Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Great New England Air Show at Westover Scheduled for August 4th & 5th

B-2 Stealth Bomber

"A Salute to the Greatest Generation" is the theme of the ever-popular Great New England Air Show and Open House, presented by the fine folks at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass. Rain or shine, the gates will open at 8:30 a.m. on August 4th and 5th, with a kick-off breakfast sponsored by the Galaxy Community Council August 3rd. Parking and admission are free.

For more information on this well-attended event, visit the Air Show website at For details on the kick-off breakfast, go to the Galaxy Community Council website at

Here are photographs of some of the birds that will be taking to the Western Massachusetts skies to sing their thunderous songs of strength and security, an awesome display of the training and talents of the people who work everyday to keep this great country of ours safe and free.

F-15 Eagles from the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard arrive in Florida.

A C-5 Galaxy cargo transport cuts through clouds. The 439th Airlift Wing is based at Westover ARB.

A B-52 Stratofortress is escorted by a pair of  F/A-18 fighter-bombers.

A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-15 Eagle in a delicate dance in the sky.

A flying machine with sleek lines is the B-1 Lancer.

C-17 Globemaster III.

A fuel station in the sky, the KC-10 Extender.

 All of the images above are from the official website of the United States Air Force at

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Westfield's Municipal Building Gets a Facelift

A century and a score since its dedication as a State Normal School on June 21, 1892, the building that has housed the city of Westfield's Municipal offices from the late 1950s on is getting a well-deserved facelift. Scaffolding has wrapped the tired edifice in its promising embrace, anon dismantled to reveal a relic's rejuvenated skin, a face for the future. 'Tis a welcome sight, a work site worthy of the first Westfield structure to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that distinctive date occurring on March 8, 1978.


Built at a cost of $150,000 to replace the old facility on Washington Street, the Commonwealth stretched about six and a half decades out of its investment before cramped and thoroughly antiquated quarters ("archaic" according to the eyes of Massachusetts Governor Paul A. Dever in 1951, on campus to speak at the June 23rd commencement ceremony) forced the decision and drive to move onto bigger and better things, an educational expansion that would one day transform a city wood known as Juniper Park into today's bustling and still-growing Westfield State University. An exchange of one dollar from Commonwealth to city secured the original 26 acre Western Avenue site of horse trails and shady glens and likewise a dollar from city to Commonwealth facilitated the purchase of the 59 Court Street structure, the agreement stipulating the building to be utilized "for municipal purposes only." Chapman Water Proofing, Inc. of Boston has been contracted to perform the current renovations at a cost of $3,400,000, a sum which would have allowed the building to be replicated another twenty times in 1892.


Granite, brick and brownstone under the cover of a slate-tiled roof, the Romanesque design - the work of Boston firm Hartwell and Richardson, established 1881 - is reminiscent of renowned architect Henry H. Richardson's style, but the two interests are indeed, separate. Although neither gained the stature of H. H. Richardson in northeastern architectural circles, many of Henry W. Walker and William C. Richardson's (and later, third partner James Driver) structural accomplishments have made their way into the National Register of Historic Places, including the town hall in Ware, Massachusetts. A local example of Henry H. Richardson's work is the old Hampden County Courthouse on State Street in Springfield.


Postmarked in wintertime Westfield of 1921 and mailed for a penny, the handsome building of higher learning - in a postcard frozen - had by then hosted nearly thirty years of students, matriculating and moving on through its double front archways, the fits and starts of a dawning age of excitement in education anchored by the stalwart's granite foundation whilst soaring peaks overhead encouraged opening minds to move above and ever beyond. Today, the edifice is Westfield's municipal anchor, a tether to the community, a well-known face passed on Court Street, finally getting a makeover.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Related links:

Postcards: Court Street, Westfield, Massachusetts ~

Photos: Time and Water Flow, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1905 - 1920 ~

City of Westfield, Massachusetts ~ article, June 6, 2012, "Westfield launches school and municipal building upgrades" ~

Triennial 1839 - 1907, State Normal School, Westfield, Massachusetts ~

Map: Bird's-eye View of Westfield, Massachusetts, 1875 ~

Getting there, via Google maps:

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Springfield Celebrates Independence with Fireworks and Festivities on the Fourth

Declaration of Independence

(PRESS RELEASE) Wednesday, July 4, 2012, Riverfront Park in downtown Springfield will host MassMutual's Star Spangled Springfield, an evening of patriotism and pyrotechnics. The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. and end with Fireworks by Grucci's world famous grand finale.

