JUST WALK IT: DOWNTOWN SPRINGFIELD!
The Springfield Central Cultural District is proud to have sponsored a new “Cultural and Walking Tour Map” of Downtown Springfield, MA! This is a tool that can be used by visitors to plan their trip or residents to learn more about their city. They are available at all Downtown hotels, visitors centers, and cultural institutions (check out their locations on the map!).
Take a walk through our cultural district and share with us what you see on our social media @sfldculture or using #ExperienceTheUnexpected.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1. MGM Springfield, Resort Casino featuring over 2000 slot machines, 84 table games, 3500 parking space garage, and 250 room 4-star hotel. This resort features over 40,000 square feet of retail space, movie theaters, bowling alleys and numerous dining and entertainment venues.
2. HH Richardson Courthouse (1874), The current home of the housing and juvenile courts is one of the two surviving Springfield buildings designed by the great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Capturing both Italian and Romanesque forms, the building’s central tower is modeled on Pallazo Vecchio of Florence, Italy.
3. Old First Church (1819), Court Square. This church was designed and constructed by master builder Isaac Damon of Northampton to be the fourth meetinghouse of a congregation that dated back to 1637. It is sophisticated early Classical revival style. Its copper rooster weathervane was made in 1750 in London and was presented as a gift to Massachusetts. Court Square has long been the religious and governmental center of Springfield. Citizens acquired the land in 1812 to attract the newly formed Hampden County government. Behind Old First Church is the President McKinley Memorial, sculpted by Philip Martiny, a student of August Saint-Gaudens.
4. MassMutual Center, Main Street and Falcons Way. This facility contains convention space, ballrooms, and a large arena, which is home to the Springfield Thunderbirds AHL hockey team. For more information and tickets call: 413.787.6610.
5. Pynchon Plaza (1977), between Dwight and Chestnut Streets. This urban pocket park features the sculpture Everglades by Isaac Witkin. Named for William Pynchon, founder of Springfield in 1636, Pynchon Plaza is a hillside park meant to connect downtown with the Springfield Museums.
6. Community Music School (1932), 127 State Street. This facility features Robyn Newhouse Hall and a 1930’s mural by Carroll Bill. The Springfield Community Music School offers musical instruction and Prelude Preschool of the Arts. Its Robyn Newhouse Hall in a former Art Modern banking hall is a striking performance venue with a large mural by Carroll Bill, The Modern Impulse Made Possible by Modern Banking. For more information call: 413.732.8428.
7. Puritan Statue (1899), Merrick Park State and Chestnut Streets. Since 1899, this small park has been home to the statue of Deacon Samuel Chapin, a founder of Springfield. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the greatest American sculptors, designed the statue while noted architect Stanford White designed the granite pedestal.
8. Central Library (1912), 220 State Street. This Italian Renaissance style building houses an unusually large collection. Visit its ornate rotunda and the newly-restored Robert Lewis Reed mural The Light of Education. For more information call: 413.263.6828.
9. Springfield Museums/Quadrangle, 21 Edwards Street
• D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts holds notable works including Erastus Salisbury Field’s massive Historical Monument of the American Republic as well as paintings by John Singleton Copley, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Paul Gauguin.
• George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum has an extensive collection of Middle Eastern and Asian art, including Japanese Samurai armor, Middle Eastern rugs, and Chinese cloisonné.
• Springfield Science Museum – Be sure to visit the Seymour Planetarium and Dinosaur Hall with a replica of a tyrannosaurus rex.
• Wood Museum of Springfield History features antique automobiles, motorcycles, airplanes, firearms, and products made in the Pioneer Valley. Exhibits interpret Springfield history in the larger context of 19th and 20th century American history.
• Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum will open in 2016-2017 with a major interactive Dr. Seuss exhibition.
• Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden – Children’s book author Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield. His first book, And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was filled with impressions from his Springfield childhood. Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Geisel’s stepdaughter, sculpted the bronze figures of Geisel and some of his most beloved characters.
For more information call the Museums Welcome Center: 413.263.6800.
10. Classical Condominiums (1897), 235 State Street. This large Renaissance Revival building was designed by the Boston firm of Hartwell, Richardson and Driver. Originally called “Central” High School, a large western addition was designed by H.L. Sprague in the 1920s. Renamed “Classical” in 1934, the school was closed in 1986 and now is home to condominiums and Art for the Soul Gallery.
11. Springfield Federal Courthouse (2008) and Sol Le Witt mural, 300 State Street. This building, designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, features the 300 foot long Wall Drawing No. 1259: Loopy Doopy (Springfield) – one of the last murals designed by Sol Le Witt.
12. Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Museum, Armory Square. In 1794, President George Washington established the first American armory in Springfield. Growth of this armory spurred the growth of the city. The many 19th century buildings now house Springfield Technical Community College and the Springfield Armory Museum, a National Historic Site and home to the world’s largest collection of American military firearms. For more information call: 413.734.8551.
13. Springfield Technical Community College, Armory Square. Founded in 1967, STCC is the only technical community college in the state. Performing and visual arts spaces include the Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery and the Scibelli Hall Theater.
