Sunday, March 15, 2009

Postcards: Court Street, Westfield, Massachusetts

Here are a few postcards from Westfield's Court Street at the turn of the twentieth century from the Barbara Shaffer collection. Thanks for sharing with us Barbara!

When this postcard was mailed from Westfield to South Deerfield on November 12, 1921, the Westfield State Normal School building at 59 Court Street was just months away from its thirtieth anniversary of stony silent service in the advancement of education. Dedicated on June 21, 1892, the following autumn brought eager students across new thresholds as regular classes commenced in the fresh facilities. The building - erected at a cost of $150,000 - was constructed in response to a burgeoning student body that had stretched the walls of the former school building on the corner of Washington and School Streets. In 1956, the school quit the Court Street building for a new campus on Western Avenue, turning the structure over to the City of Westfield (which still utilizes the monolith as municipal offices) for the grand sum of one dollar. The multi-medium, Romanesque edifice achieved architectural rock'n'roll star status on March 8, 1978, when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the first building in Westfield to gain that distinction.

The Westfield State Normal School dormitory of Dickinson Hall on the Court Street campus was a mere five years old - new by most folks' standards- when this postcard was stamped on September 20, 1908. The sender is obviously pleased with her accommodations and, better yet, is expecting a friend to join her on her adventure. "N. E. W." writes to Marietta in North Adams (c/o North Adams Normal School): "I have marked our room. Don't you think it is a beauty. Was glad you may be sure to get your postal." Ah, the wistful stirrings dusted up by ink dried long a year; a century and life passed for good and bad as sure as the sun rose this morn'.

At the time this postcard was dropped in the mail on its way from Westfield to Belleville, New York on November 4, 1910, the house in the foreground, 81 Court Street, was in the middle of its second decade of occupation. Built in 1894 at a cost of $5,000, the home's original owner was William Lyman. This view of Upper Court Street is very much the same today, the homes retaining their elegance and charm assisted by the loving touch of a new generation, descendant at the dawn of another century's turn. History lives.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

For more Westfield postcards, check out the previous EWM posts:

'Postcards: Westfield, Massachusetts; July 22, 2007'

'Postcards: The Green, Westfield, Massachusetts; August 31, 2007'

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