At 7:30 p.m., Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Nick Fytrilakis, Vice President of Community Respons- ibility for MassMutual Financial Group, Judy Matt, Spirit of Springfield President, along with MassAppeal's Ashley Kohl and Seth Stutman, will welcome the crowd to Riverfront Park. Bringing greetings from the United States Armed Forces will be Colonel Steven Vautrain, Wing Commander at Westover Air Force Reserve Base, with a flyover from the 104th Fighter Wing, based at Westfield's Barnes Massachusetts Air National Guard Base.

Following the brief comments, Dan Kane's Rising Stars, approximately 150 children age 6 to 15, will take to the stage. They will perform as a chorus, small groups and solos featuring patriotic, pop, country and Broadway musical selections. The young voices will be performing after just two days of rehearsal as part of Dan Kane's 10th Annual Summer Singing Enrichment Program for Young Singers.

At 9:30 p.m., all eyes will be on the skies over the Memorial Bridge as Fireworks by Grucci perform their pyrotechnic wizardry. They will paint the sky with a rainbow of brilliant colors, amazing formations and spell out U-S-A, and dance to musical selections to be simulcast on Mix 93.1FM. Songs include John William's "Fanfare" with a narration by John Wayne, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless America," "Independence Day" by Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger," "America the Beautiful" by Beyonce and more.

Preparations for the fireworks will begin on Monday, July 2, as a crew of pyrotechnicians will work to wire 35 firing batteries and 250 firing cues. The show will include 240 six-inch shells, 320 five-inch shells, 360 four-inch shells, 1,880 three-inch shells and 1,640 Grucci Grand Illuminations. Production will resume at 11 p.m. on July 3 when the Memorial Bridge will close to all traffic, vehicular and pedestrian. For safety reasons, only authorized personnel will be allowed on the bridge. The bridge will re-open around 11 p.m. on July 4th.

"It's not the quantity of fireworks that creates a beautiful portrait of fire; it's the quality and variety of the shells, along with the artist that paints the picture," states Donna Grucci Butler, President of Fireworks by Grucci. "We address our program as an art."

Star Spangled Springfield, in addition to being sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group, is supported by Tower Square, MGM Resorts International, Balise Motor Sales, WWLP-22News, Mix 93.1FM, The Republican, Springfield Parking Authority, Elegant Affairs, Michael's Party Rentals, Ameristar, 90 Meat Outlet, Charlie Arment Trucking, Joseph Freedman Company, United Tractor Trailer School, Allied Waste, Friendly's and the City of Springfield.

For more information about Star Spangled Springfield, visit or contact the Spirit of Springfield at (413)733-3800.

To find more fireworks and fun happening in Western Massachusetts this July 4th, check out the list at EWM's 'Independence Day Celebrations in Western Massachusetts.'

To learn more about the Hampden County Memorial Bridge and the toll bridge that preceded it, visit EWM past posts, 'Postcards: Hampden County Memorial Bridge' and 'Postcards: The Old Toll Bridge, Springfield, Massachusetts.'

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Map of Massachusetts Public Libraries, c1914

According to this map, in 1914 all but one of 35 cities and 319 towns in Massachusetts were home to a free public library, a testament to the value assigned higher learning in the Commonwealth. There were 6,291,811 books ready to be read, with over a million volumes in the Boston public library alone.

Studying the pen and ink drawing by artist and educator George Hartnell Bartlett, (1838-1923), one is struck by the respect given each individual edifice, the love of subject mapped in lines, from Orleans to Williams- town, every library rating equal illustrative justice. Outside of the cities, we find simple structures still splendid, bestowed per Bartlett's pen with a level of dignity befitting any treasury of books, home or away, large or small. Additional examples of Bartlett's work and hints at his thought process can be found in his 1903 book, "Pen and Ink Drawing".

Bartlett has decided to draw both the old Springfield library and the new Springfield library into his map, and there is some truth to that image. Before the new city library was built, room had to be made, so the old library was moved back from State Street a distance, and for a short time, Springfield had two libraries at the Quadrangle.

