Institution of Hampden Lodge of Masons at the "Meeting House." (May 29, 1817.)
Let us complete our word-picture of the first Church service by describing briefly the environs of "The Chapel on Armory Hill." Springfield had just become the shire city of the newly formed Hampden County. It had within its borders, about 3,000 persons who knew not a railroad, an apartment house, a telephone, a telegraph, an electric or gas light, a macadam road, a motor vehicle, or other commonplace convenience of the present day. The business centers of the town were at the corner of State and Main Streets and the corner of State and Walnut Streets. The present State Street was called in documents of that day "Bay Road" or "The Road." One street, only, branching from this was called "The Road to Charles Brewers," later named Maple Street. On "Bay Road" were several large farm houses, candle lighted and fire-place heated, wood piles and well sweeps being comely, necessary dooryard adornments. For the most part houses in those days were unpainted but when color was used red was the favorite. The village boasted one white house. A watering trough stood at the junction of State and Main Streets; Jonathan Dwight's store stood at the northwest corner and an old school house back of that. Further tip the street near the present Central High School building, was the jail.
The Town Brook bounded the easterly side of Main Street from Worthington Street to York Street. Tree lined Main Street, with a flower-dotted grass plot marking its center, was a country road on which were seen cows, ox-carts, and horsedrawn winged chaises. It had a few roomy houses and other buildings on its west side and fewer on the east side. Major John Pynchon's brick fort stood at the corner of Fort and Main Streets, and the pillory and whipping-post were still on what is now Court Square. The exciting events of each day were the arrival of the stage-coaches, one from Massachusetts Bay, one from Hartford, and one from Albany.
President Monroe toured New England in the summer of 1817.