Saturday, August 29, 2009

Map: Bird's-eye View of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1899

Pittsfield was eight years a city when this bird's-eye view map was published by A. M. Van de Carr in South Schodack, N. Y., in 1899. Printed by the Weed-Parsons Printing Co. of Albany, N. Y., the map is not drawn to scale, but does include a numbered directory of Pittsfield places of interest.

The city's distinctive Park Square, fed by a quartet of streets named sensibly after the four points of the compass is seen in the lower center-right of the map. For folks interested in learning a little more about the city, captioned images of the square captured over a century ago - just around the time this map was published - can be seen in the EWM post: Photographs: The Spokes of Park Square, Pittsfield, Massachusetts (c1900-1920).

For optimal viewing, you may prefer to save this image to your computer for perusal in your favorite photo program. This map (and many others) can also be found online at the Library of Congress, in the Map Collections section of the American Memory project. And, of course, there is the ever-available EWM page, Trails, Rails and Roads: Western Mass. Maps, where you will find links to this map and similar others, as well as current local maps and popular map sites like Google maps and Map Quest.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Map source:

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The Federal Writers' Project: Adam Laboda, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Pens struck idle during the Great Depression were set to scratching again courtesy of the U. S. government's Works Progress Administration and its Federal Writers' Project, vehicles designed to inject 5 billion dollars into the hurting country's economy in 1934's version of the current experiment, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Unemployed writers fanned out in search of the stories stored like treasure in the soul of America. Her people spoke and shared and went back to the business of living and dying, leaving a few breaths of words strung into sentences transcribed by authors happy to have the work...the thrill of a byline most likely usurped by the promise of a comfortable meal.

Here are the words of Polish-American mill-worker Adam Laboda of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, recorded by Clair Perry a couple of weeks before Christmas, 1938. Mr. Laboda's story and many others have been digitized by the Library of Congress and are presented at its American Memory web site, in the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 section.

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TITLE: Polish Textile Worker - Adam Laboda

WRITER: Clair Perry

ADDRESS: Pittsfield, Massachusetts

DATE: December 12, 1938

SUBJECT: Living Lore

Adam Laboda is a square faced genial man about fifty-five years old. Of Polish descent, he has been naturalized for many years. He is an expert spinner employed by the Berkshire Woolen and Worsted Company. About fifteen years ago, he purchased a five tenement wooden block on the Onota Street hill where he lives. His grown son and a daughter in her late teens live with their parents. Mrs. Laboda is a dark eyed, quiet woman evidently very proud of her family and particularly of her son although she is reluctant to be drawn into the conversation.

Both Mr. Laboda's children attended high school. The son who accompanied his father to Poland last summer works in the same factory as his father. The Labodas are known as a thrifty, hard-working family, well-liked by friends and neighbors. Mr. Laboda was dressed carefully in good street clothes when called upon following his work which ends at 3:15 p.m.

"I was born in the village of Zowisezbie, near Tarnow. I was the oldest son of nine boys and two girls and we had a farm of what is about 20 acres, America; our acres equal 2 3/4 of those here. My family of eleven persons lived in a two room house, such as a log cabin that you have, with a straw thatched roof and a great brick stove for heat and an iron range for cooking. It was whitewashed up to the eaves, the logs chinked with clay to keep out cold and wind. Our older people lived in one room cabins but the law would not allow any less than two rooms to be built at that time. The roof is now shingled with clay made like bricks or tile. I was in Poland last summer and took more than 200 pictures. I will show you some."

Mr. Laboda brought out a fine collection of snapshots, including one of the neat, white cottage where he was born with its thatched roof and another showing it with the tile roof, still another was of the home of a brother who still lives nearby in a larger frame house with wood-shingled roof and trim chimneys.

"We worked the farm together and raised everything from wheat to vegetables and had cattle and pigs and geese and ducks and chickens. You can see the fence," pointing to one of the snapshots, "that we made by sticking posts in the ground and weaving slender willow saplings in and out to keep the poultry and pigs in their yards. Those white things are sheets drying on bushes and fences."

"We made our own butter and cheeses, threshed our own grain, slaughtered our own pigs. Here is a picture of a reaping machine in the field."

The photo showed a type of reaper used in America forty years ago. The grain had to be bound by hand into sheaves after being cut and withes of the straw were used to bind them. Mr. Laboda and the interviewer exchanged memories of farm work, such as the agonizing labor of 'shocking up' barley, with its sharp beards that cut the wrists to rawness and bleeding and dug into the skin wherever the clothing was tight, so that one must work with his shirt outside his trousers and preferably sockless.

