Friday, August 31, 2007

Postcards: The Green, Westfield, Massachusetts

On September 2, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Massachusetts, stopping in Westfield and appearing before a large crowd that had gathered to hear him speak from a platform on the town Green. Although EWM was unable to find a transcript of that speech in time for this posting, perhaps it wasn't much different than the one he gave the same day in Fitchburg which contained this nugget of wisdom:

(Speaking to the Civil War veterans in attendance) "You had to win as the soldiers of Washington had won before you, as we of the younger generation must win if ever the call should be made upon us to face a serious foe. Arms change, tactics change, but the spirit that makes the real soldier does not change. The spirit that makes for victory does not change.

It is just so in civic life. The problems change, but fundamentally the qualities needed to face them in the average citizen are the same. Our new and highly complex industrial civilization has produced a new and complicated series of problems. We need to face those problems and not run away from them. We need to exercise all our ingenuity in trying to devise some effective solution, but the only way in which that solution can be applied is the old way of bringing honesty, courage and common-sense to bear upon it. One feature of honesty and common-sense combined is never to promise what you do not think you can perform, and then never fail to perform what you have promised. And that applies to public life just as much as in private life."

It's no "Speak softly and carry a big stick," the now-famous line which, interestingly enough, Roosevelt had included in his speech exactly one year earlier at the Minnesota State Fair, yet the timeless wisdom of the above passage certainly demonstrates Roosevelt's ability to inspire and exhort the citizenry just as effectively as that better-known quote.

No Presidents will be gracing Westfield with their presence this Labor Day weekend, but that doesn't mean that the Green won't be a source of inspiration for the folks of Westfield just the same, as the 4th Annual "Westfield Arts on the Green" kicks off its "End of Summer Celebration," on Saturday, September 1. Running all three days of the long weekend, the cultural potpourri will be open for public perusal and participation from 9 a.m to 7 p.m. each day. For more information on the event, visit

Here are a few old postcards of Westfield's Green, from the Shaffer Collection, kindly donated to EWM by historian Barbara Shaffer. Thanks Barbara!

Where's the statue of General Shepard? Postmarked January 22, 1909, this postcard was mailed over ten years prior to the erection of the tribute to one of Westfield's most-cherished towns-men and historical figures. The Shepard Monument, located south of the Green, celebrates its 88th birthday this coming Monday, having been originally dedicated on September 3, 1919.

The steeple of the Presbyterian Church can be seen in this postcard. In the 1840s, the area on the east-side of the Green was known as "Rum Row," and was a place where no respectable person desired to be seen, and where citizens concerned for their safety dared not tread after dark.

The Green has been the "Common Ground" for Westfield residents since the 1600s, when it was purchased by some of the city's earliest residents and donated for the use of grazing the livestock of Westfield citizens. Trees were planted on the Green as part of a citizen initiative in the mid-1800s. The "Shade Tree Fund" resulted in Elms being planted on the Green and along the main roads leading to it, giving Elm Street the name it has held since.

On a personal note, I can't pass the Green without thinking of my grandfather, who whiled away many an afternoon toward the end of his years sitting on the bench that faced the Post Office with his cronies, watching the world go by from this special patch of land that has itself seen the centuries roll through from its unique vantage point at the city's core.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

September 2, 2010 - Westfield's Green is getting an extreme makeover! Check out EWM post Westfield's Park Square Gets a(n) (Extreme) Makeover for some photographs from the area, snapped two years apart (2008/2010).

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Photos: The Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield, Mass., September, 1936

In the Fall of 1917, at the dawn of America's involvement in the Great War, back when folks still used a covered wooden bridge to cross the Connecticut river between the urban-industrial clamor of Springfield and the farms and meadows on its verdant West Side, Joshua L. Brooks and 12 others began what has become known as "The Big E," the Eastern States Exposition, an event turned "New England's Autumn Tradition," held annually in the town of West Springfield, Massachusetts. The event's first year saw a total of 138,000 people visiting the 175-acre fairgrounds on Memorial Avenue, viewing exhibits extolling the latest man-made innovations and conveniences and attending agricultural shows of livestock and produce representing six States. Today, the Exposition draws over one million people annually during its 17-day run. Check out the Exposition's web site for more information at:

Here are some photographs of the September, 1936, Eastern States Exposition from the Library of Congress. The captions are from the LOC web site, with my corrections in italics. After all, the Exposition is in West Springfield, not Springfield. Let's give credit where credit is due - and the townspeople of West Springfield certainly deserve a boatload of credit for helping stage an annual event that brings back fond memories for so many of us, and promises to create many more warm reminiscences for generations to come.

