Past Tours

For upcoming tours Click Here to visit our events calendar.

 

Tours are both successful fundraisers and a successful advocacy tool, SPT tours are one of the most visible events of the SPT year. Historic assets of the city are showcased when generous homeowners open their homes and help to bring a better appreciation and education to the public. The Trust holds a tour in the Spring and Autumn and occasionally will also hold a holiday tour. Tours have been held in Forest Park, McKnight, Atwater Park, Ridgewood Historic District, Mattoon Street, & Maple Street.

The Trust is always looking for homes for the tours. If you are interested in having your home on a tour contact us at info@springfieldpreservation.org

 

PAST TOURS

_DSC6931Forest Park Heights – June 2015

The SPT Spring House Tour featured homes in Forest Park Heights. The tour was held in the area north of Sumner Avenue, which was developed in the early twentieth century by the McKnight family.

Featured were Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival style homes on Riverview Terrace, an American Foursquare style home on Mountainview Streeet, and English Cottage style homes on Randolph and Oxford Streets.

generously sponsored by

_DSC4387Voices from the Grave Cemetery Tour – October 2014

Groups led by docents visited six graves of interesting nineteenth century Springfield residents where costumed interpreters spoke about that person. Hour-long walking tours departed every fifteen minutes starting at 3:00PM from the former chapel at Oak Grove Cemetery, 426 Bay Street.

generously sponsored by

Untitled-2Sampler House Tour – June 2014

This Spring House Tour featured distinct homes in four different historic districts of Springfield. Lovely homes in the Forest Park, McKnight, Lower Maple, and Mattoon Street historic districts opened their doors. Starting May 23rd, tickets will be available at Flowers, Flowers, 758 Sumner Avenue, The Flowers Box at 596 Carew Street, or by purchasing them online below. Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour from 12:45 to 2:30 on Thompson Street near Worthington Street in McKnight.

generously sponsored by

Voices from the Grave Cemetery Tour – October 2013

Groups led by SPT docents visited six graves of nineteenth century Springfield residents, including philanthropist Primus Mason, chain store pioneer Lyman Besse, and other interesting residents of Springfield’s past. Costumed interpreters spoke at each stop about that person. Hour-long walking tours departed every fifteen minutes from the former chapel and seasonal refreshments where served.

90-acre Oak Grove Cemetery was opened for burials in 1882. The Springfield architectural firm of Richmond & Seabury designed the brownstone entrance arch and Romanesque hillside chapel, behind which bodies were stored in winter to await the thaw for burial.

Voices from the Grave Cemetery Tour generously sponsored by
DABOUL FAMILY CHARITABLE TRUST

 

Carriage House Tour – May 2013

Few accessory buildings such as carriage houses survive in the city. Once they were no longer needed, they were replaced or allowed to fall into ruin. This tour highlighted how some of them continue to function in a variety of uses. Featured were a carriage house now an apartment on Bowdoin Street, one now offices on Temple Street, one now a house on Crescent Hill, one with its original stables on Bellevue Avenue, and one now an apartment on Longhill Street. Additionally, a renovated Victorian home on Temple Street was open.

 

Mattoon & Elliot Homes Tour – September 2012

in Partnership with the Mattoon Association

In the 1860s, the east side of Chestnut Street was lined with large estates. In 1870, William Mattoon, a wholesale grain dealer, purchased one to open a new street through the property and began selling lots. Over the next twenty years, local builders constructed attached brick houses, making Mattoon Street one of the few streets in Western Massachusetts lined with such urban structures. Forty years ago, the Springfield City Council and Mayor Frank Freeman established the first local historic district in Springfield to protect this unique area.

SPT and the Mattoon Association are both marked their 40th anniversary. They are volunteer, private, nonprofit organizations. SPT works to preserve Springfield’s built environment. The Association works to maintain its neighborhood and sponsors the annual Arts Festival.

East Forest Park – May 2012

This tour breaks new ground for SPT by featuring homes developed after World War II. Little construction had occurred during the Great Depression and the war leading to a building boom being in 1945 to meet the pent up demand for housing. Wide spread automobile ownership opened areas not previously accessible by bus and streetcar. Garages changed from being detached structures in the back yard to being attached to the house. Lots grew wider to accommodate the garages and houses became less compact since walking to public transit was no longer required. Expansive front porches disappeared in favor of private patios in back yards. Homes from the late 1940s and early 1950s include one-story Ranches-a style imported from California–and one and a half story Executive Capes-adapted from our own New England tradition. In Springfield, these homes often were decorated with Colonial Revival features.

McKnight Twilight Tour – October 2011

The tour will open six grand Victorian era homes dating from the 1880s and 1890s on Worthington Street, Florida Street, Ingersoll Grove, Clarendon Street and Dartmouth Terrace–all within easy walking distance. McKnight is the largest, most intact, late-nineteenth century, wood-frame neighborhood in New England. Among its more than 800 houses are some of the most elegant homes in the Pioneer Valley. Join SPT to tour some of these lovely homes at this magical time of day and season.

The McKnight Twilight Tour generously sponsored by

 

Atwater Park – May 2011

The 2011 Spring House Tour in Atwater Park featured five homes in the area of Atwater Terrace and Springfield Street.Much of the Atwater neighborhood was developed from the 300-acre estate of George Atwater, founder of the Springfield Street Railway. Ten years after his death in 1902, the Atwater heirs hired the Boston firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to create a plan for a pleasant residential area.Chestnut Street Home

Several noted local architects were involved in designing houses. Eugene Gardner and his son George worked on more than a dozen homes. Napoleon Russell and his partner Fred Knowlton designed numerous homes and also helped develop the area around Shefford and Caseland Streets. Max Westhoff, who designed the old Shriners Hospital and the Connecticut Valley History Museum, also worked on homes.

