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What's That In The Sky? Is It A Bird?

by Betsy McKee, LHS Board Member
October 14, 2021


Home Sweet Homing Pigeons

Believe it or not, there were people in the area who used to raise and race pigeons! Thomas Edward Cordis (1884-1936) raised pigeons, in fact, according to the 1983 Town Report, his "racing pigeons were nationally renowned, having won many racing diplomas.  His birds were registered with the U. S. Government for communication purposes throughout World War I. T. Edward Cordis' farm was known as the 'Longmeadow Poultry Farm'.  It housed prize Rhode Island Reds."

In 1912, Thomas and his wife Annie purchased 705 Longmeadow Street, a house that had been owned by other family members  going back to 1845. According to his family, he kept a journal in 1896 (making him 12 years old) where he kept track of his pigeons, their names, birthdates and deaths.


Thomas Edward Cordis, 1884-1936

One event was written up in the Springfield Republican in 1912: "Sunday morning at 7:45, the young birds were released at East Pembroke, N.Y., by the American Express company agent, and it was just seven hours and 17 minutes later than the winning bird came to rest in the loft of Thomas Brouillette in Middlesex Street, Springfield. The winner's average time was 1204.54 yards to the minute, which is considered very good with the poor weather conditions which prevailed. The lack of a strong wind at their backs prevented their approaching a record, for some birds from this city have gone as fast as a mile a minute. The speed of the other birds and the names of their owners are: Thomas Cordis of Longmeadow, 1200: Peter Brouillette of Springfield, 1169; Thomas Orr of Holyoke, 1168..."

Two years later, the Springfield Union reported on another race; "one of the entries of Thomas Cordis, Longmeadow, was the first arrival, coming in at 11.43 o'clock, after covering the distance at an average of 1295.199 yards.  Mr. Cordis also owned the second bird to arrive, which averaged 1291.291 yards. Eighty-five per cent of the starters returned and is considered a good percentage.  The local club will fly its 300 mile race next Sunday, from East Pembroke, N. Y."

When Thomas died in 1936, his pigeons were part of his funeral services:


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Longmeadow Historical Society

697 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
(413) 567-3600
LongmeadowHS@gmail.com
 
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