Timeline of the Stately Temple
1883– This house was built for James W. Kirkham for $13,000.
1989– Robert W. Day bought the home and made some renovations like the front gable.
1930s– The Day family remained in the home with several servants before moving to Maple St. The house then became vacant.
1940s– During the 1940s this house was the home of the Wesmas Candy Corporation.
1949– More commercial tenants moved in, including Western Mass theaters, Inc.
1990s– Commercial tenants occupied both the house and the carriage house behind it, Both became vacant during this decade.
2004– Raipher D. Pellegrino bought the house and carriage house property. After renovations and restorations, the home was granted the Springfield Preservation Trust Award of 2006. The house is home to Raipher, P.C. a law frim with offices on all 4 levels of the home. The carriage house is also occupied by an attorney.
The Home is Constructed
In 1883, James W. Kirkham, who served as the assistant cashier for the First National Bank at the time, had this house constructed at a cost of $13,000. Alongside his wife Fanny and their infant son William, they took up residence in the house in January 1883. They continued to call this house their home for approximately 15 years before relocating to Maple Street in the late 1890s. Throughout this period, Kirkham maintained his association with the First National Bank and eventually assumed the role of its president in 1905. During this time, the Kirkham family moved into the former residence of Orick H. Greenleaf on Maple Street, where James W. Kirkham lived until his passing in 1927.
The Day Family Moves in
Meanwhile, on State Street, the residence found a new owner in Robert W. Day, the treasurer of the Morgan Envelope Company. Day’s journey with the company began in its early years when he started as a 20-year-old office boy. Over time, he steadily climbed the corporate ladder. Interestingly, it was Elisha Morgan, the company’s founder, who recommended that Day acquire this property, given its close proximity to Morgan’s own home at 273 State Street. Acting on this advice, Day made some modifications to the house, including altering the original roof. For instance, the front gable, a non-original feature of the house, was likely added during these renovations.
Around 1898, roughly the same period when Day moved into this residence, the Morgan Envelope Company merged with nine other manufacturers to establish the United States Envelope Company. This conglomerate, headquartered in nearby Holyoke, controlled approximately 90 percent of the nation’s envelope production. Day retained his role as the company’s treasurer and later ascended to the position of vice president. Furthermore, he played a part in other local businesses, holding the position of vice president at the Springfield National Bank and serving as president of the United Electric Company and the Indian Orchard Company.
During the 1900 census, Robert W. Day was 48 years old and shared this home with his wife Ida and their children, namely Pauline, Robert, Winsor, and Morgan, ranging in age from seven to 21. The household also included four live-in servants, one of whom was a coachman. A decade later, only the two youngest children remained residents along with Robert and Ida. Nevertheless, they still employed four servants, identified in the census as a waitress, a cook, a chambermaid, and a butler. Robert continued to reside here until his passing in 1926, while Ida stayed on until at least the mid-1930s before relocating to a residence on Maple Street.
From Residential to Commercial Tenants
The 22-room mansion served as a residence until the 1940s. It then underwent a transformation, briefly serving as a theater and subsequently finding use as office space. Similarly, the carriage house, a rare survivor in Springfield, had its purpose evolve. In the 1940s, it became a hub for candy production and packaging under the Wesmas Candy Corp. banner, also serving as an office building during its later years.
Both buildings were vacant by the 1990s and were badly deteriorated, but they were ultimately restored in an extensive project that was completed in 2006 after Raipher Pellegrino bought the property in 2004.
On December 28, 2005 the Raipher P.C. team moved into the newly renovated historic house and immediately felt a sense of calmness. The transition from a high-rise modern office building to our new office with hardwood floors, fireplaces in many of the offices, soft colors on the walls and the relaxed flow of the hallways and offices was so inviting. The convenience of the on-sight parking and beautiful views just added to the convenience and comfort we all felt. Soon we started to greet clients and received overwhelming support and appreciation for the tremendous endeavor we took on in restoring a historic landmark in the City of Springfield. In fact, the effort was acknowledged by both the Springfield Preservation Trust and City of Springfield.
During our first few months we quickly started to realize that all the special attention to creating a modern work environment in a historic building was worth all the hard work. The influx of modern technology allowed for a state-of-the-art office setting while still providing a tranquil environment to allow the attorneys and staff to focus and advocate for our clients. Most importantly it made all want to come to work as the surroundings were so inviting.
It is amazing that we have been in the Stately Temple House for over 15 years and expanded to use all four floors with over 10,000 square feet. As the firm’s needs for more space increased, we were able to reshape areas we thought we would never use into incredible office space to allow for the firm to increase the number of attorneys and staff. The integrity of the structure remains, which is a testament to the old saying “they don’t build them like they used to”.
We have no idea how long the firm will be here, but there is no doubt that the stately Temple House will continue to grace State street and the city of Springfield and live long into the future. We hope you enjoy looking at the before and after renovation pictures which provide a little insight into the foresight we had on taking on such a project.