Historic Springfield & Pioneer Valley

Historic Springfield & Pioneer Valley Founded in 1636 as one of the four original River Towns of the Connecticut Valley, Springfield, blossomed in the industrial age to become the leading incubator of a technology revolution that made the Connecticut Valley the center of the new economy

Historic Springfield is a Facebook community for people who care about the city and its adjoining region; who value historic and cultural resources, who believe historic preservation is necessary and who would like to help build a stronger sense of place, past and community - through communication, civic scholarship, and experiences that foster sustainability

Countless times I've driven past the Strathmore Paper factory visible from the Mass Pike in Russell, Massachusetts near ...
12/10/2019

Countless times I've driven past the Strathmore Paper factory visible from the Mass Pike in Russell, Massachusetts near Westfield. It closed 20 years ago. It's such an alluring setting from the highway. I finally figured out how to get there via back roads. Its all part of this extraordinary CT Valley industrial heritage - that I hope gets attention while it's still fresh enough to remember.

https://www.masslive.com/business/2019/05/vacant-strathmore-mill-no-2-up-for-auction-in-russell.html

Bright Nights at Forest Park is always more fun with lots of snow. Off to a great start for its 25th year
12/06/2019

Bright Nights at Forest Park is always more fun with lots of snow. Off to a great start for its 25th year

Historic Northampton has done a lot of things right to re-engage the public after the scandals of the previous longtime ...
11/25/2019

Historic Northampton has done a lot of things right to re-engage the public after the scandals of the previous longtime administration. Active and creative public programming is a sure way to do that. They've also rounded up sponsors. That said, they have (or had) and outstanding COLLECTION which deserves and needs attention.

Until I got a close look at the seal on the Springfield clock tower yesterday, I can't say I'd ever noticed Springfield'...
11/25/2019

Until I got a close look at the seal on the Springfield clock tower yesterday, I can't say I'd ever noticed Springfield's city seal - apparently designed in 1852 when it was incorporated as a city. What a moment that was - look at details. Springfield Armory, William Pynchons house, railroads, the CT River - not sure what the wedge in the lower center represents - but I like it

This bummed me out during my walk around Springfield this am. When and who removed the 1750s (if I have that right) weat...
11/23/2019

This bummed me out during my walk around Springfield this am. When and who removed the 1750s (if I have that right) weather cock off the ca 1810 First Church Springfield (that ceased functioning as a church 10/- years ago. I'd like to think that if it went anywhere the Springfield Museums acquired it??? Or was it sold off - a RARE piece of #CivicPatrimony. Sure hope someone can enlighten us

Lazy sunny Saturday morning poking around downtown Springfield; having taken the train from Windsor Locks. Springfield h...
11/23/2019

Lazy sunny Saturday morning poking around downtown Springfield; having taken the train from Windsor Locks. Springfield has some gorgeous architecture

Historic Hartford, Connecticut
11/23/2019

Historic Hartford, Connecticut

This morning I hopped on #CTRail in Windsor Locks for Springfield because I've always wanted to see what you see from the train, having never been north of Windsor Locks on the train. $4 round trip is a great deal. These pictures are a little blurry - hard to stop action at 50+ mph - also because the train up had dirty windows - alas too few riders, but great thing to do. I spent 2 hours poking around downtown before getting on a southbound. Will post some pix and comment on Historic Springfield & Pioneer Valley. #PublicTransportationisFun

Overzealous code compliance is another tactic used by the #ConstructionIndustrialComplex as a battering ram against hist...
11/21/2019
City finds several violations at Greenfield Public Library

Overzealous code compliance is another tactic used by the #ConstructionIndustrialComplex as a battering ram against historic buildings. This is ridiculous. Sadly, whether they knew it or not, Greenfield, Massachusetts recent vote to build a new library is a possible death for this 1798 building designed by America’s first architect - a national treasure now at risk. https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/franklin-county/city-finds-several-violations-at-greenfield-public-library/

A recent evaluation of the city of Greenfield’s public library revealed multiple violations.

