1028 Longmeadow Street- #62 (see additional information)

This year's cover painting is Peggy Godfrey's watercolor of the Captain Gideon Colton house, built in 1795, at 1028 Longmeadow Street, opposite Mill Road.

The beautiful design of this house was the subject of an article in a National magazine emphasizing the fan windows over the front door and the upstairs Palladian hall window.  Captain Colton took pleasure in relating how he built the house.  The beams were cut from his own land on the hillside, a slow process in those days.  He went to Springfield day after day to examine the rafts of lumber floated down from the north, rejecting all but the best, as is apparent today in the woodwork and wide one-board wainscot of the rooms.  The house was built of chestnut wood and completely constructed of hand made nails.  The house had five entrances, the front door having fluted columns and Grecian pediment. A spacious hall ran from the front entrance through the house with another large door in the rear. The door sills and steps were solid stone. The foundation is of fieldstone also taken from the land.

The hidden staircase under the hall coat closet, which has long disappeared, could well have been sold to a museum as it was part of the Underground Railway for the slaves on their way to Canada. Under the wallpaper in the back left bedroom, an interesting collection of paintings and drawings were discovered by former owners. The drawings were of horses, people (primarily slaves) and directions on how the slaves could get to Canada.

The North wall of the house is covered by a brick wall under the siding and the early owners used it to protect themselves from Indian arrows. They also closed the inside shutters in each ground floor room. The room on the right rear was the Borning Room (later made into a sunroom.) There are 3 fireplaces upstairs - and probably 4 originally.  Downstairs there are four fireplaces one in each front room, one in the Borning Room and a huge colonial model in the dining room - originally the kitchen. The section behind the dining room was added around the turn of the century.  In the cellar, small hand-made bricks were used to form arches into each section - cold cellar, wine cellar, etc. Vegetables, were stored in the sand there during the winter.

Captain Colton died in 1850. He had been one of the "Home Guards" in the War of the Revolution though only 16 years of age.  He has a Revolutionary marker in the graveyard.  Bela Coomes bought the property and his family occupied it for over 40 years. Later owners were Charles Birnie, Edgar Bliss, William Callendar and Dr. Charles R. Chapman.  Dr. Chapman's daughters sold the home in 1942 to William M. Barnard whose family have occupied it now for 30 years.

This artist is a great-great-great granddaughter of Captain Gideon Colton.


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