77 Maple Street
The three story brick Springfield Female Seminary was built in 1832 by Simon Sanborn, Springfield's master builder. The Seminary became coed in 1835 and moved to a different location in 1843. The drawing at left depicts the building as it was when it was first built, with three stories.
After being sold to Margaret Emery in 1843, the school was converted to a residence. After her death in 1860, it was sold to Frederick Harris, a cashier and then president of the Third National Bank. He lived here until 1911. After that, the property went through numerous owners, eventually being converted to professional offices. In the black and white image above, one can see that the building had a two story front porch, which is now gone.
In recent years this historic resource has been in a state of decay, every day getting closer to being lost. The two bottom left images show the extent of deterioration. The extent of this deterioration was hidden from the street, but it is currently being stabilized and rebuilt. The pictures plainly show the seriousness of the situation. The previous owner had started a renovation project on the building. The interior space was gutted down to stud walls but it appears work stopped soon after this was done. The property had been sitting in this condition for the past several years.
The property is located in the Lower Maple Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The SPT Board of Directors decided to step in and purchase the building so that it can be saved. SPT hired architect William J. Devlin, AIA to design and plan for the rehabilitation work. SPT is underway on the restoration and reuse of this historically significant property.
This is SPT's first rehab project in several years, and probably it's "nerviest"!
Construction was completed in May on a small area of footing in the cellar which needed immediate attention. This area, which we refer to as the "hole", will next receive some overall "hole" repair. This is a section of wall on the south side of the "main ell" (circa 1860), and a small part of the main building (1832), which failed due to a previous owner's construction error. This will be done as "structural-only" work, to stabilize the building, get it enclosed against the weather, and to help with security. It includes rescuing some windows, removing and rebuilding masonry walls, leveling and re-anchoring ell floors and roof, adding some framing at the roof, re-installing windows, plus some miscellaneous related repairs. An option is to re-open an old hatchway in that area.
For the "hole" work, Architectural "Construction Documents" (Drawings and Specifications), produce by architect Bill Devlin, are under way while the SPT's Building Committee is working on the paperwork for the CDBG funding. This includes a "Request for Qualifications" for interested General Contractors (GC); who may then bid on the actual construction.
The final phase would be a complete rehabbing of the building as a multi-family with 4 apartments as condominium units. State and Federal laws now require that first-floor units be handicapped-accessible.
During our Maple St. Historic House Tour on May 17th, 77 was a big hit. Since the building is gutted, people got unusual views of its interior, floor-to-floor and through multiple walls. Attractions included a membership table, a large poster, 10 signs about elements of the framing etc., some drawings and photos, Jim Boone pitching the job at the front door, and one VERY enthusiastic docent pointing-out features. It's a GREAT project for "before" pictures!