I wonder if our Longmeadow Historical Society friends know why the Samuel Colton house was demolished in 1916 and where ...
11/19/2019

I wonder if our Longmeadow Historical Society friends know why the Samuel Colton house was demolished in 1916 and where exactly, along the street, it was. Saw the door and info about it at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston this past weekend. Wish the house had survived

I love #WhateleyInn. Yes it’s old fashioned (I like that). It’s in a historic building (really like that). The menu is u...
11/15/2019

I love #WhateleyInn. Yes it’s old fashioned (I like that). It’s in a historic building (really like that). The menu is unpretentious & every experience we’ve had has been fine. I also associate it with dinners together with my late mentor, hero & friend #AbbottCummings - his preferred place. We’re going for Thanksgiving - their biggest all hands on deck event every year

No one ever critiques funding sources because ya never know when you might want to be on their good side. I am generally...
11/08/2019

No one ever critiques funding sources because ya never know when you might want to be on their good side. I am generally for what Mass Cultural Council does and have served on grant review panels (unnecessary as I think all that process is). They will have NEVER heard a critique like this so let me say this emphasis on "capital projects" - common throughout the govt side of support - is outdated, counter-productive and in many instances has proven destructive to the very orgs it aims to help. Do they know why? Bet not

https://massculturalcouncil.org/blog/new-round-of-cultural-facilities-fund-grants-now-available/

A couple times/year we visit the Bridge of Flowers and I post pix. If it gets too repetitive - tell me to stop. A #Natio...
10/29/2019

A couple times/year we visit the Bridge of Flowers and I post pix. If it gets too repetitive - tell me to stop. A #NationalTreasure

At a distance this looks like a Civil War monument. Its something much rarer -  a granite WW I monument in Hampden, Mass...
10/28/2019

At a distance this looks like a Civil War monument. Its something much rarer - a granite WW I monument in Hampden, Massachusetts. Love the flower pots (or were they fountains?) on each site. The lists of soldiers and battles - could give students something to study and think about. Monuments like this are #civicTreasures

Some of our rural towns are really hurtin'. If you look carefully - you can see how the civic center of Colrain, Massach...
10/23/2019

Some of our rural towns are really hurtin'. If you look carefully - you can see how the civic center of Colrain, Massachusetts WAS really elegant, with two churches, a tavern, a small green and several elegant houses - the epitome of New England town planning at its best. Alas, the tavern was recently demolished, both churches are empty, as are a couple of the houses. Its eerie = and sad.

These are pix from 10 years ago when one of the churches temporarily functioned as a Pizza joint and bar. It was nice. Guess not enough supported it. What's the future for places like this. And yet Mount Snow is 27 miles away and Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts under 7. Ya couldn't buy a one BR room condo at Mt Snow for the price of a good house in Colrain. Nothing is richer spiritually than a strong rural community. I've known so many that have it on

Souvenir of Springfield - a couple years ago.
10/16/2019

Souvenir of Springfield - a couple years ago.

Not from the Pioneer Valley exactly - but close and exactly the kind of thing this region could do. Wonderful as it is, ...
10/10/2019
Inspired by the Berkshires: Notes from the Fall 2019 Symposium in Western Massachusetts

Not from the Pioneer Valley exactly - but close and exactly the kind of thing this region could do. Wonderful as it is, Historic Deerfield is far from the only thing of merit and interest related to art, local history, decorative arts, material culture here in the Pioneer Valley of MA - all things the The Decorative Arts Trust loves. No one does immersion experiences like this better.
http://blog.decorativeartstrust.org/berkshires/

In 1976, Historic Deerfield engaged Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Alumni grad Wes Hardin to write and produce an ...
10/10/2019
Wes Hardin, Choose Your Flag, Historic Deerfield 1976

In 1976, Historic Deerfield engaged Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Alumni grad Wes Hardin to write and produce an album of songs about Deerfield history. What a great idea - an idea I've never seen done better. https://soundcloud.com/billhosley/wes-hardin-choose-your-flag-historic-deerfield-1976

The album of local history related songs written and performed by Wes Hardin - based on Deerfield stories - is one of the great things to come out of that museum. They used it as the sound track for a

Preservation Massachusetts and the The 1772 Foundation, Inc. seem to miss the irony in a grant program that singles out ...
10/01/2019

Preservation Massachusetts and the The 1772 Foundation, Inc. seem to miss the irony in a grant program that singles out #HousesofWorship for neglect. I realize that the #ConstructionIndustrialComplex , whose interests are so often aligned with #historicpreservation ,can't figure out how to make money off of houses of worship. But seriously, is there any category of important architecture more at risk today?