14. Hispanic Baptist Church (1872), 18 Salem Street. Originally known as North Congregational Church, this building was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and is one of the most important landmarks in Springfield. The brownstone edifice features a 150-foot stone tower and Tiffany window.
15. Historic Mattoon Area, Mattoon and Elliot Streets. Developed between 1870 and 1890, this is one of few remaining intact areas lined with Victorian row houses that can be found in all of Western Massachusetts. Mattoon Street is often considered to be one of Springfield’s prettiest streets.
16. Apremont Triangle Area, Pearl and Chestnut Streets. This plaza is dedicated to the 104th Regiment that distinguished itself at the Battle of Apremont during World War I. Around it a grouping of early 20th century buildings including the former Rolls Royce dealership, a one-time manufacturer of cars in Springfield.
17. Stearns Square (1881), Worthington and Bridge Streets. Famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and architect Stanford White designed the park around Saint-Gaudens’ statue of Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of the founders of Springfield. Known as The Puritan, this statue is regarded as one of Saint-Gaudens’ finest works. In 1899 the statue and pedestal were moved to Merrick Park.
18. Duryea Way, between Worthington and Taylor Streets. A copy of a Duryea car by Richard Stevens marks the location where Frank and Charles Duryea created America’s first gas powered automobile in 1893. A Duryea car built in the nearby Stacy Building at 41 Taylor Street won the 1895 Times-Herald Race, the first automobile race in America.
19. State Office Building (1932) and Umberto Romano Murals, 436 Dwight Street. Constructed during the Great Depression as the Post Office and Federal Building, the building’s restrained Art Moderne styling is enlivened by colorful spandrels between upper floor windows. Its lobby features 1937 Social Realist WPA murals by Umberto Romano entitled Three Centuries of New England History.
20. Paramount Theater (1912, 1929), 1708 Main Street. The Massasoit House Hotel served generations of travelers. An 1850s section still exists behind the 1912 Classical facade. The Paramount Theater was added in 1929 and hosted major motion pictures, vaudeville shows, big band concerts, and talents such as Jack Benny.
21. WGBY, 44 Hampden Street. This facility is a public broadcasting organization serving western New England.
22. CityStage, 150 Bridge Street. This venue hosts plays, musical reviews, comedians, and concerts in its black box and main stage theaters. For more information and tickets call: 413.788.7033.
23. New England Public Radio, Fuller Building (built 1889), 1531-1545 Main Street. New England Public Radio delivers radio programming at 88.5 FM and other frequencies throughout western New England from its headquarters and studios in this Victorian era building.
24. Gallery Space at 1550 Main. This expansive lobby in a former Federal Courthouse, features small and medium works by local metal sculptor James Kitchen, whose work can also be found throughout downtown.
25. Tower Square Mall, 1500 Main Street
• Pan African Historical Museum USA displays art, artifacts, photographs and documents highlighting the struggles and success of African-Americans.
• Artist Square Group Gallery displays and sells work by local artists working in a variety of media.
• Avis Neigher Art Gallery features original paintings of regional artists.
• Valley Photographic Center promotes local professional and amateur photography exhibitions.
• Dream Studios offers acting, voice, and dance classes.
• UMass Center at Springfield is the hub for classes offered by the University of Massachusetts in Springfield, featuring fourteen multiuse classrooms and state of the art nursing facilities.
26. 1350 Main Gallery, Studio 9 and Springfield Symphony Orchestra Box Office (SSO). A lively art display is on view on the ground and ninth floors while the 35-ft tall Birdicus Giganticus by James Kitchen enlivens its north plaza. This building is also home to Spirit of Springfield, an organization that sponsors community events such as the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, and Teatro Vida, a local organization building youth leadership through the arts.
The SSO is the largest Massachusetts symphony outside Boston and holds seven classical and four pops performances at Symphony Hall each season. For more information and tickets call: 413.733.2291.
27. City Hall, Campanile, and Symphony Hall (1909), Court Street. After the first city hall burned in 1905, the city conducted a national competition and selected a design by Pell and Corbett of New York. President Taft gave the address at the 1913 dedication ceremony. City and Symphony Halls are Neo-Classical while the Campanile is similar to the bell tower of St Mark’s in Venice, Italy. Be sure to visit City Hall’s marble lobby and ornate second floor meeting rooms. Symphony Hall is the venue for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Public Forum as well as travelling musicals and concerts.
28. Riverfront Park/Connecticut River bikeway and walkway. The 3.7 mile bikeway/walkway spans the western edge of Springfield along the banks of the Connecticut River, a federally designated American Heritage River. Riverfront Park is home to numerous events throughout the year.
29. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 Hall of Fame Way. The Basketball Hall of Fame is a world–class museum complex highlighting the history of basketball and more than 300 inductees. The sport was invented in 1891 at Springfield College by Dr. James Naismith. The museum delights sports fans from around the world with its many interactive exhibits. The complex is also home to numerous restaurants and function spaces. For more information and tickets call: 1.877.446.6752.