The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Westfield Wanderings

Off the Beaten Path

Yesterday my sister and I headed out on the streets of her adopted town of Westfield to see what we could see. This is ol' Saint Mary's.

I was sorry to see that this art store has gone out business. They always had cool paintings by local artists in the window.

For a long time I used to wonder about this "Devine Interiors" sign. The building it is painted on has no such store within.

Back in the summer of 2005 I posted on this website an inquiry as to whether anyone knew anything about it. I soon received the following email:

From : patrick johnson
Sent : Saturday, August 6, 2005 4:06 PM
To :
Subject : oooh oooh, I know the answer!

Mr. Devine you wrote:

"In Westfield I have long noticed this odd sign painted on the wall of a building, advertising a furniture store and "Devine Interiors." The furniture store is no longer in the building bearing the sign. Do any history buffs know anything about this? Did the painter really mean to say "Divine Interiors" or is that a reference to a brand? I'd appreciate any info to solve this mystery."

The Devine Interiors is correct. It refers to the former owner of Lambson's, back when it was a furniture store and not a pool hall, named Rita Devine of Westfield, who died a few years back.

She was my mother's cousin, and a real tough old broad -- and I mean that most complimentary. No cream, no sugar, just black coffee. My mother worked at the store as a book keeper for 20 or so years before she retired, but I always thought her principal job was to be Rita's diplomat/conscience.

Rita sold the business to some Southwick couple in the early/mid 80s, and they ran the joint into the ground, but it probably wasn't their fault.

Lambson's and Hearn's, two competing furniture stores existed for years right next to each other on Elm Street. But people stopped going downtown, and going to places like Bob's Discount Furniture instead. Now Lambson's is a pool hall and Hearn's is some social service agency.

The Lambson building itself was really cool. It had a water-powered elevator, the only one that I ever heard of. You'd step in, shut the door and pull down a rope. You'd hear what sounded like a toilet flushing but in a second or two, the elevator box would rise up. To go down, you'd lift the rope and you'd hear the water drain out.

P. Johnson, Easthampton

So there ya go, ask on the internet and ye shall receive! I suspect those Devine's are my relatives, at least I remember hearing my Uncle Gervais speak disparagingly about "Westfield Devines" that he refused to have anything to do with. They probably declined to buy him a drink or lend him money. When I was in rehab a few years back I met one of the Westfield Devines and he was a fine gentleman.

Apparently some people have been known to try to drive this store-cat crazy.

We stopped in at the bank and saw my cousin Margaret, who works there.

This is a famous abandoned railroad trestle in Westfield.

I noticed that there was a rugged path on the side of the trestle that you could use to climb to the top of it. A little steep, but no barrier to those of us who like to explore the places others do not go.

Why people do not go there quickly became apparent when we saw the dangerous state of the old railroad tracks.

The trestle itself is in an even greater state of decay, with open holes where the wood has completely rotted out. One wrong step, and you will fall to a probable death on the traffic filled street below.

Oh well, nothing to do but to return to the safety of the sidewalk below. However our expedition was not a complete loss, as I captured this rare image of how downtown Westfield appears from the vantage point of the ruined trestle.

Good Fun

Jorma Kaukonen wrote the following entry in his diary after his Northampton show with Hot Tuna last week:

Saturday, November 28, 2009 Northampton, Massachusetts

The gig at the Calvin Theater was chilly in the beginning... I mean really chilly... but everything warmed up when we started to play. Here is our set list:

Set One:
1. Search My Heart
2. There’s A Bright Side Somewhere
3. I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave
4. More Than My Old Guitar
5. I See The Light
6. Come Back Baby
7. River Of Time
8. Breadline Blues
9. Hesitation Blues
10. 99 Year Blues
11. I Know You Rider

Set Two:

1. Trouble In Mind
2. Things That Might Have Been
3. Cracks In The Finish
4. Full Go Round
5. How Long Blues
6. Serpent Of Dreams
7. The Terrible Operation
8. Sea Child
9. Good Shepherd
10. 3rd Week In The Chelsea
11. Just Because
12. Encore: Embryonic Journey

It's been a long day so I'm heading back to the hotel and hitting the sack. Good fun tonight though.

Today's Video


Anonymous said...

The repent sign got me 4 times. Oh well, I consider it a good thing.

Mary E.Carey said...

Love that wise-looking cat!

Pete said...

hey - I found your blog as I was looking for info or pics of the building that they are tearing down tomorrow - the old Lambson furniture warehouse - I wonder what they cleaned out of there - I wish I had the time to check it out - you should take some pictures - great blog