As the city considers a location for a proposed casino, the historic preservation community and citizens of Springfield should be concerned about our architectural heritage that will be threatened in each of the proposed sites. |
The Historical Commission has already called for there to be a review and survey of the buildings in each of the proposed sites and this is a very good start. The South End area was surveyed years ago but already some of the buildings of significance have been lost and many more are threatened.
On Page Boulevard the old Stevens Duryea plant was taken down on the casino site but the architecturally and historically significant Westinghouse building still stands and is in good shape.
The North End site contains the Kittridge building and is worthy of study to assess its architectural and historical significance.
The South End site is of real concern as it contains many important buildings, many of which MGM has already indicated will be either demolished or suffer façade-ectomies and become simply a caricature of what they were.
In this area is the Spiritualist Church, the State Armory and 73 State St., which is the old United Electric building with its beautiful stained glass atrium. Also Howard Street School, the 1884 Rescue Mission, the restored Edison Theater Block on the corner of Bliss and Main and the Chapin block across the street.
Though National Register Status does not automatically protect these buildings, it may be argued that the issuing of state licences for casinos and other government involvement that goes with casinos, should require a review by the local and state historical commissions.
Also, public outrage at the possibility of many National Register buildings being destroyed for a casino should stimulate the developers to integrate these buildings into their plans.
The citizens of Springfield and the Valley need to speak out at local meetings about the importance of saving these historical assets.
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