"I went to school for eight years, two of them the same as junior high school in America. I studied German two years and could speak it but not much now. There are many Germans in Poland today."

"Our life on the farm was not easy but it was not too harsh. We lived comfortably by all working together, our family. But I had an uncle in Syracuse who wrote us about America and so a party of 14 boys from around our village was made up, with a man for a leader, to go to America. We took train and traveled two days to Bremen, there we took ship and voyaged for 12 days. The boys were all from 14 to 16 years of age. This was in the great emigration period from 1890 to 1902 about. I remember we landed in New York harbor on April 2, and then went up the river to Albany on another boat and took train to Gilbertsville, Massachusetts, where there are big woolen mills. I had a friend there and I got a job in the spinning room. I had worked in a mill in Germany about two weeks, one time, but had gone back to the farm before I came to America."

"The thing that seemed strangest to us boys when we came to America were the black people, you know, the Negroes. We saw many of them in New York and some on the river boat to Albany and we could not understand why there would be black people here."

"In Gilbertsville all we boys went to work and rented rooms from Polish people who lived in company houses. Four boys to a room at $3 each a month and we bought our own food and cooked it. We earned to start with $2.77 a week and worked 64 hours a week, then we got up to $4.76 a week and for a year it was $4.64. It cost only four cents a loaf for bread and four cents a pound for meat but we had no chance to go to shows or anything; we could just squeeze by as they say now. After nine years I was earning $8.12 a week and I had got ahead faster than some of the older men who got only $5.08 a week. Our best fun was dancing in the houses and then the company built a dance hall for us so that it cost nothing to dance. There were girls living there, working in the mills, too, Polish girls who were nice."

"In 1908 I went back to Poland to see my people. My father was very sick and he wanted me to marry and have the wedding before he died. Well, that did not look so good. I did not want to marry a girl in Poland for I wanted to go back to America and I was afraid I would be kept there but I knew a girl from Gilbertsville who had gone home to a place near our village before me and so I said to my father, 'All right I will get married then.' I went to see her, this girl, and she said 'Yes' because she knew me quite well and so on October 8, 1908, we were married and on November 12, we were back in America and glad of it. I had a good job and a good wife. I was 23 years old. I came to Pittsfield then and got work in the Berkshire Woolen and have been with them since, always as a spinner."

"I went back to Poland this last summer, leaving here June 22 and returning August 20. I visited four of my brothers and a sister. You see, it is the thing in Poland for a farmer's family to leave the youngest son at home to care for the old folks and when they die he gets the farm for his own. It is a sort of tradition, and my youngest brother now owns the farm. He has kept it up as well as you can see from the pictures. But I should not want to live there; I am more glad that I came to America. It is a great country."

"The greatest moment of my life was in Poland when I went to the first mass said by my godson, a nephew, in his church in Poland. I was the guest of honor, you see; everything was done for me to welcome me. I was not called a Polack, I was always called an American and it made me very proud. They had big banquet at the parish house and another, later, at the priest's home and little girls in costume sang songs and made speeches of welcome to me and then I visited the graves of my father and mother. I also went to see a man whom I had known in school who was now a member of Parliament. He had returned to school as a grown man to study German. His name is Jacob Bojho, and he is now 90 years old. He is called a Marshal or Senator. He wears many decorations and he sat in the first Parliament after Poland was restored. The country has been twice torn apart, once by the Russians and once by Germany. I found that the lower class people, the poor ones think that Hitler is all right. I talked with many German people in Poland about it and I had a two hours talk with a professor at Cracow University who told me that a man like Franklin D. Roosevelt is born only about every 50 years and that what Europe needs is a Roosevelt to join the nations peaceably and help them to get over their troubles. The poor German people have been given work so that they can eat and they like Hitler for that. They say he is a great man but the higher classes, the richer ones, the government classes (in Poland) do not like him. They are afraid of him and of the independence of Poland of which they are very jealous. The Poles are proud of their country. They are fighters, too, and will fight to preserve their autonomy."

"I traveled around Poland on an excursion train for 15 days. It cost but $19 for the whole trip and I visited Cracow and Warsaw and other large cities and talked with many persons. I found them all believing that Roosevelt is the sort of man that they should have if they could find one. They do not want a dictator there in Poland."

