Friday, May 1, 2015
A member of the “Growing Up in Sixteen Acres” Facebook group posted the above and below photos of a fellow who hid two backpacks and a duffel bag under some brush behind the poster’s house on April 1. The police were called, who took the bundles away, and it’s unknown what was in them. Obviously, their contents interested this same gentleman, because he was back in the same area, between Hillcrest Park Cemetery and the North Branch Parkway, on April 21, looking for “his” formerly stashed shit.
The poster’s dog started barking like crazy, so the intruder, this time wearing a green hoodie, started throwing rocks at the dog. The police were called again, but he didn’t get caught. Anyone recognize this guy? He was wandering around Parkerview, Barrington, and Overlea. Little does he know that a good number of the Facebook group’s members are on the lookout for him. If you see this genius, don’t confront him. Just call the police.
When it comes to illegal activity in Springfield, it helps to have Superman on your side. Did you ever see the dude above walking around downtown Springfield? His name is Eduardo Hernandez. He picked up the costume in a West Springfield shop, and the rest is history.
Still, with nine murders so far this year (just behind Boston’s 10—a city four times Springfield’s size), even superheroes need a break.
That’s why it was it was so heartening to see multiple members of the Sixteen Acres Facebook group pledge to keep their eyes open for the douchebag with the duffel bag.
Masslive.com recently published some great vintage Sixteen Acres photos. Above is the library—brand new in the summer of 1966.
The building was expanded in the fall of 1999. Now the exterior looks hardly anything like the original, except the back. I had kind of forgotten what the first incarnation of the library looked like.
After Burns Package Store it was One Stop. This is the only picture I know of that has the old neon sign.
Grants and Caldor at Allen and Cooley.
The old Bernie’s in 1998. Unfortunately, masslive didn’t have a photo of its predecessor, House of Television, or its neon sign. Want to know why these two gentlemen are watching President Clinton is on TV on September 21, 1998? If you look closely, you can see the words “Grand Jury testimony” at the bottom of the screen.
Jean Masse, president of the Sixteen Acres Civic Association, plants geraniums on a traffic island in “the centah” in 1990. The old Christian Bookstore building can be seen in the background.
Church in the Acres Pastor Rev. David C. O’Brien and his daughter, nine-year-old Kimberly, stand where the pulpit will be built at the addition to the building.
In June of 2004, the final night of the Springfield Cinemas at Breckwood Boulevard and Wilbraham Road.
Speaking of that shopping plaza on Breckwood, after people had rammed vehicles into the old cinema building (October 2011)…
…and then the Shell Station convenience store AKA old A.M./P.M. Mini Mart (March 2013)…
…it was only a matter of time before someone made a second drive-thru window at the Dunkin Donuts. And it was finally done on April 2, 2015. It takes some great coordination to get the car between the barriers:
What did the person working the Dunkin Donuts counter say when he say the car coming?
“We’re gonna need bigger barriers.”
On the subject of Breckwood, honk if you remember the old Jumbo supermarket across the street.
Heading down Wilbraham Road, courtesy of the Facebook page “Springfield, 413, Then and Now,” a drawing of the old Popular Market.
Which became Marshall’s, Rocky’s, and then…
And, of course, across the street:
Shall we head back out toward Allen Street again?
Blakes in the Eastfield Mall.
The original Blakes at The X in 1982
A Sixteen Acres hockey team in 1975. Ya gotta love those uniforms.
The Capitol Theatre on Main Street. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Read more about the Capitol in “Shitting to All Fields, Part 11.”
More theaters of yesteryear below, again courtesy of the Facebook page “Springfield, 413, Then and Now.”
Even More Old Forest Park Zoo Animals
Didn’t get enough old Forest Park Zoo animals in the last post? Here are some more:
The newest animal residents of Forest Park: a bobcat and a coyote, their images caught on a wildlife camera:
The coyote isn’t surprising. I saw one in the woods across the Pioneer Christian Academy on Plumtree Road last summer. But a bobcat? Eight years ago I did spot a bobcat at the edge of the Wilbraham and Monson Academy baseball field on Faculty Street, but I didn’t think they wandered into the city. Fisher tracks have been seen in the snow there as well. Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management, was asked if he was surprised that there were bobcats in Forest Park. “I am a little bit,” he said, “but I guess they have a wide range. They are not uncommon.”
Remember The Waldorf: closed in 1974 and torn down in 1981.
Bluebird Acres, after being in business for more than 50 years, closed in 2003, and parcels of the 100-acre farm began to be sold. A retirement community was nearly completely built there before someone torched it. It was soon rebuilt. I don’t believe the arson was ever solved, was it?
The Who at the Springfield Civic Center.
I wrote about the 1955 “quicksand” fatality off Middlebrook Drive in Sixteen Acres in this blog post, but did you ever hear of the rumors that there is quicksand on the Camp Seco of Porter Lake in Forest Park? I have. And I think I found the source of the rumors: a rescue of three kids aged 12, ten, and nine, who became trapped on the bed of the lake, presumably after it had been drained in March of 1965.
Above: 80 Cornell Street, which was in the 1975 film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (more on the movie in this blog post), can be bought for $163,000. Seven bedrooms and four bathrooms. Check it out. It had been abandoned for a while, and in 2012 two guys were arrested for trying to steal radiators and a cast-iron stove.
But what a house.
Here it is in the movie:
See that chick washing the VW Bug? It's Hotsy Totsy from Welcome Back Kotter!
Hot damn. Look at that. And the photo can’t do justice to the jiggling she does as she rubs, rubs, rubs the hood vigorously. Vigorously! Out damned spot! I have some Turtle Wax for her that’ll do the trick. Speaking of rubbing, I have to take a break from blogging for a minute.
OK, I’m back. Kinda weird that Michael Sarrazin and Hotsy (Debralee Scott) are both dead.
One last bit of Springfield memorabilia:
Want to see “the most beautiful girls in the world” without a cover charge? Print out the front and back of my VIP pass below and glue them together. If the bouncer threatens to kick your ass, just tell him Hell’s Acres sent you.