Capt. John Bancroft House (1755)

Capt. John Bancroft House

John Bancroft, who was a captain in the French and Indian War, built the brick house that still stands at 530 Pochassic Street in Westfield. Rev. John H. Lockwood, in his Westfield and Its Historic Influences (1922), writes of

Capt. John Bancroft who, in 1755, built in Pochassic what was probably the second brick house in the present Hampden County, the old Day house in West Springfield dating from 1754. The Bancroft house was by far the more massive and pretentious of the two and is still a notable mansion. Captain John, its builder, was a prosperous farmer, owning slaves, like a few of his fellow townsmen of the time. He was very proud of his elegant mansion. A tale, which may be pure romance founded on his well known characteristics, has come down to our time, somewhat as follows: He was wont to sit within his commodious domicile and watch for passers by in order to gloat over their envious glances. One day, while thus engaged, he called out to one on the road, “Did you think that you had reached paradise?” Quickly came the stunning response, “Yes! I did think so, until I saw the devil looking out of the window.” Sic transit gloria mundi!

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Capt. Bancroft’s name was published on a list of those considered “enemies of their country” and the Committee of Correspondence and Safety confined him within the limits of his farm. He regained some of his status after the War, but research long after his death revealed that he had been selling secrets to the British throughout the Revolution.

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Dwight Kellogg House (1825)

Kellogg House

The house at 14 Franklin Street in Westfield was built in 1825 for Wareham Sackett by Ephraim Crary. It passed to Sackett’s daughter, Henrietta, who married Capt. George Whipple. Their daughter, Julia, married Dwight Kellogg, for whose name the house was afterward known. The house is now used for offices and is in a commercial area.

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George H. Perry House (1873)

214 Maple St., Holyoke

The building at 214 Maple Street in Holyoke was built around 1873 and was part of a block belonging to the Whiting Paper Company. By 1887 it was the residence of George H. Perry, a foreman of Parsons Paper Company. Alden Press purchased the building in 1917 and built a rear addition. As noted in The American Printer of April 5, 1917:

Alden Press Moves and Enlarges

The Alden Press of Holyoke, of which Edward S. Alden is president, has purchased the three-story building at 214 Maple Street. The firm took possession of the building some months ago and has spent a large sum in equipping it as a first-class printing plant. The Artisan, a labor weekly, is published here and there is a job department also. Among new equipment have been added a rotary press, monotype machine and two job presses.

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Salisbury Mansion (1772)

Salisbury Mansion

The Salisbury Mansion in Worcester was built in 1772 by merchant Stephen Salisbury to serve as both a residence and a store. The latter, where Salisbury sold imported goods, was closed down and converted to residential use in 1820. After Salisbury’s widow, Elizabeth Tuckerman Salisbury, died in 1851 the house was used as a rental property. In later years the house served as the Hancock Club, a gentleman’s social club. The mansion was originally located at Lincoln Square, which by the early twentieth century had become an industrialized area. In 1929 the mansion was willed to the American Antiquarian Society, which three years later transferred ownership to Worcester Art Museum. The house was moved to its current address at 40 Highland Street to make way for the Lincoln Square Boys Club. The Museum sold the mansion in 1950 to the Worcester Employment Society for use as a craft center. When that group later sought to tear down the building, concerned citizens formed the Salisbury Mansion Associates in 1955 and three years later purchased it. After sharing use of the mansion with the Worcester Girl Scouts Council for many years, the Associates restored the house, which in 1984 opened as Worcester’s first historic house museum. The following year the Associates merged with the Worcester Historical Museum, which now operates the historic site.

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Frederick Harris House (1905)

Harris House

The house at 270 Maple Street in Springfield reached its current form in 1905, although parts of it may date back to 1879. It was the home of Springfield banker Frederick Harris (1852-1926), who succeeded his father, Frederick H. Harris, as president of the Third National Bank of Springfield in 1911. He married Emily Osborne, sister of Helen Osborne Storrow, the philanthropist who founded Storrowton Village at the Big E. A school in Springfield is named for Frederick Harris.

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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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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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