"We will come out of this depression here in America yes, indeed; things look very much better now. Our plant is running well and often night and day. It was not wiped out like those other textile mills here that went under, because the Berkshire Woolen turned quickly to making cheaper cloth which is in demand and many patterns. Then, too, Mr. Noonan (the present manager and chief owner) was a labor man, himself, from north Ireland and he knew how to treat his people. So did Mr. Savery, who is dead. He was a fine man. I knew him well."

"I do not belong to any union. I did not belong to the United Textile Workers which was here years ago. It has gone out of business here. The C.I.O. is trying to organize but I do not know how much they are getting ahead, not much. The company treats its workers well. No, they did not have any old age pension before the law. I like the Social Security law very well, indeed. But in Poland we have a different one that is for unemployment, there everyone gets paid when he cannot work, and they have government inspectors who inquire why one does not work and if he doesn't want to work he does not get anything, but if he cannot find it or is unable, he is paid. His case is studied by a committee of three, one from the Government, one from the workers and a neutral one."

"In that way everyone gets paid not for just a few weeks as here but so long as he cannot find work or is unable to work. It is a good law."

"I will tell you about what happened to those 14 Polish boys who came to America together. Four of them committed suicide, one shot himself, one hung himself, one took poison, one drowned himself. There is one who is a big contractor in Buffalo, another who has a large store in Boston. The four who killed themselves had left the church and took to drinking and that finished them. The rest are working something like me."

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As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

More local stories from the Federal Writer's Project on EWM:

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Photographs: Forest Park at the Turn of the 20th Century

Springfield's Forest Park is truly a precious gem in the New England crown of beauty that is Western Massachusetts. Lakes and lotus, ball fields and brooks: Forest Park is a lush, alive, green-carpeted public playground with endless virtual trail heads ready to explore scattered throughout, all leading one into the magical pop-up book pages of recreation imagination. This is the place to see dinosaur tracks trapped in Holyoke shale tens of millions of years ago or to experience the sights and smells of a Victorian rose garden masterfully crafted in 19th century style. The spot for a train ride or a visit to the zoo. It is the setting for movable feasts in picnic groves alive with the voices of past and present. 'Tis a place to be proposed to, and a place to marry. Forest Park is indeed a jewel of many facets, each a joy to discover.

The following images were scanned from the 1905 book, Springfield Present and Prospective, which was written by several notable city residents, including Eugene C. Gardner, Edwin Dwight and Alfred M. Copeland, published by Springfield publishers, Pond & Campbell, and printed by the F. A. Bassette Company, which still does business in the city. Unfortunately, although the photographer is noted for each image in the book's list of illustrations, the date each photograph was shot is not. Circa 1905 or less than is what we'll have to go with for a blanket description. The captions in quotes below each photograph are from the book, the photographers in parentheses.

"Entering Forest Park." (Clifton Johnson)

Be it 1905 or 2005, a child's enthusiastic anticipation of an outing is timeless. Today, tomorrow, a mother will bring her children to Forest Park...and memories will be made.

"Drives and Promenades in Animal Section at Forest Park." (D. J. Bordeaux)

The Zoo at Forest Park has had a long and successful tradition of putting smiles on the faces of its visitors, young and old alike. According to the Park Commissioner's Report of 1894:

"Our Forest Park family has prospered abundantly throughout the year, and our zoological and ornithological departments have become one of the institutions of the park. As yet not a dollar has been expended in the purchase of birds or animals, but by the generous contributions of friends this department of the park has grown to pretentious proportions...[E]very donor may be assured that their thoughtfulness was thousands of children, who have been interested and instructed in these varied forms of animal life."

Presented by the Forest Park Zoological Society, the Zoo maintains that tradition to this day by offering informative and fun exotic and domestic animal exhibits lovingly sustained by volunteers, donors and a hard-working, dedicated zoo staff.

To learn more, visit the zoo's website at

"The Wading Pond at Forest Park." (Clifton Johnson)

Here's an interesting piece on the origin of Forest Park's old wading pond from the magazine American Gardening, Vol. XXIV, October 3, 1903:


Edited for American Gardening by G. A. PARKER, Hartford, Conn.

The First Wading Pool

Last Tuesday, September 29, was the twentieth anniversary of the organization of the Board of Commissioners of Springfield, Mass. Twenty years ago Forest Park was small as compared with its present size of nearly five hundred acres, and the beginnings were makings of that work which has since made it one of the noted parks of the United States.

