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Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Have you ever wanted to own a horse farm? Charles Birnie did.

In 1889, Charles Birnie bought the old Thomas Hale house (corner Booth Road- later renamed Birnie Road- and Longmeadow St.) and started acquiring thoroughbred race horses and breeding them on his farm in Longmeadow. His 80 acres of land stretched down to the Connecticut River and he pastured his horses on the lowlands where there were fewer rocks, boulders, or ditches that might injure his horses.

The above picture is from an article in the 1894 Springfield Republican about one of his horses, Anteneer. By 1900 he had 4 brood mares, 1 stallion, 6 three-year-olds, 2 two-year-olds, and 4 yearlings on his farm. He also employed a horse trainer, Irving Hinkley, to tend to his horses.

Charles Birnie moved his farm to Virginia in 1901.

Sources: 1900 US Federal Census, Springfield Republican, Dec. 3, 1889; July 1, 1894; Sept. 27, 1901; Oct. 8, 1901; Oct. 22, 1901; Longmeadow Assessors Valuation Listings 1899-1904

Contributed by Elizabeth Hoff, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member

Originally published March 26, 2020

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

The headstone of Mary Colton aka Mary Drake

"The old burying ground of the Town of Longmeadow consisted originally of just one acre of land "granted" out of the town highway leading eastward from the main street into the commons--literally a "God's acre," in area as well as in assignment of sacred use." (From the Proceedings at the Centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Town of Longmeadow,October 17th, 1783)

Prior to the cemetery being established, burials occurred in the Springfield cemetery near the river. When the railroads disturbed that cemetery, burials were moved to the Maple Street cemetery or to nearby towns.

The earliest stone in the Longmeadow Cemetery belongs to Mary Colton, who died October 19th, 1682. She was originally buried in Springfield, and re-interred here

Mary Colton Alias Mary Drake Who dyed octo 19th

1682: My dayes are few. My glas is run. My age 32 and one

attributed carver: George Griswold.

Contributed by Betsy McKee, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member

Originally published March 12, 2020

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Local historian Dennis Picard holding a charcoal box iron

This charcoal or charcoal box iron is of a style developed in the 19th century to replace the older “sad” or “flat” iron. The older irons would be heated on a trivet over hot embers, or on a stove, and used in pressing clothing. The sad irons were used in pairs so that one could be heating while the other was in use. Soot would have to be wiped from the bottom of the iron before it came in contact with cloth. Charcoal irons were kept hot by burning fuel inside their box-like body. No reheating or soot problems. The face shaped door allowed fresh air in to the fuel to control the rate of burn and the “chimney” kept the fumes away from the cloth and the person ironing.

Contributed by Dennis Picard, Local Historian

Originally published March 5, 2020

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