A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Recently a notice of condemnation appeared on the Edwards Street carriage house around the corner from me. Steven Desilets, Commissioner of Code Enforcement of the City of Springfield, has declared the building unfit for human habitation. Next step will be an order for demolition.

Owner of the carriage house and the land it sits on, Webster A. Collins of Milton, Massachusetts, is a rich scumbag whose family is originally from Springfield. He was born, in fact, a stone's throw from the carriage house on Chestnut Street, and grew up in Longmeadow. His father, Webster E., tore down all the homes on Edwards Street years ago to make this gorgeous parking lot. Collins, Senior spared the carriage house behind one of the homes because he wanted to move it to his compound on Cape Cod, but the city wouldn't allow him to, so he vowed to let it rot. He's dead, but his son is carrying on splendidly in his stead.

Collins the Younger was fined $10,000 in 2004 by the Department of Environmental Protection for dumping hazardous waste on his property on the extremely environmentally fragile Cape Cod. He's a rich s.o.b. with a false sense of entitlement where his noblesse oblige ought to be.

The Springfield Museums Association has recently acquired the former Verizon building, directly behind the carriage house, and is turning it into a transportation museum. It's just a matter of time before they acquire the whole parking lot, which they presently rent from Collins. They'd love to see the carriage house demolished so they can use the entire space for parking.

Am I the only person in the city of Springfield who thinks it bloody obvious that an authentic CARRIAGE HOUSE which just happens to be sitting next to a TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM in a complex partially funded by George Walter Vincent Smith, who made his fortune as a CARRIAGE MAKER, is an irreplacable gem? Why not take the property from Collins by eminent domain, restore it, and put a couple of carriages in it? Add horses and charge people $10 to clip-clop down the block through the historic district. Mattoon Street looks pretty much the way it did 125 years ago. This would work, people!

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Anonymous Adrianne said...

I agree! And I'm an architectural designer interested in historic preservation.I like this blog! I know this area , also, because was working on a movie with Bob Ryan last year on Matoon St.! Small world!
I met you last Sat. night at the Institute! email forthcoming!

4:07 PM  

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