Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Over the years Longmeadow‘s boundaries have changed and its size has decreased. Beginning as a precinct of Springfield, Longmeadow’s boundary extended much further east and included current-day East Longmeadow and Wilbraham.
In 1740 the eastern portion of the precinct of Longmeadow, Wilbraham, became the fourth precinct of Springfield. In 1763, Wilbraham was incorporated as a town separate from Springfield. In 1783 Longmeadow was incorporated as a town separate from Springfield. In 1890 a portion of northwestern Longmeadow was annexed by Springfield to become Forest Park. In 1894 East Longmeadow became incorporated as a separate town, reducing the size of Longmeadow by approximately one-half. Finally, in 1914 the Franconia section was annexed to Springfield.
1831 Map indicating Longmeadow's northern border extending into present-day Springfield
A man named Everett Barney (1835-1916) was instrumental in establishing Forest Park as we know it today. This story and its effects on Longmeadow is history that should be remembered.
Everett Barney was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1835. He was involved in the manufacturing of Spencer carbines during the Civil War. He resided in Connecticut, New York City, and eventually moved to Springfield, MA towards the end of the War.
Along with an old friend, John Berry, the Barney and Berry Skate Manufacturing Company was started in 1865. At the height of its operation, Barney & Berry were turning out 600,000 pairs of skates each year and employed 250 workers. John Berry retired from the company in 1869.
Map indicating site of Barney & Berry Skate Factory in Springfield
Barney and Berry's Skates
Pecousic Villa, the home of Everett Barney
Everett Barney became a wealthy man and built a beautiful estate in south Springfield in 1885. It was called Pecousic Villa and was located on Laurel Hill. This estate encompassed approximately 250 acres, some of which were set aside for his son George to build his own home. Unfortunately, George, his only child, died in 1889 at only 26 years of age from tuberculosis. As a memorial to his son, Barney built an impressive and imposing mausoleum that can still be seen in Forest Park today. In addition, in 1890 Barney donated 109 acres of his property to the city of Springfield.
Forest Park had been established on land donated by O. H. Greenleaf several years earlier. Along with land donated by Everett Barney, who donated his entire estate to Springfield upon his death in 1916, and also bequests by the Cooley and Dickinson estates, the park grew to over 400 acres. The carefully landscaped park is perhaps under-appreciated today.
A portion of the property donated however was technically located in Longmeadow.
New Boundary Created
On June 2, 1890, the governor of Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams Brackett, signed into law the annexation of this portion of Longmeadow to Springfield.
This photograph was likely taken from what was once part of Longmeadow
Pecousic Villa was torn down in the early 1960s to build I-91.
However, the carriage house and the mausoleum remain today and are familiar sites to anyone who visits this end of Forest Park today.
Barney Carriage House
So next time you travel beyond the intersection of Western Drive and Forest Glen Road to get onto I-91, remember this used to be Longmeadow.
Contributed by Leonard Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member
Originally published March 24, 2022