From Preservation Massachusetts: "beginning of the #MassachusettsHistoricalCommission 2020 Survey and Planning Grant cyc...
09/24/2019

From Preservation Massachusetts: "beginning of the #MassachusettsHistoricalCommission 2020 Survey and Planning Grant cycle...eligible ...all local historical commissions, ...municipal planning offices, and other public and non-profit historic preservation organizations ....MHC/Grantee match shares will be 50/50.....grant funds ...a wide range of preservation related activities including: completion of cultural resource inventories, nomination of significant properties to the National Register, completion of community-wide preservation plans, and other types of studies, reports, publications and projects that relate to the identification and protection of significant historic properties and sites. ...Please consider applying for a grant by completing a pre application and returning it to the Massachusetts Historical Commission by Monday, November 18, 2019, 5 p.m. (no faxed or emailed applications accepted). Additional information, guidelines and the pre-application form are available on MHC’s web site at: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhchpp/Surveyandplanning.htm "

A couple comments: What if a local museum or historical society wanted to ramp up #civicengagement with preservation by developing programs and tours, would that qualify? What about #heritagetourism &/or #destinationdevelopment strategies that make local historic resources more sustainable? Does "other ...historic preservation orgs" include #historicalsocieties? I notice that the Texas Historical Commission has 59,000 followers. Why doesn't MHC have a social media presence? Why require (if I have it right) applications to be made via snail mail in 2019?

HP never mattered more than it does today. If you want more info contact grant admin - Michael Steinitz, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer,. Massachusetts Historical Commission - [email protected].

09/04/2019
Norman f**king Rockwell

This is a pretty song that pulls a western Mass icon into another corner of pop culture https://youtu.be/wPt0dGg4BKA

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group Norman f**king Rockwell · Lana Del Rey Norman F**king Rockwell! ℗ A Polydor Records Recording / An Interscope Re...

I pass by the John J Lynch Middle School (1952) building in Holyoke, Massachusetts often and today finally stopped to ta...
08/24/2019

I pass by the John J Lynch Middle School (1952) building in Holyoke, Massachusetts often and today finally stopped to take a couple pictures. I would love to know when and WHY they decided to decommission this wonderful building as a school. It is - in my view - one of the most interesting example of #MidCenturyModern in the Pioneer Valley. Why??? Every architectural treasure we loose chips away at the allure of our places. This is a GREAT building that looks to be in good shape. And don't say asbestos is the reason. It's ridiculous. https://www.masslive.com/news/2018/09/group_opposing_lynch_school_zo.html

https://www.ctinsider.com/local/ctpost/article/Bridgeport-can-learn-from-Springfield-s-14321392.php?sid=5d442cb495a7a13f...
08/18/2019
Bridgeport can learn from Springfield's revitalization

https://www.ctinsider.com/local/ctpost/article/Bridgeport-can-learn-from-Springfield-s-14321392.php?sid=5d442cb495a7a13f902f967d&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ctpost_ctinsider

To the world outside its borders, Bridgeport doesn't have a sterling reputation. On those rare occasions when it's referenced in popular culture, it's in a less than flattering light - like the "Family Guy" episode that ridiculed Bridgeport as "among the world leaders in abandoned buildings, shatter...

Good grief. There is such a thing as too much money. Hope it doesn’t ruin the place. https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.or...
08/18/2019
Exciting News of an Extraordinary Gift – Emily Dickinson Museum

Good grief. There is such a thing as too much money. Hope it doesn’t ruin the place. https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/exciting-news-from-the-museum/

Exciting News of an Extraordinary Gift THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM RECEIVES A $22 MILLION GIFT AS PART OF A $25 MILLION BEQUEST TO AMHERST COLLEGE FROM THE LATE WILLIAM MCC. VICKERY ‘57 The Endowed Gift, the Largest Ever Received by the Museum, is to be Used for the Maintenance and Improvement of I...

