Old Methodist Church, Westfield (1843)

Former Methodist Church in Westfield

The building at 24-26 Elm Street in Westfield was erected as a Methodist Church (the congregation‘s second church building) in 1843. Commercial businesses were located on the ground floor of the building with the church above, a not unusual practice for urban churches of the time. When a new Methodist Church was completed on Court Street in 1875, the Elm Street building became exclusively commercial and the post office moved into the basement. The cupola, roof and third story were razed in the 1940s.

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Crocker Mill (1870)

Crocker Mill, Holyoke

I took the picture above in 2012 of a factory building in Holyoke which was demolished in 2013-2014. What became known as the Crocker Mill in Holyoke was built by the Hampden Paper Company in 1870 at 14 Water Street, between the Third Level Canal and the Connecticut River, to replace an earlier wooden mill building erected in 1864. The Crocker Manufacturing Company, which produced high quality colored and ornamental papers, was organized in 1871 and acquired the building. The company was sold to the American Writing Paper Company in 1899. The mill was acquired by Brown Paper Company in 1963.

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Old Post Office, Westfield (1912)

Former Westfield Post Office

The building at 2 Broad Street in Westfield served as Westfield’s Post Office from 1912 until 1975, when a new building was constructed on the corner of West Silver and Broad Streets. Today the old Post Office is home to Tavern Restaurant.

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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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Westfield Atheneum (1927)

Westfield Atheneum

At 6 Elm Street in Westfield is the Westfield Atheneum, a library originally incorporated in 1864. Funding for the first Atheneum building, located at 26 Main Street, was provided by Hiram H. Harrison, president of the American Whip Company, with additional funds for the purchase of books being raised by private subscription. The Atheneum later received the donation of a circulating book collection that was first used by the Westfield Social Library, begun in 1830. The Westfield Atheneum opened to the public on January 1, 1868. Originally requiring a $2.00 annual fee, in 1895 the Atheneum became a free library. In 1898, Westfield Academy donated another building to the Atheneum, the Fowler-Gillett Homestead (built c. 1828 by James Fowler) at the corner of Court and Elm Streets. It was remodeled for library use and opened in 1899. The current main Atheneum building, designed by Coolidge and Carlson, was erected in 1927 and the Fowler-Gillett Homestead became the Boys and Girls Library. A new wing and extension connecting to the Boys and Girls Library, which doubled the floor space of the Atheneum, were dedicated in 1966. The Atheneum building also contains the Jasper Rand Art Museum and the Edwin Smith Historical Museum.

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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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