The Greening of Springfield
Contact: Shera Cohen, (413) 271-3982
SPRINGFIELD, MA - Perhaps most residents of Springfield do not realize that two particular men, both of whom were employees of the Springfield Armory - Edward Ingersoll and Stanhope Blunt -- were instrumental in the creation of the City's parks and open space. On Saturday, May 5, historian Frances Gagnon will introduce the public to Armory leaders and workers from past centuries who were responsible for many of the parks that enrich Springfield to this day. The program will take place in the theatre of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site from 1:30pm to 2:30pm. Admission is free.
With spring in the air, this is a perfect time to explore Springfield's rich heritage of treed boulevards and bright gardens which, in numerous cases, are associated with the Armory. Using images of historic Springfield and the Armory, Gagnon will show how Armory leaders transformed the landscapes of Springfield for the enjoyment of the public.
Armory commandants and superintendents in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were instrumental in the Greening of Springfield. "Their impact was not just on the Armory but on the community at large," Gagnon says. Armory leaders named Ames, Lee, Ripley, Benton, Blunt, and Ingersoll all helped shape the park-like grounds of Springfield Armory, the community, and the City. "The first Armory Superintendent, David Ames, used his skills as a surveyor to beautify his neighborhood with tree plantings and gardens," said Gagnon.
In the mid-1800s, Armory Paymaster Edward Ingersoll helped shape Court Square, Maple Street, and "Ingersoll's Grove" at Worthington Street. Stanhope Blunt, Commandant of Springfield Armory from 1907 to 1912, directed the greening of Springfield when he became Springfield Park Commissioner. Through his actions, considerable park improvements and expansions were made that gave Springfield settings such as Blunt Park.
The Springfield Armory NHS is the location of the Nation's first Armory (1794 - 1968) and was established by George Washington. The site includes historic grounds, buildings, and the world's largest historic American military firearms collection. The Armory Museum is open daily from 9am - 5pm. For further information and weather cancellation call 413-734-8551 or check the website at www.nps.gov/spar.
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Did You Know?
After visting Springfield Armory during his honeymoon, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a poem in 1845 entitled "The Arsenal at Springfield," which used the racks of muskets stored there as an anti-war metaphor. More...