Sunday, December 14, 2008

My presentation at the Pine Point Library went very well as I had about 30 people crammed into the space and sold 14 books!

What was great is that members of the audience offered up information on the city's history that was new to me.

For those of you who missed it – the library folks would like me to do it again in a few months at a different library – here's part of what I did. I took images from my postcard history of Springfield and then paired then with contemporary views.

I also spoke of parts of the city's history that are now missing. For example, this famous marker erected in 1763 to denote the location of the road to Boston stood at the intersection of State and Federal Streets when I was a kid living in 16 Acres. Although it had been removed, it was not lost – nor did it turn up at the Brimfield Flea market for sale. Apparently one of the Masonic Lodges in town have it and I can only hope it will be part of the new Springfield History Museum that will be open in the fall of next year.

The corner of Sumner and Forest Park Avenues at the turn of the 20th century and today. I love that the house in the postcard is still standing.

Very close to our house is the other part of the U.S. Amory – commonly known as "The Water Shops." As a child growing up at 104 Navajo Rd. in 16 Acres, I never really knew the actual name of this body of water is Lake Massasoit. It was always Watershops Pond.

The building is filled with small businesses and the water stills flows through the complex although I'm know sure if it is generating power like many of the factory buildings are along the canals in Holyoke.

Here's the marker at Court Square denoting where Parsons or Washington Tavern once stood.

Here is a postcard of it but it is clearly not in Court Square. Local historian Jim Boone figured out the building had been moved to Water Street and then later demolished. In the 9130 and '40s the term "Washington slept here" as a historic designation became a joke as so many places were do described. It's a shame that Springfield's claim to having the "Father of the Country" rest here is long gone.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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