Interesting in these photos is the fact that most of the men are dressed in suit coat, shirt and tie, and the majority of them wear hats, which almost certainly were doffed at the proper times, ie. upon initially meeting a lady, or when entering a building. Of course, the women are also dressed to impress in their hats and fine dresses. Even an agricultural fair didn't lend an excuse for the poor manners of sloppy attire back in the day.

"Scrubbing saddle at Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Cattle judging contest at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Cattle experts at the stock show, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Practical exhibition of farm equipment always finds the interested, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Trailer display at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"The trailer finds an important place at the 1936 fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts"

"The dynamometer used in the horse-pulling contest, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Spectators at the horse-pulling contest, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Stable man at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

Here are links to a couple of related EWM posts: The Captain John Potter House, Storrowtown Village, West Springfield, Massachusetts and The Little Red Schoolhouse, Storrowtown Village, West Springfield, Mass.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

More Fairs and Festivals in Western Massachusetts

Photograph Sources:
(Top left) "Carousel Horse," Big E web site.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection; Carl Mydans, Photographer; Sept., 1936; Digital IDs: Photo 1: fsa 8a02763, 2: fsa 8a02784, 3: fsa 8a02778, 4: fsa 8a02766, 5: fsa 8a02770, 6: fsa 8a02769, 7: fsa 8a02793, 8: fsa 8a02798, 9: fsa 8a02786.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Postcards: Hampden County Memorial Bridge

The Hampden County Memorial Bridge has served with steadfastness and grace as a vital link between the east and west banks of the Connecticut river and the town of West Springfield and the city of Springfield for just fifteen years shy of a century now. As a matter of fact, the span recently marked its 85th birthday, traffic first flowing across the bridge on August 3, 1922. According to the Mass. Highway's 'Bridge Data Sheet' regarding the structure: "At the ceremonies held that day, the bridge was dedicated as a memorial to 'those who had died as pioneers, and soldiers in the Revolutionary, Civil and Foreign Wars.'"

Here are a few linen penny postcards of the bridge, circa 1935-1945, from the Robbins family collection, kindly shared with EWM to share with you.

The 1,515 foot-long bridge originally had a street railway line running down its center lane. The magnificent structure was designed by the architectural firm Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, in conjunction with Haven & Hoyt, architects, and its construction was contracted to H. P. Converse & Company, builders, on April 3, 1920. In a testament to the firm's longevity and good reputation, Fay, Spofford & Thorndike were retained as architects again in 1996, during the bridge's rebuild, which was contracted to the construction company, Daniel O'Connell's Sons.

The Memorial Bridge carries traffic across its graceful arches to what appears to be a virtually undeveloped West Springfield in this view. Note the busy New York, New Haven & Hartford Rail Road Company train yards below the bridge. Interstate 91 - which altered the city's waterfront drastically - is still decades away in this postcard. Folks heading into Springfield over the bridge could continue on straight up Bridge Street, east toward Main, or take a left or right onto Water Street, which would bring them north or south, respectively. West Columbus Avenue now follows part of the route Water Street once traveled. Water Street is seen here running parallel to the railroad tracks.

Bustling and burgeoning Springfield, on the east bank of the Connecticut river, is a sharp contrast to the almost pastoral West Side in the last postcard. The Campanile rises majestically over the scene, symbol of citizens' pride and purpose and sense of duty to the city's aesthetic draw and charm. Springfield architect and author, Eugene C. Gardner, gives a prime example of that civic expectation of enhancement and endowment through cultural concrete when he writes in 1905 - a full ten years before the Hampden County Commissioners had even adjourned the first meeting to discuss the construction of a new bridge to replace the nearly century-old wooden covered structure in place at the time:
"In most emphatic terms, a noble bridge declares the courage and skill of its builders, and there is no grander illustration of the beauty of utility than a bridge of scientific construction and scholarly design. In no other artificial construction is there so little occasion for questionable compromise between grace and convenience, between economy and strength, between daily drudgery and perennial delight. Is it likely that Springfield will neglect an opportunity that has been a century in coming? Is it likely that the county, of which Springfield is the capital, will fail to recognize the benefit sure to follow the closer union and more intimate relationship of the parts of which the county is composed?

