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Old 08-19-2018, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Springfield and brookline MA
1,295 posts, read 2,674,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
Anyone else think a Rapid Transit line from Holyoke to Forest Park would be a good idea? The PVTA gets ~35,000 daily riders so I think a route through urban areas like that might have potential.
I don’t think from Holyoke to FP, But maybe from Holyoke to the Hall of Fame Complex via Rt 5 in West Springfield. I think there is shuttle being implemented to run from the MassMutual Center to the Musuems to the Hall of Fame complex. It’s going to run all day every 1/2 hour I heard.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:28 AM
 
2,115 posts, read 3,793,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWLC View Post
When was 91 built? In the 60's? There were quite a few boom years in Springfield since it was built. Does anyone remember the mid 80's when ....
91 was built first through Connecticut. As a child I remember it connecting Hartford with Springfield. Then parts opened through the rural areas farther north. The stretch between Longmeadow and Northampton was the last section. Ppl said at the time that commercial interests along Riverdale Road in West Springfield were holding it up. There were tons of motels along there in those days and they feared being bypassed by the highway. Maybe 10 years delay. There was some question of using the route 5 freeway in W Springfield for 91 rather than building it through Springfield but that would have obliterated the commercial strip along Riverdale rd rather than just bypassing it.

The 91 expressway took out buildings along Columbus Ave. Then the 290 connection to the pike took out a lot more. There was a big North End urban renewal project too that destroyed 100s of buildings, from the arch up to Memorial Square. That’s where they built a new plant for the Springfield Union / Daily News, new bus station, a holiday inn, etc. All very low rise, spread out, anti urban.

I don’t think there was any ‘80s boom in Spfld. More like it hadn’t yet lost its amenities- Steigers and Johnson’s Bookstore were operating still, Baystate West had A O White and some other good stores, there were some new restaurants like Tillies on Main St, there were still some good shops around Stearns Sq and Apremont Triangle, they still had Classical High School, McDuffie School hadn’t left yet, lots of middle class Jews still in Forest Park supporting the synagogue on Sumner Ave, big congregations still at Trinity Methodist, etc. But the middle class was moving out all through those years and poorer people were arriving and/or displaced by highway construction and urban renewal. Also, Springfield didn’t build any new upper middle class neighborhoods after East Forest Park in the 1920s. All the postwar devel in 16 acres was small, modest ranch houses. I guess you have to cater to the Gentry to retain them, especially with so much land available in surrounding towns. I still don’t know why Springfield fell so low since the 80s but it’s a shame. OTOH it’s still full of nice old houses that can be renovated, walkable neighborhoods, nice parks, the kind of setup people want these days. I think it will revive.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:45 PM
 
17,482 posts, read 9,772,218 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
Anyone else think a Rapid Transit line from Holyoke to Forest Park would be a good idea?

Err... No.
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:38 PM
 
405 posts, read 162,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post

I don’t think there was any ‘80s boom in Spfld. More like it hadn’t yet lost its amenities- Steigers and Johnson’s Bookstore were operating still, Baystate West had A O White and some other good stores, there were some new restaurants like Tillies on Main St, there were still some good shops around Stearns Sq and Apremont Triangle, they still had Classical High School, McDuffie School hadn’t left yet, lots of middle class Jews still in Forest Park supporting the synagogue on Sumner Ave, big congregations still at Trinity Methodist, etc. But the middle class was moving out all through those years and poorer people were arriving and/or displaced by highway construction and urban renewal. Also, Springfield didn’t build any new upper middle class neighborhoods after East Forest Park in the 1920s. All the postwar devel in 16 acres was small, modest ranch houses. I guess you have to cater to the Gentry to retain them, especially with so much land available in surrounding towns. I still don’t know why Springfield fell so low since the 80s but it’s a shame. OTOH it’s still full of nice old houses that can be renovated, walkable neighborhoods, nice parks, the kind of setup people want these days. I think it will revive.

Brings back a lot of memories. I had just moved to Springfield in the mid 80's and lived on Fort Pleasant Avenue. It was a great street back then. I enjoyed all the people who lived in my apartment building - all around my age and we all worked similar, service type, jobs. Lots of fun.


1986 was the year of the 350th anniversary of Springfield they did lots of landscaping all over the city. Richard Neal got quite a bit of flack for some of the renovations he overspent on. I've heard people say that that the was the beginning of Springfield's out of control debt.



Sometimes, on my days off I'd walk all the way down to Baystate West. The whole of length Main Street was small businesses, and as you mentioned, Johnsons and Steigers were open. I knew a chef at Tilly's, so ate there frequently. I think every space in Baystate West was leased and there were about 10 restaurants in the food court - all were represented at The Taste of Springfield, which was an annual event back then.


I'd also ride my bike up to Forest Park. It was more rowdy back then, but still fun.- there was no admission. Hippy Hill was quite active with sunbathers and weed smokers and Frisbee players. Nothing destructive or violent though, that I can recall.



Yup there was still plenty of life left in Springfield back then. People have argued with me about this, but I think that what happened after they built Monarch Place was that there was an expectation that people who worked there would move downtown and quite a few places were renovated to become condos - Classical High, Morgan Square, Kimball Towers, the building next to Chestnut Towers and a couple others I don't recall the names. Of course, Chestnut Towers was still a decent place to live then. Once they didn't sell, as planned, the prices dropped and people bought multiple units to rent out. Once that happened, the owner occupants fled. Of course that's just one of the dominoes in the fall.


