Longmeadow is filled with numerous majestic historic homes. The tales of many of these homes are well known. Other homes have fascinating histories that could become forgotten. Two such magnificent homes are the Page/Wallace (Deepwood) and Robinson Estates. These two homes are located on the Bay Path University campus.
The property where Bay Path University is currently located was originally part of the Ethan C. Ely property. His ancestor Jonathan Ely settled in the precinct of Longmeadow in 1694. The Ely estate had remained in the family since 1758. Ethan and his father built a brick home with stone trimming in 1856. He was listed in the town directory as a farmer. The natural beauty of the property was carefully preserved and filled with a variety of trees and thus referred to as “Ely’s grove”.
Ethan C. Ely
Ely’s Grove early 1900's
Ethan Ely's Home 1908
Ethan C. Ely died in 1906. He had no direct heirs as his wife had died 40 years previously and his two children died early in life. The property was eventually sold to J. B. Burbank, a neighbor and real estate entrepreneur. The property was then sold to George Hendee (owner of Indian Motocycle) upon his retirement. He did stake out land to build an estate as indicated on the 1912 Longmeadow map.
Mr. Hendee never built this home and instead built a palatial estate in Suffield, CT. The property was then sold to Frank Page and his estate was built at 588 Longmeadow Street.
Mr. Page was the wealthy owner and founder of the National Equipment Company in Springfield.
Page's home was completed in 1917. The Georgian Colonial at the time was one of the largest and most expensive homes in Longmeadow. The estate included a home for his chauffeur and gardener.
Frank Page sold the home to Douglas V Wallace in 1927. The estate became known as Deepwood. Mr. Wallace was a member of the Wallace family who owned and operated Forbes and Wallace department stores. The store chain existed in the area from 1874-1976.
Mr. Wallace unfortunately died at 44 years old in 1930. His wife, Mary Wallace, who lived to 106 years of age, retained ownership. Her father, John C. Robinson, purchased an adjacent property. Mr. Robinson was a wealthy realty company executive who donated the land in Agawam that eventually became Robinson State Park. His daughter Mary resided with him at the mansion built at 544 Longmeadow Street. It would also become part of the Bay Path campus. Deepwoods at 588 Longmeadow St. was sold to W. J. Quinn Company in 1940 for real estate development. There was a plan to build 15 homes on the site.
Robinson mansion, adjacent to Wallace estate. Today part of Bay Path campus. Due to World War II these plans never came to fruition. The National Youth Administration (NYA) leased the home in 1942 to serve as a residence and center for women working in the defense industry during World War II.
Deepwoods was sold to Thomas Carr in 1945. Mr. Carr had purchased Bay Path Institute in 1944 and moved the school from Springfield to the eighteen-acre estate in 1945. The Robinson Estate was purchased by Bay Path in 1947 with money donated by George Empsall (Mr Carr’s brother-in-law) to be used as a dormitory.
Today Deepwoods Hall at Bay Path University
is the main administrative building.
The Robinson mansion is presently Empsall Hall which houses the admissions offices
Contributed by Leonard Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member
Originally published February 17, 2022
This week the Longmeadow Historical Society Wishes to Thank Bay Path University for its support of History Notes.