To say that a bridge should be built across the Connecticut river in this city in the form of a broad avenue, uniting the east and west shores as closely as Main street unites State to the streets and avenues a thousand feet to the north and south, is not a fantastic speculation, a day dream - it is the plainest common sense of the equine variety. To propose anything inadequate in breadth and strength for the multitudinous traffic sure to occupy it twenty-five years hence - fifty years - a century, - is to forget the lesson of the North-end bridge and waste the public funds by temporizing. To affirm that dignity and stateliness, graceful proportions and beauty of detail are necessarily more difficult to attain than their opposites, is to betray disqualifying ignorance."
Gardner was correct, of course. We are indeed fortunate to have such a "noble bridge" in our midst, an integral part of the ebb and flow of the Connecticut River Valley, our very own fine and "grander illustration of the beauty of utility."

Check out EWM post Postcards: The Old Toll Bridge, Springfield, Massachusetts, to learn more about the bridge which was replaced by the Memorial Bridge.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Hike to Doubleday Village

These photographs are from a hike to Doubleday Village, located about halfway between Dana Common and North Dana in Petersham, Massachusetts, and nestled in the valley formed by Whitney Hill to its southeast and Rattlesnake Hill to its northwest.

The East Branch of Fever Brook runs through the village, one of several sacrificed for the construction of Quabbin Reservoir. As a result of the flooding of the Swift River Valley, the mouth of the brook has been pushed back to the eastern shoreline of Quabbin, closer to the village itself. Under the surface of Quabbin, running parallel to the shoreline to the west of Rattlesnake Hill, is the bed of the East Branch of Fever Brook. It connects with the sunken streambed of the West Branch of Fever Brook under the reservoir between Rattlesnake Hill and the extreme southern tip of North Dana peninsula. Before Quabbin, the West Branch of Fever Brook met the Middle Branch of the Swift River between the southern tip of the west side of the North Dana peninsula and the northern tip of Mt. Zion.

According to UMass Professor and diver Ed Klekowski in the documentary "Under Quabbin," the currents of the rivers under Quabbin still have an effect on water movement and even riverbed erosion, as evidenced by an abandoned and forgotten dump off the North Dana peninsula shoreline discovered and filmed by divers exploring the depths of the reservoir. Apparently the dump, located on the Middle Branch of the Swift River, was covered at the time of the valley's flooding and had only been exposed after many years of the river's unstoppable current washing over it.

The harnessable power of water current was no secret to the early settlers of the Swift River Valley. Beginning in the mid-18th century mills were built on the many rivers and streams in the area, for sawing wood, grinding grain and shaping steel, among other useful things.

The East Branch of Fever Brook has two sites where the remains of mills, known as the Doubleday Mills after the family that the village is also named after, can be seen.

The upper mill site is located where the East Branch of Fever Brook intersects the road heading west that connects the old Monson Turnpike to Doubleday Road. You can't miss it on the north side of the road. It's actually a very beautiful spot on the brook, which widens out on the south side of the road. Chances are excellent you'll see a blue heron in there somewhere.

The lower mill site is closer to the shoreline of Quabbin. Walking on Doubleday road heading toward the shoreline (southwest), the road to the second mill ruins will be on your right, not very far before the water's edge. This mill can also be reached via the north-south road that runs parallel to Rattlesnake Hill, on its east side. When the brook is low, you can cross by stepping on the old stones of the mill's foundation. This is handy if you want to hike a loop.

There were at least six homes along Doubleday Road in the area of the lower mill site. The Doubleday Village Common was located not far north of the mill site and can be seen today as a clearing in the woods.

The island looking across and southwest from the end of Doubleday Road at the Quabbin Shoreline is Leveau Island. Doubleday Road, traveling west, passed Leveau to the south on its way to connecting with the Monson Turnpike at the base of the east side of Mt. Zion.

Doubleday Village, like many Quabbin hiking destinations, can be reached a number of ways. I hiked there via the Federated Women's Club State Forest in Petersham. Gate 37 is another entry point. Both are north of the village. Both spots can be accessed off the south side of Route 122, between Routes 32a and 202.

