Monthly Archives: January 2010

St. Michael’s Cathedral, Springfield (1860)

Built in 1860, Saint Michael’s Cathedral, on State Street in Springfield, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. The Cathedral was designed by the prominent church architect, Patrick Keely. The interior has many examples of Keely’s ornate plasterwork. The Cathedral was expanded in 1996 with the addition of a new wing called the Bishop Marshall Center.

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The Thomas Pellet House (1670)

The earliest sections of the Thomas Pellet House, off Monument Square and across from the First Parish Church in Concord, date to 1670. The house has had a number of additions, much of the present structure being completed by early in the eighteenth century. The brick house is notable for its stuccoed facade, intended to imitate stonework and most likely added when Benjamin Barrett owned the house in the 1730s. The house was later the home of Dr. Ezekiel Brown, a surgeon in the Revolutionary War. In the nineteenth century, the house became known as the Deacon Tolman or Old Tolman House, after owner Elisha Tolman, who had a shoe shop next door. Another owner was Thomas Heald, a lawyer and member of the Concord Social Circle. Harriett Lothrop, who wrote the Five Little Peppers stories under the name Margaret Sidney, lived in the famous Wayside in Concord and saved a number of historic houses in town in the later nineteenth century, including the Old Tolman House. In 1909, the Old Concord Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution bought the house, which they furnished and maintained, sometimes renting its rooms. They had a public tea room in the house in the 1910s and in 1929 they built an annex to use as a meeting hall. The house was sold in 1951 and the furniture was auctioned. The exterior of the house has recently been renovated, with colonial era style plank frame windows and restored exterior horsehair and wood lathe stucco plaster.

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First Baptist Church of Weston (1924)

The Baptist Society in Weston was formed in 1784 and the first church building constructed on the north side of South Avenue in 1788. Until 1825, the Baptists were required to pay taxes to support the First Parish Church, although they frequently protested this at town meetings. The original church was replaced by a larger church on Boston Post Road in 1828. This wooden building remained in use until it was replaced by the current First Baptist Church of Weston, constructed on the same site and completed in 1924.

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The Old Pease House (1830)

The Old Pease House in Longmeadow is usually listed in records with a date of 1830, but was actually built much earlier. It’s first owner was Skinner Coomes, who was mentioned by Dr. Frederick Colton in his Address, delivered on October 17, 1883, at the centennial celebration of the incorporation of Longmeadow. According to Dr. Colton:

Glancing over to where the Goss house used to stand, opposite the station, upon the river bank, my heart beats quicker; for I recall how, one April day thirty-six years ago, a little fellow with pockets bulging with base balls and hands clutching tightly his cap lest it be lost, struggled hopelessly in the swollen river, until a brave man of the town periled his own life and saved mine. I would that he, the old parish sexton, Mr. Skinner Coomes, were alive, that he might know how gratefully I still cherish the memory of his heroic deed.

Skinner Coomes’s daughter married a Pease, from whom the house gets its name. At some point, the original first floor was raised up to become the second floor and a new first floor was constructed above.

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