Connecticut Bank and Trust moving out of Springfield was also a major blow. Court Square was very lively at lunch time. It really had an air of a lively city. There were actually benches in the park then.

Last edited by IWLC; 08-20-2018 at 04:00 PM..
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:42 PM
 
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
22,382 posts, read 21,451,548 times
Reputation: 39828
Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
91 was built first through Connecticut. As a child I remember it connecting Hartford with Springfield. Then parts opened through the rural areas farther north. The stretch between Longmeadow and Northampton was the last section. Ppl said at the time that commercial interests along Riverdale Road in West Springfield were holding it up. There were tons of motels along there in those days and they feared being bypassed by the highway. Maybe 10 years delay. There was some question of using the route 5 freeway in W Springfield for 91 rather than building it through Springfield but that would have obliterated the commercial strip along Riverdale rd rather than just bypassing it.

The 91 expressway took out buildings along Columbus Ave. Then the 290 connection to the pike took out a lot more. There was a big North End urban renewal project too that destroyed 100s of buildings, from the arch up to Memorial Square. That’s where they built a new plant for the Springfield Union / Daily News, new bus station, a holiday inn, etc. All very low rise, spread out, anti urban.

I don’t think there was any ‘80s boom in Spfld. More like it hadn’t yet lost its amenities- Steigers and Johnson’s Bookstore were operating still, Baystate West had A O White and some other good stores, there were some new restaurants like Tillies on Main St, there were still some good shops around Stearns Sq and Apremont Triangle, they still had Classical High School, McDuffie School hadn’t left yet, lots of middle class Jews still in Forest Park supporting the synagogue on Sumner Ave, big congregations still at Trinity Methodist, etc. But the middle class was moving out all through those years and poorer people were arriving and/or displaced by highway construction and urban renewal. Also, Springfield didn’t build any new upper middle class neighborhoods after East Forest Park in the 1920s. All the postwar devel in 16 acres was small, modest ranch houses. I guess you have to cater to the Gentry to retain them, especially with so much land available in surrounding towns. I still don’t know why Springfield fell so low since the 80s but it’s a shame. OTOH it’s still full of nice old houses that can be renovated, walkable neighborhoods, nice parks, the kind of setup people want these days. I think it will revive.
This description of what occurred is accurate as far as I know. Rte 91 to Northampton was last to be completed IIRC. Rte 91 was/is a mess and it slashed part of the city right off the map, wrecking part of Forest Park right along with it. There was no 80s boom. It's as you said, things hadn't completely declined yet, that's all. I tried renting near Union St back around 1980 but got out fast because it was so unsafe. Bay State West was called Bay State WASTE.

Sixteen Acres was the last bastion of a respectable neighborhood that I can remember. It wasn't too bad even during the '90s. But the downtown was gone. Once the department stores went out and Johnson's Bookstore closed, that was the end of it all.

I do remember some sculptures somewhere--maybe on Worthington St--but as soon as they were put up, they were vandalized. Everything anyone tried to do was vandalized. I don't know whose fault it was, maybe political corruption, but all attempts to revive Springfield failed miserably. Things just got worse.

It was called the City of Homes. It will never be as we remember it but I hope it does make some kind of a comeback.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:29 PM
 
405 posts, read 162,515 times
Reputation: 1011
Going back to the casino for a minute, I was reading an article in a Connecticut paper. Seems they are quite bitter about the money that will be migrating with it's opening, plus the marijuana business, expected to produce a flood of buyers from Connecticut.


What really strikes me about the casino design is the detail. The ceiling in the sports bar is made from the actual floorboards of Theodore Geisel's house. Quotes from Emily Dickenson are woven into the carpets. Some seats in one of the pubs are the renovated seats from the auditorium of the school they demolished. The decor in the hotel rooms is inspired by the original Chandler Hotel that hosted presidents, back in the day. The designers almost had to be historians. Man! I really want to love that place. It's obviously not just throwing up a slot parlor to abscond with our cash, and I really believe they are sincere in wanting the city to benefit.


BTW, the chef/founder of Cal Mar, the new Italian restaurant has them in San Francisco, Hollywood and Dubai - and Springfield.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:41 PM
 
2,115 posts, read 3,793,914 times
Reputation: 2487
Quote:
Originally Posted by IWLC View Post
Quotes from Emily Dickenson are woven into the carpets... I really believe they are sincere in wanting the city to benefit.
I’m trying to wrap my mind around Emily Dickinson’s possible response to having her work quoted in a casino carpet! Otherwise I’m with you and hope for the best!
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:55 PM
 
405 posts, read 162,515 times
Reputation: 1011
Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
I’m trying to wrap my mind around Emily Dickinson’s possible response to having her work quoted in a casino carpet!

It would be something like this:


"I know not what exotic beast a casino might be
But tread lightly on my prose.
Whilst you feed your wage into it's gaping maw"
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Old 08-21-2018, 03:43 AM
 
995 posts, read 877,694 times
Reputation: 1383
OK, but she might have spelled "its" correctly.
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Old 08-21-2018, 06:30 AM
 
Location: RI, MA, VT, WI, IL, CA, IN (that one sucked), KY
38,466 posts, read 28,479,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tovarisch View Post
OK, but she might have spelled "its" correctly.

She would have, but the people making the casino upholstery...
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