My best advice is to get yourself a topographical map of the area. There are many roads in this particular area, most of them long and without a lot of connecting points in between. A wrong turn could mean a very bad day hiking. I use a simple map I grabbed off the internet and laminated with some stuff I had laying around. Some say cheap, I say frugal.

I started my hike from the Federated Womens Club State Forest in Petersham, where I was camping. This is the West Branch of the Fever Brook at sunrise.

The connecting road between the old Monson Turnpike and Doubleday Road heading southeast.

The old foundation of the Hannafin family home, local farmers. The Foster's lived next door, between the Hannafin farm and the East Branch of Fever Brook.

Some days are better than others.

This is what remains of the upper Doubleday Mill site on the East Branch of Fever Brook.

A different view of the ruins of the upper Doubleday Mill Site.

The East Branch of Fever Brook looking south from the upper Doubleday Mill site.

'Nuf said.

A photo hike of Quabbin isn't complete without at least one stone wall photo.

One of the old foundations on Doubleday Road.

The end of Doubleday Road heading southwest. Leveau Island is across the narrow stretch of water.

Looking northwest from the end of Doubleday Road. The North Dana peninsula is across the water on the right hand side. Mt. L is behind the little island on the left. In the far background between the two is Prescott peninsula. The Prescott peninsula is off limits to the public and is home to the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory.

An old pipe near the end of Doubleday Road. Quabbin was very low when these photos were taken in 2002.

The remains of the lower Doubleday Mill dam on the East Branch of Fever Brook.

Looking down from the old dam of the lower Doubleday Mill site.

The mouth of the East Branch of Fever Brook.

Looking west from ridge above the mouth of the East Branch of Fever Brook. Mt. L is in the distance on the right, Leveau Island is on the left.

The Doubleday Village common.

An old open well.

The mouth of the West Branch of Fever Brook from Monson Turnpike Road, pretty much completing our circle.

To find maps of the Quabbin and Central and Western Massachusetts, check out the EWM page Trails, Rails & Roads: Maps.

For more about Quabbin history, take a look at the EWM exclusive The Quabbin Chronology.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Westfield's Blessed Sacrament Parish Breaks New Ground

Bread and earth will be broken at a special outdoor Mass presided over by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell today to bless the construction of the new Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church and Chapel on Holyoke Road in Westfield. The new church will replace the parish's former structure on the corner of North Elm and Union Streets, recently razed to make way for a second bridge being built across the Westfield River. Church pastor, the Rev. Daniel S. Pacholec, and former pastor, the Rev. Hugh Crean, will join the bishop in offering the 10 a.m. Mass at the Parish Center, 127 Holyoke Road.

When this photo was taken in April of 2007, the church had been standing vacant almost two years, having been abandoned to the Great River Bridge Project in June of 2005. The parish has had a somewhat restless history, holding its first Mass above O. B. Parks store, on the second floor of 55 North Elm Street, on May 29, 1910. The recently-demolished church building was originally located at the corner of North Elm and Princeton Streets, with a ground-breaking held there on August 15, 1910. The church was moved south, to the corner of North Elm and Union Streets in 1920.

The demolition of Blessed Sacrament Church took place at the end of July 2007. The lot the church had occupied for the past 87 years was purchased from Dr. James B. Atwater, and his home - seen here in the background - was utilized as the church rectory. Westfield marble was used in the construction of three of the home's fireplaces. The razing of the church was an emotional event for parishioners, who gathered to watch, talk and take photos during the demolition of the building they had known as their spiritual home for many years.

'Til only the spirit remains... A vacant lot belies the spot where once souls were filled.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Legend: "The White Deer of Onota"

Mystical tales of the natural world mixing with the supernatural - ethereal awakenings erasing the boundaries of stone and river, reason and intellect - creep like fingers of fog off the western ridges: Aeries of soaring legend, misty nests of cosmic truth. The Berkshires are laced with the stories of man and myth. One of the most well-known tales is the legend of the White Deer of Onota. 'Tis a cautionary tale, to be sure.

Here is the story, 'The White Deer of Onota,' as taken from the book 'Tales of Puritan Land; Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, Vol. 4,' written by Charles M. Skinner (1852-1907).