Am enjoying reading the (18th c) Diary of Rev. William Bentley of Salem, MA - who made at least one trip to the Pioneer ...
08/13/2019

Am enjoying reading the (18th c) Diary of Rev. William Bentley of Salem, MA - who made at least one trip to the Pioneer Valley:

"The street of Hadley is too wide, & the Church in the middle does not add a good effect….Hatfield less than Northampton, but larger than Deerfield…It is irregular but more agreeable to the view than Northampton. It is however to be noticed that Hatfield has a large spire, painted red up to the wain. The towns which lay near the great towns on the river, are however very unprompted, such as Whately on the road from Hatfield to Deerfield, & from Deerfield to Northfield. This last town is upon the bounds of the Massachusetts. It has a Street, but the houses are placed as upon the bounds of the Massachusetts. It has a Street, but the houses are placed as upon the sides of a Country Road, & the Church stands in the middle….Hindsdale, NH…The best lands are in the possession of rich, & decent farmers. But the common soil is under wretched cultivation, & strewed over with wretched Log houses."

Yankee Candle is the biggest thing to happen in Deerfield since the 1704 French & Indian Raid.  Founder Michael J. Kittr...
08/13/2019

Yankee Candle is the biggest thing to happen in Deerfield since the 1704 French & Indian Raid. Founder Michael J. Kittredge II passed away recently at 67. He started candlemaking - a hippie business - in 1969… By 1997, the company had annual sales of $150 million….HE sold 90% of the company to Forstmann Little & Co. for about $500 million in 1998. They practically invented "entertainment retail". Shopping there is a Disneyesque experience. They used to have a little history exhibit about the company that explained how he learned business and marketing by managing a rock band. So of its time. So great. RIP Valley Boy and business hero.

Am reading "The Diary of William Bentley"  a Salem minister whose blow by blow account of Shay's Rebellion is interestin...
08/12/2019

Am reading "The Diary of William Bentley" a Salem minister whose blow by blow account of Shay's Rebellion is interesting. This is a Pioneer Valley story that had a tremendous influence on the formation of a United States govt and constitution going on at that time

"1786.Insurgents appear in arms at Northampton. Convention of Hampshire at Hadley….Sept. 20. The insurgents surrounded the General Court & beat to arms….crushed the rebellion….The Supreme Court by arms was protected at Springfield insurgents….General Court passes the Riot Act, also an Act of Indemnity. …Habeas Corpus till January….Insurgents in arms make a formidable appearance in Worcester Commanded by one Shays, & one Wheeler….1787. Jany 10. Shays the ostensible head of the insurgents had taken possession of the State Barracks at Rutland….General Sheppard at Springfield fired upon the Insurgents & killed four men….Jany 28. General Lincoln joins Gen. Sheppard at Springfield Jany 28. Gen : Lincoln promises a pardon to all privates, who should lay down their arms, & take the oath of allegiance….Feb* 4. The Insurgents disperse from Petersham, to which place Gen. Lincoln marched from Hadley 30 miles,….The Court declared a Rebellion to exist & on the 9 of Feb* a Proclamation is issued to apprehend, Daniel Shays of Ealham, Luke Day of West Springfield, Adam Wheeler of Hubbard s ton, & Eli Parsons of Adams, offering 150£ for the first, & 100£ for each of the others."

Historic Hartford, Connecticut
07/19/2019

Historic Hartford, Connecticut

#BigSports isn't my thing and I don't like taxpayers being mugged to pay for stadiums so rich team owners can get richer. That said, I understand the value of having a vibrant sports scene, just like local history, the culturals, the arts - parks, libraries, access to nature, a #walkingCity vibe downtown, housing affordable for young families, etc. - all these things make for a stronger place.

So I read this with great interest. WHY NOT #HartfordSpringfield or even #HartfordNewHaven or #HartfordSpringfieldNewHaven this or that - symphonies, convention centers, airports, etc. done regionally.

Put Springfield and Hartford together and they might be able to afford a next level up #SportsScene.

"The Tampa Bay Rays have received permission from Major League Baseball's executive council to explore a plan that could see the team split its home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal….If Montreal sort of loves the Expos, and Tampa sort of loves the Rays, if you smush them together, they’ll make a full season of baseball love….Basketball’s Cincinnati Royals became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings for a stretch in the early 1970s." - WSJ

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