There is a great article about the big move over at Here's a link: And here's a link to an earlier EWM post with photographs of Springfield's State Street, including the old library, prior to 1905:

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Map source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Published by George H. Bartlett, Pleasant St., Arlington, Mass., c1904/1915, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-15909,

More maps on EWM: Trails, Rails & Roads: Western Mass. Maps

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Wit Gallery Presents “Sculpture and Shakespeare” July 4th in Lenox

(PRESS RELEASE) Join the Wit Gallery at Shakespeare & Company for a special afternoon of sculpture demonstrations by sculptor Michael Alfano. Mr. Alfano will be providing these demonstrations during Shakespeare & Company’s July 4th Celebration, before and after the reading of the Declaration of Independence at 3 p.m.

Mr. Alfano is a prolific sculptor from Hopkinton, Mass., whose work addresses the more metaphysical questions of life. One of his most notable public monuments "One World United For Peace" is on display permanently in Liberty Tree Memorial Park in Lenox, Mass., at the corner of Walker and Church Streets. The design features thirteen figures atop a tower supporting a globe, implying the need for worldwide unity after the tragedy of September 11th. "I reflected the myriad of emotions people felt, to help with their healing process," explains Alfano. "The sculpture also does more than immortalize the tragedy by speaking to 'what now?'"

While on the Shakespeare & Company grounds, be sure to look for "Cubed," Michael Alfano's newest interactive lawn sculpture. "Cubed" is a theatrical nine-piece puzzle of a man and woman's face which can be moved into different configurations. The sculpture was placed on the Shakespeare & Company campus as part of The Lenox Village Sculpture Walk which runs through Columbus Day. This is the 2nd annual Sculpture Walk sponsored by The Lenox Alliance for the Arts & Humanities, in collaboration with The Wit Gallery. The Sculpture Walk also includes works by Obadiah Buell, Leslie Harlow, Jeff Kaiserman, Stanley Marcus, David Millen and Karen Rossi, whose pieces can be found along Church Street in Lenox.

Shakespeare & Company is at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. For more information about Michael Alfano and to see more of his work visit The Wit Gallery ( at 27 Church Street, Lenox.

For more information on Shakespeare & Company’s July 4th Celebration go to

Directions to the Wit Gallery via Google Maps

Directions to Shakespeare & Co. via Google Maps

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Independence Day Celebrations in Western Massachusetts

The summer skies of June and July will soon be bathed in brilliant blossoms of color and sound as Western Massachusetts celebrates the spirit of 1776 once again with fireworks and festivities galore. Here's a sampling of some of the pyrotechnic displays towns and cities are planning for this season of independence in the year 2012. While most of the following events are free, some do request a donation and others charge an entry fee. It's best to visit the applicable websites to get the scoop on all of the details of each venue (as well as any additional planned holiday happenings the town or city may offer, such as parades or concerts) before heading out.

Saturday ~ June 23
139 Old Palmer Road
Brimfield, Massachusetts
Directions to Old Palmer Road

Saturday ~ June 23 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: June 24)
Galbraith & Daley Fields
Easthampton, Massachusetts
Directions to Daley Field
More info:

Saturday ~ June 23 ~ 9:15 p.m. (Rain date: June 24)
Monson High & Quarry Hill School
Monson, Massachusetts
Directions to Monson High School
More info:

Saturday ~ June 23 ~ 9:15 p.m. (Rain date: June 24)
Look Park
300 North Main Street
Florence, Massachusetts
Directions to Look Park
More info:

Friday ~ June 29 ~ Dusk (Rain date: June 30)
Holyoke Community College
Homestead Avenue
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Directions to HCC
More info:

Saturday ~ June 30 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 1)
Szot Park
Front Street
Chicopee, Massachusetts
Directions to Szot Park
More info:

June 30 ~ 9:30 p.m.
Elm Court Estate
Lenox, Massachusetts
Directions to Elm Court Estate

Saturday ~ June 30 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 1)
Grenville Park
Walter Drive
Ware, Massachusetts
Directions to Grenville Park
More info:

Saturday ~ June 30 (Rain date: July 1)
Stanley Park
400 Western Avenue
Westfield, Massachusetts
Directions to Stanley Park
More info: and

East Longmeadow
Tuesday ~ July 3 ~ 9:00 p.m.
East Longmeadow High School
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Directions to ELHS
More info:

South Hadley
Tuesday ~ July 3 ~ 9:15 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
Michael E. Smith Middle School
100 Mosier Street
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Directions to MSMS
More info:

Tuesday ~ July 3 ~ Dusk (Rain date: July 4)
Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Directions to Old Sturbridge Village
More info:

Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
Six Flags New England
1623 Main Street
Agawam, Massachusetts
Directions to Six Flags
More info:

