Agawam Doors – #ThursdayDoors

Front door of the Captain Charles Leonard House.

Back in January, I was anticipating a series of excursions, north and south along the sides of the Connecticut River valley. I was inspired by a visit to Essex, CT, a book I had received as a gift and a lecture at a local historical society. A friend of mine and I were planning several trips, and were only waiting for slightly warmer weather. We were going to seek out museums, historical interpretive centers, landmarks, and the quaint New England towns that boarder the river on both sides and have drawn their economic history from that river.

Clearly, we needed a Plan-B.

Most of the doors shown here since March have come from these areas.

Excursions have begun, mainly for shopping, but also for collecting doors and appreciating the history of a somewhat smaller area. The map to the right shows the areas from which I’ve collected most of my doors during the period from mid-March to the present. You may find it interesting to know that it is roughly 12 mi (19 km) from Windsor Locks, CT to Springfield, MA.

Just north of the CT boarder, on the west side of the river, is the town of Agawam, MA. I have to admit, I normally view Agawam as a place I have to “get through” on my way to a few favorite stores in West Springfield. There are two ways to get to Agawam from where we live, but they converge at a single bridge that crosses the Westfield River. CT State Rt 75 goes through the Suffield Historic District, through a relatively bland section of Agawam and directly into the business district of West Springfield. CT State Rt 159 winds north along the Connecticut River and the Westfield River and joins Rt-75. We normally avoid Rt-159 between April and October because Six Flags over New England is on that road.

Well, Six Flags is still closed, due to the virus and, as I discovered on my way to West Springfield, Rt-75 is under construction in three places. Returning through eastern Agawam on Rt-159, I discovered several interesting doors. And – be still my history-loving heart – a Historic District that is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Unfortunately, the NRHP nomination form has not yet been digitized. With apologies, the NRHP referred me to a page on Wikipedia (which I try to ignore). Instead, I chose to focus my discussion on one building, and I’ll let the owners do the talking. The following is from their website:

Distinguished by its stately size and excellent condition, the Captain Charles Leonard House is set back from the street behind a towering two hundred year old ash tree. Attributed to noted New England architect Asher Benjamin, the old Leonard dwelling is easily Agawam’s finest Federal building. The white, two story, hip-roofed building boasts an impressive facade featuring two-story Doric columns, Palladian window and elliptical fanlight. The Captain Charles Leonard House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and became what the Agawam Historical Commission considers the crown jewel of the town’s first historic district when Agawam Center was placed on the National Register in 2001.

Charles Leonard was born in 1764 and married Mercy Remington in 1789. One year later, he purchased twenty-five acres of land on the eastern side of Main Street. According to historian Ernest Newton Bagg, Leonard was a graduate of Harvard University who later turned to farming. He attained the rank of Captain while serving in the local militia, and was known by that title thereafter. It was in 1805 that Leonard constructed Agawam’s fourth tavern on the western end of his property to serve travelers as the first stop on the Hartford to Boston stage run.

The other doors in the gallery are from my trip home, beginning with the Ramón Emeterio Betances School just east of the bridge across the Westfield River. There are more, but I’ll save them for another week, and another celebration of doors brought to us by Norm Frampton. Each week, Norm invites door lovers from around the world to meet at his place and share the doors they love. You can visit Norm’s site here.


    • To be honest, I didn’t even know it was there. I rarely drive on this road to get to West Springfield because the traffic is normally horrible. I’ll have to check it out after things open up and get safe – you know, 2023.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I LOVE the bell tower. I know I’ve said it before but it amazes me the pride that was once taken in construction. Are there any example of new buildings with such detail taken?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only one I know of is a Mormon Tabernacle that was recently built near where our daughter lives. All modern material and techniques, but a lot of attention to detail. Maybe I’ll snag some photos of that sometime.

      For the most part, as far as I can see, modern buildings are designed with a useful life of 30-50 years in mind. No one seems to think in terms of hundreds or thousands of years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s everything outside of a historic district around here, too, GP. Including the neighborhood we live in (although I did give our house a distinctive look).


