Monday, June 7, 2010
16 Acres of Hell?
How did this escape my attention for so long? There's a great website called Hell's Acres that I recently stumbled upon that is written by someone who grew up in the 16 Acres section of Springfield, which is located right next to my old stomping grounds of Pine Point. Indeed there is a lot of cultural overlap between the two neighborhoods, with Pointers feeling a special affinity for the Acres and with Acres folks also having a special relationship with the Point. For example Danny Croteau was a 16 Acres kid, but was well-known in the Point because he went to boy scout meetings at the Point's Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Social Center and also attended school there. The author of Hell's Acres doesn't reveal his identity, but explains his quest thusly:
You can't go home again," wrote Thomas Wolfe. Well, I was born and raised in the Sixteen Acres neighborhood of Springfield, MA. Then, after college, I got out of Dodge and lived in Boston for 21 years, only to return in 2007, when my career brought me back here. I don’t live in the old ’hood now (my new digs are in Wilbraham), but I work in The Acres. Although this blog isn’t exclusively about growing up—and returning to—the Springfield area, I can’t seem to escape it. Or can I?
Whoever he is he writes well and entertainingly about his 16 Acres boyhood, along with historic photos and other nostalgia. Some of it inevitably concerns Pine Point, such as this pic of a sign from the late, lamented Russell's restaurant parking lot.
Or this advertisement for their sister restaurant up the road, Abdow's Big Boy's.
But the real gem is this image of the long vanished Boston Road Burger Chef.
For years I've told people that I seem to remember a special that Burger Chef used to have on some occasions of ten burgers for ONE DOLLAR! So many people have scoffed at that price that I hesitate to tell them that I also seem to recall one time when they sold a dozen burgers for a buck! Thanks to this blog, I now have a newspaper advertisement showing that their regular price for a burger was a mere 15 cents, thereby proving that I am not mistaken about that special.
Anyway, if you'd like to further explore this treasure chest of local memorabilia, click here.
Speaking of Pine Point, here's Dorman School where my Dad attended when he was a boy.
The playground of Dorman has been renamed Jimmy Park after the late State Rep. Jimmy Grimaldi. Actually Grimaldi was considered something of a hack who repeatedly ran unsuccessfully for mayor, but he was a relative of former Mayor Mike Albano, who was responsible for the playground being renamed.
Oh well, if Richie Neal can have a building named after him and he ain't even dead yet, then I guess ol' Jimmy Grimaldi can have a playground. Here is a newsbox on Boston Road in Pine Point showing a paper last week praising the renovation work done on State Street.
Unfortunately State Street changes its name to Boston Road when it hits Pine Point so no work was done in that neighborhood. In fact you can see in the road the very line where the new State Street ends and the old Boston Road begins.
There's a new song out about the suicide of South Hadley's Phoebe Prince. It has sorta trite lyrics but the tune itself is good and it would serve the bullies right if it became a hit.