Beside quiet Onota, in the Berkshire Hills, dwelt a band of Indians, and while they lived here a white deer often came to drink. So rare was the appearance of an animal like this that its visits were held as good omens, and no hunter of the tribe ever tried to slay it. A prophet of the race had said, "So long as the white doe drinks at Onota, famine shall not blight the Indian's harvest, nor pestilence come nigh his lodge, nor foeman lay waste his country." And this prophecy held true. That summer when the deer came with a fawn as white and graceful as herself, it was a year of great abundance. On the outbreak of the French and Indian War a young officer named Montalbert was despatched to the Berkshire country to persuade the Housatonic Indians to declare hostility to the English, and it was as a guest in the village of Onota that he heard of the white deer. Sundry adventurers had made valuable friendships by returning to the French capital with riches and curiosities from the New World. Even Indians had been abducted as gifts for royalty, and this young ambassador resolved that when he returned to his own country the skin of the white deer should be one of the trophies that would win him a smile from Louis.

He offered a price for it--a price that would have bought all their possessions and miles of the country roundabout, but their deer was sacred, and their refusal to sacrifice it was couched in such indignant terms that he wisely said no more about it in the general hearing. There was in the village a drunken fellow, named Wondo, who had come to that pass when he would almost have sold his soul for liquor, and him the officer led away and plied with rum until he promised to bring the white doe to him. The pretty beast was so familiar with men that she suffered Wondo to catch her and lead her to Montalbert. Making sure that none was near, the officer plunged his sword into her side and the innocent creature fell. The snowy skin, now splashed with red, was quickly stripped off, concealed among the effects in Montalbert's outfit, and he set out for Canada; but he had not been many days on his road before Wondo, in an access of misery and repentance, confessed to his share of the crime that had been done and was slain on the moment.

With the death of the deer came an end to good fortune. Wars, blights, emigration followed, and in a few years not a wigwam was left standing beside Onota.

There is a pendant to this legend, incident to the survival of the deer's white fawn. An English hunter, visiting the lake with dog and gun, was surprised to see on its southern bank a white doe. The animal bent to drink and at the same moment the hunter put his gun to his shoulder. Suddenly a howl was heard, so loud, so long, that the woods echoed it, and the deer, taking alarm, fled like the wind. The howl came from the dog, and, as that animal usually showed sagacity in the presence of game, the hunter was seized with a fear that its form was occupied, for the time, by a hag who lived alone in the "north woods," and who was reputed to have appeared in many shapes--for this was not so long after witch times that their influence was forgotten.

Drawing his ramrod, the man gave his dog such a beating that the poor creature had something worth howling for, because it might be the witch that he was thrashing. Then running to the shanty of the suspected woman he flung open her door and demanded to see her back, for, if she had really changed her shape, every blow that he had given to the dog would have been scored on her skin. When he had made his meaning clear, the crone laid hold on the implement that served her for horse at night, and with the wooden end of it rained blows on him so rapidly that, if the dog had had half the meanness in his nature that some people have, the spectacle would have warmed his heart, for it was a prompt and severe revenge for his sufferings. And to the last the hunter could not decide whether the beating that he received was prompted by indignation or vengeance.

The Legend of Wahconah Falls on EWM.

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Photo: Onota Lake, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

"Glimpse of Onota Lake. Pittsfield, Mass." (c. 1905-15)

More on EWM: Postcards : Berkshire County Lakes and Ponds.

Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, Digital ID: det 4a23825

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Photos: State Street, Springfield, Massachusetts

A good source to check occasionally for upcoming local history happenings is the Springfield Museums' web site, specifically the "In the News..." page.

Here are some old photographs of the area of State Street near the library and museums, scanned from the 1905 book, Springfield Present and Prospective, published by Pond & Campbell.

