Sunday, March 25, 2007

Map: Springfield, Massachusetts, 1875

These engravings are from the 1875 O. H. Bailey & Co. map, 'View of Springfield, Mass.' The bottom image is a cropped section of the map, which is found in a much larger version at the Library of Congress website, with a zoomable view and a numbered legend of the locations of local establishments of interest.

Wason Manufacturing was originally located on Lyman Street, expanding in the 1870s to state-of-the-art facilities in the Brightwood section of Springfield, pictured above. The plant was one of the most efficient in the country, with the ability to create a complete railway car on location, every part manufactured in-house. Milton Bradley was hired as a draftsman for the world reknowned railway car company when he first came to Springfield in 1856, later moving on to create his own noteworthy business in Springfield, the Milton Bradley Co., lithographers and game manufacturers, in 1860. The first kindergarten in Springfield was established by Milton Bradley. The company's former home on Maple Street is now, fittingly, Milton Bradley school.

Established with a capital stock of $100,000 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature on May 15, 1851, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., now referred to as MassMutual, managed over $450 billion in assets by the end of 2006. The five-story building at 413 Main Street, built in 1866-67, was a step up from the insurance company's first home, Room 8 in the Foot's block, at the corner of State and Main. In 1851, the maximum life insurance benefit per person was $5,000.

Incorporated in 1846, the Agawam National Bank was one of Springfield's earliest financial institutions. The bank's president in 1848 was a member of one of Springfield's most prominent families, Chester W. Chapin. The bank was located on the corner of Main and Lyman Streets.

The Union Block on Main Street was home to one of Springfield's oldest companies, Simons & Kibbe, the candy manufacturer begun in 1843, renamed the Kibbe Brothers & Company in 1864. Jordan Marsh also operated a wholesale and retail grocery store out of the block, and Charles Hall, having moved to Springfield after suffering devastating losses in the Chicago fire, maintained a store next to the grocer's, selling china, silver and decorative items for the home. For those folks in the market for furs, caps or umbrellas, D. H. Brigham & Co.'s clothinghouse was located on the opposite end of the block from Kibbe the confectioners'. In this engraving, the artist misspelled Kibbe, using the variation "Kibby."

A small section of the 1875 bird's eye view of Springfield map created by O. H. Bailey & Co., viewable at the link below or at the beginning of the article. For more maps, modern and historical, check out EWM's, 'Trails, Rails and Roads: Maps.'

Map source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, Map Collections, Digital ID: g3764s.pm003250


Bill Dusty said...

I noticed the Springfield Republican had their building right next to (attached to) the MassMutual one.

That Chapin family - I did a Springfield Cemetary video (that should be up soon), and I *think* I got a shot of the Chapin resting place. I didn't know who it was at the time, tho. I'm fairly dumb on Springfield history. (But that's what we've got *you* for!)

Great images!

Mark T. Alamed said...

I saw that, too, don't ask me why I didn't mention it, too early in the a.m., maybe ;-) Good eye.

Springfield Cemetery is a cool place. When it was designed, cemeteries were looked at as combination resting places/public parks and landscaped accordingly. Roma and I used to take the kids there on outings years ago when we didn't have a car. We had a "little red wagon" we would drag them all over the city in. Kind of a macabre daytrip, looking back on it, but we still love to explore cemeteries.

Looking forward to your video, Bill.

sojourner said...

The bird's eye view map of Springfield link is a lot of fun! Technology is so amazing. Thanks for the link.

Springfield Cemetery is a great place to visit. So many local heroes rest there! The originality of many stones is fascinating! I, too, look forward to the video, Bill.

Bill Dusty said...

You took your *kids* into the cemetary?! Dang.

Yeah, I don't know too much about Springfield's families/buildings and all. That was my first time ever in the cemetary, too. It was pretty darned impressive. I did get the Chapin tomb - although I didn't know who he was when I mentioned it. It's a table-like tombstone, and I'd never actually seen one close up before. (Hey, I don't usually hang out in graveyards - like some people do!)

sojourner said...

As you get to know a little more about local history, you may find yourself visiting the cemetery more often, Bill! Years ago when I lived in Springfield, I walked through Springfield Cemetery on a regular basis. Long before I came along, people actually went to the cemetery for picnics. By the way, if you go back in May, you'll find a lot of flowering trees and shrubs--very beautiful.

There are a zillion Chapins around. Chester H. was a railroad mongul--maybe his is the one you saw. It is undoubtedly an impressive stone.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Yeah. Poor kids...Parents that dragged them around the cemetery ;-)

Funny thing is, they all turned out to be fairly normal. In a way.

Chapin was an impressive guy. He started off as a teamster himself, so he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. This is from 'Springfield Present and Prospective':

"Chester W. Chapin, who once drove an ox team, then drove stages, and soon owned stage lines and a river boat running to Hartford, seized the early railroad opportunities. He was the wealthiest man in Springfield in 1851. He became president of the Connecticut River railroad, and was keen in developing Springfield as a railroad center. His connection with the Boston and Albany railroad was a period of constant progress for that line. He was congressman at one time, was prominent in banking and other corporations in Springfield, being the foremost of local financiers."

The Massasoit house, a hotel near the railroad arch on Main street, was operated by members of the Chapin family for years.

There are a couple of cool monuments in Springfield cemetery that look like tree trunks, from a distance, it is really hard to tell that they are stone. You might have seen them. Those are Roma's favorites.

You're right about the trees and shrubs, Sojourner. It is a very beautiful cemetery when everything fills in.

Bumpersticker spotted on my way to work one morning: "Any day above ground is a good day."