Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Dr. Edwin S. Fowler House

Second and Wright Streets
c. 1858

Photo courtesy of Richard E. Hart

Dr. Fowler’s house is one of the grand Italianate mansions built by Springfield's prosperous class in the 1850s. In 1860 Mercy Conkling noted in a letter to her son “Mrs Baker, Bailhache & Fowler are rivals, each one trying to out do the other in fine furniture, house and grounds…" She continued: “Dr Fowler has bought Roll’s house, and has furnished it in splendid style, the parlour carpets costing $7 pr yd and everything in agreement – carriage and horses to agree – and this for a man that was poor when the war commenced.” The Fowlers apparently paid $21,000 for this house in 1862, an astronomical sum for the time.
Fowler, who was a government contractor during the Civil War, reportedly brought the white marble statue in the foreground to Springfield from a Southern plantation house.