The Springfield Public Library on State Street was completed in 1871. In 1892, the edifice was renamed "The William Rice Building," after the librarian who had by then spent over three decades as Springfield's steward of letters, starting in 1861. The City Library Association had been formed only four years earlier, their book collection housed in a borrowed room at city hall beginning in 1857. A bronze tablet displayed at the entrance to the library commemorated the dedication with these words:
"This building erected in 1871 on land given by George Bliss with money contributed by Springfield citizens stimulated by the zeal of John L. King and Daniel L. Harris, the first two presidents of the City Library Association, was by vote of the directors May 10, 1892, named


in honor of the man who as librarian from 1861 to 1897 devoted thirty-six years of enthusiastic service to his native city in the development of a great educational institution for the free use of all the people."
In January, 1912, as a result of an endowment of $200,000 from Andrew Carnegie and the generosity of Springfield citizens, the current library building opened, replacing a beautiful structure that had become too small to house the food stores of Springfield's literary appetite.

Located directly across the street from Merrick Park, at the corner of State and Maple, is the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company building, which opened its doors for business at this location on July 3, 1905. Seven private estates were purchased and razed to make way for the structure. Prior to its State Street move, the company, incorporated in 1851, had its headquarters on the corner of Fort and Main Streets. The building now serves as home to Springfield's School Department. The Church of the Unity, opened in 1869, is next door, opposite the city library, which is adjacent to Merrick Park. The cupola of the old high school is visible a little further east up State Street.

This photo by E. J. Lazelle was taken sometime after 1874, the year the Springfield High School was built, located conveniently across the street from the city library. The county jail, having been replaced by the jail on York Street in 1887, was eventually demolished to make way for the "new" Central High School, which was built on the site in 1898 to meet the city's growing demands for classroom space. The high school in the photo was then utilized for the younger grades, and was known as State Street Grammar School. The jail was erected on land purchased by the county in 1814 for $500, and was built thereabouts at a cost of $14,164.

The "new" Central High School has taken the place of the old county jail in this A. D. Copeland photograph, snapped sometime around 1905, which was the year the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company's new building was opened, visible down the road a ways looking west - or to the right in the photo. In 1922, a 115 foot-long annex was built on the west end of the building, the addition becoming the Junior High School. In 1934, the name of the school was changed, and "Central" became "Classical" High School. The school closed in 1986 and has been converted to luxury condominiums.

A horse car from the Springfield Street Railway Company's State and Main Street route, circa 1870s. The Railway Company was incorporated on March 16, 1868. Its cars were electrified in 1890.

For more Springfield history, check out EWM's, The Springfield Chronology: Settlement to City, a time line of the city's past.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

First and second photographs by Clifton Johnson. Fifth photo by E. J. Lazelle.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Spine of the City: Westfield's Great River Bridge

In the wake of the tragic, and, according to current information, avoidable, I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis August 1, more regular folks are starting to look around and question the integrity of the infrastructure that carries us about our everyday business. Until now, most of us took as a matter of course that the powers-that-be we hired or elected to be in charge of such things were making sure that everything was hunky-dory. It's a shame that it takes a catastrophe to wake up to the realization that everything has a shelf-life, from bread to bridges, though it is no new lesson that, without the proper care, the life-span of just about anything on this planet is dramatically altered.

The Great River Bridge Project in Westfield, Mass., couldn't have begun in a more timely fashion. The second bridge joining the north and south sides of the city that is currently under construction will allow upon its completion the ability to refurbish the existing up-river span, which is approaching its 70th year. The upgrade is definitely a necessity for the tired old bridge. Walking across it during busy traffic times, one gets the sensation of experiencing an earthquake, the constant shaking and deck movement caused by the vehicles crossing over undoubtedly a factor that must take its toll on the truss-style structure. I admittedly got a little nervous as a pedestrian once, when I noticed a large hole in the sidewalk on the northwest side of the bridge that I could actually look through and see to the ground below. Yikes. The last time I took a walk that way, the hole was patched.

Here are a few photos of the Great River Bridge.

Rust never sleeps. In service for seven decades, the bridge has certainly earned a face lift and lighter load.

Traffic on the bridge taken from the southwestern side. These photos were snapped shortly after this past Spring's flooding.

It appears that folks may be living under the bridge, a haphazard camp site complete with shopping cart, bedding and fire-ring in evidence on the southern bank of the river. You can see the shopping cart near the bridge pylon on the right. One can only imagine how it got down there, with no paved roads leading to that particular area.

She ain't pretty, but she sure beats a ferry...

For more on the Great River Bridge Project, check out the earlier EWM posts: Crossing Into the Future: The Great River Bridge Project Progresses, and Westfield Steps Forward.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

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