Those days were the commencement of park making in the smaller cities, and money was not so liberally voted for park purposes as now. This commission found itself with a desire for a large park, but with the means for a small one. They obtained more acres by gift than they did by purchase, and adopted a unique method for further addition to their territory. Friends of the park bought and held in trust such lands as were needed and then let it be known, as an open secret, that these lands would be cut up into such sized lots as were wanted and sold at cost to those who desired to buy and give to the park. Each park report since includes a map showing by different colors and figures lands given by all the donors, making it, as it were, a monumental record to them.

Pioneers who would originate such a scheme as this could be depended upon to take advantage of the unusual and desirable in the development of their work, and so these men gave not only to Forest Park but to many another park the wading pool, which is the delight of many a youngster born since that time. It came about in this wise: In 1884, the year following the beginning of the work at Forest Park, a road was being built down through the valley, which required much filling material. To obtain this filling they carted off the top of a hill.

Now, away back in that time, when the glaciers were sliding down the Connecticut Valley, and later, when what is now Springfield was the bottom of a vast lake, whose waters flowed above the Holyoke dam, being held back by a ledge at Middletown, there was a small Niagara. In those far-back ages the ice and the water were making our beautiful Connecticut Valley, and among the things which they made then were pocket-holes, round and deep, and they made also clay hills and ridges in the valley, and on top of some of these hills they made pocket-holes, more or less deep, but the pocket-hole which they made on top of the hill in Forest Park was saucer-like in form, very broad and shallow and water-tight. This basin-like depression was afterward filled with sand and loam and acted like a great sponge.

It was on top of this saucer-topped clay hill, filled with an earth sponge, that the contractor began to take the sand for the filling of the valley road. He dug down below the rim of the saucer and the water from the remainder of the earth's sponge settled into the shallow hole and refused to soak away. Now, from pre-historic times children have delighted to paddle in pools, and the Springfield children were not slow in using the pool caused by the digging—a delight to them but a nuisance to the contractor, who would have drained out the water and destroyed the pool but for the sagacity of the Park Commissioners, who recognized the pleasure of the children in wading and playing in shallow water, and had the courage to give that simple childish act an official standing, and thus the wading pool was created, a gift not only to Forest Park, but to all parks throughout the world. How many wading pools have been made since I do not know. I have a record of about twenty, the last being at Watertown, N. Y. Their number is steadily increasing. Had the Park Commissioners of Springfield, nineteen years ago, said: "Drain off the water and make a lawn, as we have already planned," it is probable there would not be a wading pool in any park today.

"Baseball at Forest Park." (Clifton Johnson)

Besides boasting the country's first wading pool, Forest Park is also noted for hosting the first public boccie courts in the nation. Some of the other athletic activities available at the park are: basketball, tennis (including clay courts), shuffleboard, lawn bowling, an outdoor work-out area, an indoor ice-skating rink and, of course, baseball. There is also hiking, cycling and, when the snow flies, sledding and cross-country skiing.

This photograph - taken when Old Glory flapping overhead had just 45 stars - is amazing in so many different ways. Everyone wearing a hat, the parasols and fashion, the bicycles strewn around, the ballplayers. But what is most amazing is that the scene is not much different from what can be observed during a baseball game at the park in 2009. Change the outfits and lose the umbrellas and America's past-time enters the 21st century without missing a pitch. Indeed, many of the White Pine trees in the background of the photograph still stand as border and shade to the playing fields, planted by park benefactor and enthusiast Everett H. Barney himself over one-hundred years ago.

"Lakes in Forest Park." (D. J. Marsh)

Fed by Pecousic Brook, Forest Park contains more than thirty acres of lakes and ponds, including Fountain Lake (5.8 acres), Duck and Barney Ponds (around 2 acres each), the diminutive three-quarter of an acre Swan Pond, and the largest, man-made Porter Lake, itself nearly 24 acres.

Many times names are given to buildings and bridges, waterways and widgets, but memories fade with the turning of days and the footprints of those passed shadows cast fill with dust and lives are forgotten. Porter Lake is so-called in honor of Sherman D. Porter, a man whose life, though long and illustrious, ended tragically.

