Across the Longmeadow Green from First Church of Christ and stretching to the west is a small country lane named Chandler Avenue. Flanked on the north by the White Tavern (766 Longmeadow Street) and on the south by the Old Country Store (776 Longmeadow Street), this quiet street today belies its history as a hub of industrial and commercial activity in the western village of Longmeadow. In the nineteenth century, this short street was home to, at various times, a general store, a tavern, a spectacle shop, a button manufacturing business, a blacksmith shop, a stable, several residences, and even, briefly, a “segar shop.”
The Old Country Store, built in 1805 by Calvin Burt and Stephen Cooley, has always been a commercial building. Originally a general store, it has also been a gold and thimble shop, a button factory, a spectacle shop, a retail store, a real estate office, and, currently, The Spa on the Green. Proprietors of the general store included Calvin Burt, Edwin K. Colton, Charles Allen, Charles L. Wood, Seth Steele, and Clarence Cooley. A gathering place for town residents, the store included the town’s first telephone, the post office, and the store scales.
The White Tavern was originally built as a private residence for the Bliss family. David White, a master carpenter, purchased the house in 1786 and converted it into a tavern. Over the years, it has served as a tavern, a boarding house, and a temporary schoolhouse. In 1873, William W. Coomes, a silversmith and spectacle maker with a shop across the street in the Old Country Store, bought the White Tavern for his home and it has remained a private residence ever since.
Dimond Chandler, for whom Chandler Avenue is named, was a local entrepreneur who helped establish both the spectacle industry and button manufacturing industry in Longmeadow. At one point, Dimond Chandler owned both the Old Country Store and the White Tavern along with the land behind them. Seeking an opportunity to make the vacant land in the back productive, Dimond decided to partition and sell it. In 1858, he laid out Chandler Avenue between these two buildings and started selling off the lots. Today, the four private residences on the street help to tell the story of Longmeadow.
24 Chandler Avenue
Located on the north side of Chandler Avenue, this house was originally the barn and carriage house for the White Tavern. It was likely built prior to 1800. At some point, probably in the mid-1800’s, the building was moved westwardly to its current location and converted to a residence. In 1879, Diamond Chandler’s heirs sold it to Abby S. Burt, wife of Frank H. Burt, a gunsmith and thimble maker and it remained in the Burt family for many years.
52 Chandler Avenue
At the end of Chandler Avenue, is the Hartigan House, 52 Chandler Avenue. In August of 1858, Dimond Chandler sold land for a “building lot” to Martin Hartigan. By the next January, Mr. Hartigan had erected a dwelling home on the property.
The 1870 map of Longmeadow includes the first depiction of Chandler Avenue – a path leading from the spectacle shop on Longmeadow Street to the button shop and then to the home of “M. Hartigan.”
Martin’s son, John, worked as a coachman and operated a livery stable on the property. He also served the town as a Water Commissioner. Descendants of the Hartigan family occupied this residence until 1951.
31-33 Chandler Avenue
South and east of the Hartigan House is this pretty wooden Victorian two-family house. Dimond Chandler sold the land for this house to Margaret B. Taylor in 1872 and her heir sold her “homestead” to John Ward in 1892.
It is unclear when the house was built, but it first shows up on the 1894 map of Longmeadow.
19 Chandler Avenue
19 Chandler Avenue is on the south side of Chandler Avenue east of 31-33. Now a private residence, the building most likely was built around 1840 to house the expanding Newell Button Factory. Dimond Chandler partnered with the Newell brothers to establish the button factory. Factory workers, most of whom were young, unmarried women, lived in the White Tavern (now serving as a boarding house) located catty corner across the street. The Newell Button Factory flourished, outgrew the space available at 19 Chandler Avenue, and moved to a new location in Springfield in 1863.
In 1873, Dimond Chandler sold the building to William C. Pease who operated it as a multifamily rental property. The building remained what the Longmeadow Assessor called a “tenement building” for many years (the term “tenement” was synonymous with “apartment” at that time). Mr. Pease also owned the blacksmith shop on Chandler Avenue and Noah Webster, the blacksmith, lived at 19 Chandler Avenue for many years.
For further information on these historic sites, please visit our website (longmeadowhistoricalsociety.org) and check out previous History Notes articles on “The White Tavern," “Boarding House for Newell Button Factory Employees," and “Silver and Gold Spectacles and Thimbles.”
Historic Homes of Longmeadow
Archives of the Longmeadow Historical Society
Hampden County Registry of Deeds