The Legacy of Whiting Street, Part II

by Laurel | March 5th, 2013

31 May 1903, Part II

Someone at one time spoke to Whiting Street about his accumulations.

“Mr. Street,” this friend said, “what are you going to do with all this money?  You cannot enjoy it after you are gone’ your heirs will quarrel over it and squander it, and it will be scattered.”

“Well,” said Mr. Street, with a twinkle in his gray eyes, “if they have as much pleasure in spending it as I have had in accumulating it they will have a mighty fine time.”

Nevertheless, his will was drawn so that his heirs did not have the opportunity of squandering the money accumulated by years of frugality and savings; even had they desired to do so; but a large share went for the aid and support of those deserving or in need of such support.

The Whiting Street Homestead

The Whiting Street Homestead

Whiting Street, as many Holyoke people recall him, was a heavy-built man of medium height, poorly but neatly clad; gentle in manner and speech, betraying outwardly little that indicated his one enjoyment in life, — the accumulation of money. He had a fine, massive head that distinguished him in whatever assembly he was found. He had a clear bluish-gray eye, and in them a glint of the New England shrewdness, ruddy complexion, and was erect in walk and bearing until the infirmities of age overtook him. He generally wore a pepper and salt or brownish, a cotton shirt with a fold for a collar, in which was drawn a cheap but always clean cravat. In the latter part of his life, his white hair, which he always wore long added distinction to his appearance, in fact it was once remarked that despite the cheapness of his attire in whatever society he went, he would be at once recognized as a gentleman. In speech he was slow and thoughtful, and his word, once given was better than many a man’s hand. He never gave that word, however, until he had carefully investigated the matter and weighed the “pros” and “cons” most carefully. His writing was clear and fine, bordering on the feminine, and is yet extant in many papers and documents.His house was scarcely less picturesque than the man.  It stands at the left of the road as one crosses the stream at the foot of the hill on the road to Northampton, just below where the cars for Mt. Tom, Northampton and Mountain Park swing to the left and begin the climb to the crest of the parkland. Nearly opposite was the head of the rapids, and a little beyond the house of Alpheus, his brother, the only one of the family of five who married. With Whiting in his house lived his brother Jesse, a confirmed and from all accounts, a somewhat  crabbed old bachelor, and his two maiden sisters — spinsters “Polly” and “Sally,” as they were known for miles around. The house is still standing and a picture of it accompanies this article. His father Glover Street, removed from Wallingford, Connecticut, when Whiting, who was the oldest, was but a child. They occupied, it is said, the old Rand place on Back street, and for payment therefore, instead of money, pledged to give so many bushels of wheat yearly until the purchase price — also in wheat — had been met. Later Glover Street removed to an old house on the site now occupied by the Alpheus Street house and a new house was erected later. Glover Street bought the Whiting Street house where he lived until his death.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.


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