Porter was born August 4, 1833. At the age of twenty, in 1853, he began working for the Kibbe, Crane & Co., as a teamster delivering product for the Springfield, Mass., candy wholesaler. By 1864, Mr. Porter had become a partner in the firm - renamed Kibbe Brothers & Company - along with Edwin McElwain and George A. Kibbe. The Kibbe family's involvement in the concern ended in 1887 with the death of Horace Kibbe. Porter became company president in 1890, the same year the company moved from Main Street to its new five-story location on Harrison Avenue. Porter was also active in city affairs, serving as an alderman in 1888.

On the afternoon of August 26, 1913, Mr. Porter (now 80) and his wife, Elizabeth (73), were returning to Springfield after a trip to Greenfield, passengers in a Knox limousine piloted by chauffeur Fred W. Bennett. They would get as far as South Deerfield's Bryant's Crossing, the same distance that the White Mountain Express passenger train rumbling south on the Boston & Maine railroad tracks would travel that day before slamming at sixty miles-per-hour into the Porter's limousine, carrying the couple 250 to 275 feet before depositing their lifeless bodies next to each other track side. It was their 52nd wedding anniversary.

Sherman D. Porter was generous in his will, leaving significant sums to Springfield Hospital, the Mason-Wright Foundation and the town of East Longmeadow, among others. The $10,000 he bequeathed the city of Springfield "[T]o be expended...on public parks" was used to construct Porter Lake on land donated to the city in 1918 by James Burbank.

For some Lewis Hines' photographs documenting child labor at the Kibbe candy factory in 1910 Springfield, check out the past EWM post: Commerce & Industry: The Kibbe Candy Kids (1910).

"Forest Park Lily Ponds." (D. J. Bordeaux)

Although it was the generosity of Orick H. Greenleaf who inspired the creation of Forest Park with his original 65-acre land donation to the city of Springfield in 1884, Everett Hosmer Barney is the man most associated with the park today, and rightly so: Barney's interest in horticulture blessed the park grounds with an array of trees, shrubs and flowers unsurpassed in the nation and perhaps at one time, the world. Importing plants from all over the globe, Barney brought to Springfield beauty to be shared with all, including several varieties of lotus and a rainbow of water lilies presented for public pleasure in well-placed ponds and blooming with color all summer long. Still.

"A Shad Tree at Forest Park." (E. J. Lazelle)

Indigenous to the park, this Shad tree and thirty-eight other local tree species shared growing space throughout the 425 acres the park comprised in 1894 with one-hundred and eight other non-native species introduced by Everett H. Barney. Types of trees growing naturally included white birch, sugar maple, weeping willow and wild black cherry. Transplants, hailing from several different countries, made up a plethora of flora. Chinese white magnolia, European ash, Japanese cypress and English elm all could be found within the borders of the now 735-acre park courtesy of the work and funding of Mr. Barney.

For more on the plants of Forest Park, a list of animals in the zoo and wild birds that frequented the park at the turn of the twentieth century, the 1894 Park Commissioner's Report published online at Google books is a handy tool. Here's the link:

"The Winding Pecowsic." (E. J. Lazelle)

Spring-fed Pecousic Brook wanders and winds its way into Forest Park via a twisted, turning run through parts of East Longmeadow and Longmeadow, finally draining into the Connecticut River to join her waters on the journey south to Long Island Sound.

"Forest Park Sheep On Their Way to Pasture." (D. J. Bordeaux)

It's highly unlikely that a modern visitor to Forest Park will ever see a flock of sheep grazing in its fields. Indeed, when this photograph was taken over a hundred years ago, there was still an active bear den within the borders of the park.

Some of the quadrupedal animals that one might encounter on Forest Park trails are squirrels (red, grey, black and flying), fox, skunks, 'possums, raccoons, coyotes, chipmunks, porcupines, fishers and white-tailed deer. In the air, be on the lookout for cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, nuthatches, chickadees, goldfinch, woodpeckers, hawks, heron, turkey vultures, and even the occasional osprey or bald eagle. Oh, and ducks, lots of ducks: Bring bread. Speaking of water... The ponds and streams of the park are also teeming with life. Polliwogs, frogs, turtles, salamanders and several species of fish are all part of the soup. Even the triangle-floater mussel has found Forest Park favorable to call home.

So, while you might not see sheep or bears on your visit, you are bound to see an abundance of other furry, finned and feathered creatures as you traverse the park's hills and dales, fields and swales. But if you do see a bear, just remember this safety tip: It's not a good idea to try to outrun one. Outrunning the person you're with should be sufficient.

