercial building, c. 1868. The building would be home to Lambson Furniture Company for over 120 years. Up to the mid-1980s it was run by Rita Devine. As was common of furniture stores at the time, the company also included an undertaking business in its earlier years. The building underwent significant changes in 1924, when a fourth floor was added and the facade was altered: the original brick cornice was removed and the second floor was changed over to plate glass windows.