Wednesday ~ July 4 (Rain date: July 5)
McGuirk Alumni Stadium, University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Massachusetts
Directions to Alumni Stadium
More info:

North Adams
Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
Joe Wolfe Field
North Adams, Massachusetts
Directions to Wolfe Field

Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
Wahconah Park
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Directions to Wahconah Park
More info:

Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
Memorial Bridge
Springfield/West Springfield, Massachusetts
Directions to the Memorial Bridge
More info:

Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 10:00 p.m. (Following performance)
Tanglewood Grounds
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Directions to Tanglewood
More info:

Friday ~ July 6 ~ 9 p.m. (Rain date: July 7)
Cummington Fair Grounds
Cummington, Massachusetts
Directions to the fair grounds
More info:

Friday ~ July 6 ~ 9:15 p.m. (Rain date: July 13)
STRDS Athletics Field
Powder Mill Road
Southwick, Massachusetts
Directions to STRDS Athletic Field
More info:

Saturday ~ July 7 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 8)
Beacon Field
Beacon Street
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Directions to Beacon Field
More info:

Elsewhere in Massachusetts:

Tuesday ~ July 3 ~ 10:00 p.m.
Rollstone Hill
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Directions to Rollstone Hill
More info:

Tuesday ~ July 3 ~ 9:30 p.m. (Rain date: July 5)
East Park (Christoforo Columbo)
Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, Massachusetts
Directions to East Park
More info:

Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 10:30 p.m.
Along Charles River, between Longfellow & Mass Ave. bridges
Boston & Cambridge, Massachusetts
Directions to Boston fireworks
More info:

Salisbury Beach Center
Wednesday ~ July 4 ~ 10:15 p.m.
North End Boulevard
Salisbury, Massachusetts
Directions to Salisbury Beach Center
More info:

Saturday ~ July 7 ~ Dusk
Field behind VFW Post 3291
Pepperell, Massachusetts
Directions to VFW Post 3291
More info:

In Connecticut:

Hartford, CT
Saturday ~ July 7 ~ Dusk (Rain date: July 8)
Riverside Park & Riverfront Boathouse
20 Leibert Road
Hartford, CT
Directions to Riverside Park
More info:

Stafford, CT
Saturday ~ July 7 ~ 9:00 p.m. (Rain date: July 8)
Stafford High School
145 Orcuttville Road
Stafford, Connecticut
Directions to SHS
More info:

Enfield, CT
Sunday - July 8 ~ 9:45 p.m.
Town Green
Enfield, Connecticut
Directions to the Enfield Town Green
More info:

Please contact with suggestions for local fireworks displays we may have missed or corrections we need to make.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care. (And have a safe and super holiday!)

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Monday, June 4, 2012

The Maplewood, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Maplewood in Pittsfield, Mass., has been both witness and participant to American history spanning two-hundred years. The property's saga of transformation started in 1812, when the site began to play host to a U.S. military base and later, a military prison. In the two centuries hence, The Maplewood has assumed a variety of identities including: boys' school, girls' school, resort hotel and currently, upscale condominiums. For a great timeline of The Maplewood history, check out the condo webpage:

The above photograph of the The Maplewood's stately columned entryway was taken sometime between 1900 and 1920. The Maplewood was a popular Berkshire resort at the time, proprietor Arthur W. Plumb placing an ad in the May 25, 1901, Boston Evening Transcript promising, "the largest and best equipped hotel in the County" and offering "special rates for June."

In this and the following two photographs of The Maplewood, snapped between 1900 and 1920, one can note the progression of the entryway on the left from simple porch and walk to sheltered carport straddling a horseshoe driveway.

Arthur W. Plumb oversaw improvements to the property for decades, beginning in 1887. A 1927 advertisement trumpets the resort hotel's "40th season" under his ownership and management.

After two centuries of expansion and contraction, buildings raised and buildings razed, The Maplewood land has retreated a bit now: bid farewell to a multitude of rooms of secrets, rolling lawns of respite, constructions of a gilded age lost to the stretching of days. The pace of an automobile world cold assassin to the concepts of rest and relaxation. Today, condominiums: another adaptive turning of a metamorphic plot.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Photographs are from the American Memory Collection ( of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection:
Digital ID photo 1: det 4a24512
Digital ID photo 2: det 4a17894
Digital ID photo 3: det 4a24538
Digital ID photo 4: det 4a23821

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