"Looking Across the Lily Ponds at Forest Park." (A. D. Copeland)

This photograph shows a sizable chunk of Everett Barney's estate laid out in all of its glory. Lily ponds, rolling hills, shrubs, flowers, trees and sweeping drives all served to complement Barney's home, Pecousic Villa. Barney continued to occupy and improve the 105-acre property for many years after donating the land to the city in 1890 and took great enjoyment in observing the pleasure of visitors to the park his beneficence and imagination helped build.

"E. H. Barney's Residence at Pecowsic." (D. J. Bordeaux)

Everett Barney purchased Pecousic Hill in the southwest corner of Springfield and much of the land around it in 1882 and began to build his grand home atop it shortly thereafter. Upon his death on May 31, 1916, the mansion became the property of the city, administered under the authority of the Park Commission. In 1922, the mansion was opened to visitors of the park after some interior "improvements" were made to accommodate them. According to the Parks Commission Report in the 1922 Municipal Register of the City of Springfield:

"The Trustees of the Estate of Everett H. Barney, upon the request of this board, paid to the city treasurer the sum of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars to be placed to the credit of the Park Commissioners and to be designated as the Everett H. Barney Fund. This being the first money to be received from the estate of Mr. Barney, it seemed very fitting and proper that a portion of it at least should be used to make such changes in the house as would make it available for the use of the public. Elaborate plans calling for very radical changes in the house were carefully considered, but, on account of the cost and the time it would require to make these changes, it was decided to postpone them for the present and that some less expensive plan be adopted. The carpets and rugs on the main floor were replaced with linoleum, a long counter was built in the dining room, and other conveniences were added so as to equip this room for the sale of ice cream, soda, candy, cigars, etc. Some minor changes were made on the second floor, including cutting a door from the balcony into the large room known as the sun parlor, and making this room suitable for societies and small gatherings to hold meetings."

Pecousic Villa was razed in the late 1950s to make way for Interstate 91. The estate's 1883-built carriage house was spared, and thanks to a seven-year restoration project undertaken by skilled students at Putnam Vocational High School, is now available to host weddings and other social functions. For more information, visit the Carriage House at the Barney Estate web site at:

And here's a link to the 908 page long 1922 Municipal Register of the City of Springfield digitized at Google books:

"The Barney Mausoleum on Laurel Hill." (E. J. Lazelle)

Inside this mausoleum lie the remains of one of the men whose fate was most responsible for the configuration of Forest Park as it stands today. George Murray Barney was born on March 27, 1863, the only child of Everett Barney and his wife, the former Eliza Jane Knowles. George meant the world to Everett, as related in the article, The Story of a Park, in The National Magazine, Vol XVII, Nov. 1892 - Apr. 1893:

"He had an only son, George M. Barney, in whom all his future plans were centered. There was a rare bond of sympathy between father and son. To the filial relationship was added another element, as though they had been brothers, and still another, as though they had been the most intimate friends and confidants."

Everett Barney's original intention when he purchased the land at Pecousic was to create a Summer haven for wealthy Springfield residents. His plan included sculpting part of the land into magnificent gardens and introducing game birds for the sport of the folks who would (he hoped) be clamoring to buy land within this exclusive paradise and to build homes as magnificent as Pecousic Villa. With 19-year old George at his side and just as involved in the project as he was, Barney began pursuing his vision, buying up surrounding parcels and building the family manse, quite possibly entering the happiest time of his life and pleased with the legacy he would someday leave his son.

As Burns warned, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men...Gang aft agley," and the Barneys were no exception. On May 29, 1889, Barney's beloved son George died at the age of 26 in California, where he had gone in a last ditch effort to recover from a long illness. Everett Barney was crushed by the loss of his only son and lost interest in the project that had been theirs together. Shortly after George's death, Everett Barney decided to memorialize his son by merging his estate with the 5-year old, growing Forest Park, reserving the right to live on the property until his and wife Eliza's passing. He threw himself into improving his property and Forest Park in general and, in working through his grief, left the city of Springfield with one of the most magnificent public parks in the nation.

Today, Everett, Eliza and George rest in peace in Pecowsic. Home. Together.

"A Commanding View of the River from Pecowsic." (E. J. Lazelle)

There is always a horizon, be it near or far. A swathe of river, a line of mountains, the future of a city: All loom in the distance. Forest Park's past was dependent on giving, so 'tis today, and yet in the 'morrow.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

For some neat old postcards of Forest Park, take a look at the past EWM post, Postcards: Forest Park Springfield, Massachusetts.

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