Historic Homes of Longmeadow

674 Longmeadow Street (#24 The "Old" Nathaniel Ely House - 1780)
674 Longmeadow Street (#24 The "Old" Nathaniel Ely House - 1780)

This lovely home, built in 1780, is considered to be one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in Western Massachusetts. Built of native brick by Deacon Nathaniel Ely, it was intended to house two families. Deacon Ely was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. The house was used during the war to board Tory prisoners enroute from Boston to New York. Deacon Ely's son, Nathaniel, Jr., is credited with bringing the first umbrella to Longmeadow!  In 1800 the house became embroiled in controversy after two grandsons of Rev. Stephen Williams' renegade sister, Eunice, came from Canada to live with the Elys and study in Longmeadow. The rumor abounded that one of the boys was in fact the Lost Dauphin, son of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI of France. This theory holds little credibility today.  The house boasts a "butterfly" staircase once belonging to the Dwight Store, built in 1799, on the comer of Main and State Streets in downtown Springfield. It is said to have once concealed a tunnel leading towards the river which was, perhaps, a link in the Underground Railway.

[Photo contributed by Chris Hall]
[Text reprinted with permission from The Historic Homes of Longmeadow
1988 & 2012 Hall/Hayes - All Rights Reserved

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