  2. A beautiful journey through the years, Dan, thank you! Hats off to the folks living in the home with the sign “Hang in there World.” It’s a message worth framing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a stately home, both then and now. Love the little library. Haven’t seen one of those in years. The “Hang In There, World” sign says it all in just four words. But the “historic” sign on the beautiful 3-car garage home is priceless! It reflects not only a great sense of humor, but hope in the future.

    Nice tour Dan.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I are on the same page, Ginger, across the board. I love all those things, especially the signs on the house and the garage. I hope that garage is here in 200 years.

      I hope you have a great weekend.


    • Ooooh, oooh, I know this. Hinged bars at the top of each door where they meet, connected to a rod that is perpendicular to the doors. When closed, it looks like ——-====== | As it opens, it looks like a flat Y | when fully open, it looks like a flat T – the opener works in reverse of it’s normal operation, or is positioned close to the door so it draws the bar in to open and pushes it away to close.


  4. A beautiful building that I’d love to rent for a function. I’d take down the flag swag partially blocking the front door, but after that it’d be party on. Also, all our free little libraries have been shut down due to Covid-19. Nice to see one still in use.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does look like a great place to hold an event. I hadn’t noticed the little libraries being shut down. I wonder if they escaped notice here. And, I agree, I’d rather see the whole entrance.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It feels good to be out, Janet, even if I’m turning away from crowded places, wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer. I love the historic sign on the garage. IT fits in so well in the district, and you have to look closely to see the humor.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I have been doing the grocery shopping since March. I have found the least populated times ate both of the stores we shop at. I don’t mind, but I have so much to learn about buying groceries :)


          • I do groceries both for us and my parents, but at the same time, so it gets crazy having two lists and being sure to keep things separate. As all these stores are relatively new to me, I’m still trying to figure out where everything is located, which takes even more time. Not my favorite thing, but I’m happy to be able to help my parents. The biggest thing is to avoid weekends!!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Travis has some kind of home, but I’ll take the Leonard house any day–what a beauty. Little libraries….we have one down the street from us and, on our walks, I always stop by to see what little treasure someone might have left.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent find Dan! That house looks amazing and if I read that sign correctly it is available to rent for events. I bet that would be a cool experience to hold a big family gathering for a milestone event in a place like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely adding the Captain’s house to the places I’d like to look inside. Maybe when things open back up, they’ll have an open house ;-)

      The three car garage appears to have a barn door on the side. That would make it an interesting space.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The map is really cool, Dan. That adds another level of interest to your door-cursions.
    Agawam is such a delightful name. I love the old house with big front porch. Internet from TDS is still giving me fits – had to save this comment in a Word document for when I could come back long enough to post it. It’s an “aga” too, but not in a good way. LOL. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked the mao, Teagan. I thought it might help put things in perspective.

      I would be saying some very not nice things to your internet provider. Thanks for going to so much trouble to add a delightful comment.


      • Oh, believe me I’ve showed them what an eloquent b!#c% I can be, Dan… Women get a different response to service problems of any kind than men usually get. There comes a time when one recognizes that continued demands for them to fix it, only waste my own time. They persist in saying there is no problem. I had to give up finishing my blog post. I’ll have to to it in the morning, during that small window when it usually works. Booo TDS, booo!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. The house where you like the porch…
    I like that front room on the second floor with the multi windows.

    I would suspect that none of the 6 Flags will open this year. I know that Disney World offered temp space for basketball though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that room, too. I’m guessing it would make a nice place to write in the morning (that room faces due west).

      Amusement parks can open in CT, with reduced attendance, etc. Six Flags is in MA. I don’t know what their rules are.

      I am seeing ads on TV for Universal Studios in FL. Of course, I’d have to quarantine for two weeks in FL before going to the park and again for two weeks upon returning to CT.


  9. Captain Charles Leonard’s house is a lovely warm color and I really like the windows above the doorway. I also love the little library, which seems to be a thing that’s growing in popularity. Everything else is nice too and so glad you were able to get out and about, even though you have to be careful. Life has indeed changed hasn’t it? Have a wonderful week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The Leonard house is stunning. Builders today try to add Palladian windows to a home, but somehow it rarely works. Perhaps they need to take a field trip to the Leonard house. The school is beautiful, too. Great doors post, Dan. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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