The neighborhood’s park-like setting, proximity to Springfield Hospital, and access to the trolley line encouraged development. Prior to the Great Depression, many houses were built in the popular Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. Noted residents over the years include early aviatrix Maude Tait Moriarty, impressionist painter Harriet Randall Lumis, cork-centered baseball inventor Milton Reach, and Mass Mutual president Betrand Perry.

The Atwater Park Tour of Historic Homes generously sponsored by

 

Holidays in the City House Tour – December 2010

The Springfield Preservation Trust held a tour of homes throughout the historic neighborhoods of Springfield to celebrate the spirit of the season. The tour featured six historic homes decorated for Christmas or Hanukkah in Forest Park, McKnight, and Downtown.

 

 

Forest Park House Tour – May 2010

The 2010 Spring House Tour in Forest Park featured six homes in the area south of Sumner Avenue, between Dickinson Street and Forest Park. Much of the area was developed as Entry Dingle Heights, located in a section of Longmeadow annexed to Springfield in the early twentieth century. Construction of most homes in the neighborhood took place between 1920 and 1940 and reflect popular Colonial Revival style and English Cottage style, a variation of the Tudor Revival style. French-Canadian builders such as Joseph Chapdelaine, Joseph St. Laurent, Maurice Angers, and Zephrine Lassonde were prominent in the creation of the area.

 

Homes of Forest Park – October 2009

Besides being Springfield’s largest local historic district, Forest Park Heights is one of the most elegant turn-of-the-century neighborhoods in Western Massachusetts. Residential development was spurred in the 1890s by expansion and electrification of the trolley system, which connected the suburban neighborhood to Downtown. Creation of nearby Forest Park was a further incentive for people to live in the area. More than 600 houses were constructed over a 35-year period. The area north of Sumner Avenue was primarily developed by the McKnight family, which also developed the McKnight and Ridgewood areas.

Maple Street – May 2009

The Springfield Preservation Trust Spring House Tour focused on homes on and off the length of Maple Street, one of the city’s oldest streets. Maple Street was opened in the early nineteenth century to connect Downtown to the various mills along the Mill River. Homes on the tour ranged from the Queen Anne style 1897 George Merriam house to a unit in the 1989 Wyndhurst Condominiums. Also open was a portion of our current rehabilitation project, the 1832 Female Seminary.

 

 McKnight Twilight Tour – October 2008

Developed between 1870 and 1900, McKnight is the largest and most intact, wood-frame, late-nineteenth century neighborhood in New England. Among its more than 800 houses are some of the most elegant homes in Springfield. The tour featured homes built between 1886 and 1903. They reflect Stick, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, and English Cottage styles, including the Besse Mansion, one of the largest homes in the district.

 

 

 

Forest Park Heights – May 2008

Forest Park Heights is the largest and most elegant late nineteenth/early twentieth century neighborhood in Western Massachusetts. Residential development was spurred in the 1890s with the expansion of the electrified trolley system and creation of Forest Park. The following 30 years saw construction of the 600 houses now protected as a historic district.

The Springfield Preservation Trust House Tour will open homes south of Sumner Avenue. Colonial Revival and Shingle style homes predominate in this area, developed by the Forest Park Heights Company headed by Lewis Newman.

Atwater Park – October 2007

Much of the Atwater neighborhood was developed from the 300-acre estate of George Atwater, founder of the Springfield Street Railway. Ten years after his death in 1902, the Atwater heirs hired the Boston firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to create a plan for a pleasant residential area.

Several noted local architects were involved in designing houses. Eugene Gardner and his son George worked on more than a dozen homes. Napoleon Russell and his partner Fred Knowlton designed numerous homes and also helped develop the area around Shefford and Caseland Streets. Max Westhoff, who designed the old Shriners Hospital and the Connecticut Valley History Museum, also worked on homes.

The neighborhood’s park-like setting, proximity to Springfield Hospital, and access to the trolley line

encouraged development. (A remnant of the trolley tracks can be seen at Atwater Road and Crestwood Street). Prior to the Great Depression, many houses were built in the popular Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. Noted residents over the years include early aviatrix Maude Tait Moriarty, impressionist painter Harriet Randall Lumis, cork-centered baseball inventor Milton Reach, and Mass Mutual president Betrand Perry.

 

Belmont Heights – May 2007

Forest Park Heights is the Pioneer Valley’s largest local historic district and one of its most elegant turn-of-the-20th century neighborhoods. Development was spurred in the 1890s by expansion of the trolley system as well as the creation of Forest Park. Over the next 35 years, more than 600 houses were built.

Bellevue Avenue and Marengo Park were laid out as “Belmont Heights” by local builder and industrialist Diodate Swan. Mr. Swan died in 1895, and his children developed the area. Most houses were constructed after 1900 in the popular Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. All three of his sons as well as his widow lived on Bellevue Avenue.

Homes featured today are Colonial Revival style, which began after the Centennial Exposition of 1876 sparked renewed interest in the country’s colonial past. It soon became the most popular style in the East. Such houses were more symmetrical than Victorian houses and featured classically inspired decoration.