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Springside House One Step Closer to
News & Information on Springside Park
Vol. I, Fall 2012 Restoration Colonial Theater, the Springside House is an integral piece of Pittsfield’s history and should be preserved."
Pond Repair on City Wish List
By James McGrath, City of Pittsfield
Pittsfield's only city-owned historic mansion moved one step closer to revitalization this summer, with the completion of an analysis of its original appearance by UMASS historical preser-vation student Lisa Sauer. This historic paint analysis of the 152 year old house formerly known as Elmhurst, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, was conducted in consideration of a $250,000 allocation by the city in 2010 to help establish the UMASS historical preservation program based at Hancock Shaker Village. In it, researcher Lisa Sauer conducted both archival research as well as sampling and laboratory analysis of the mansion's exterior paint finishes. Twelve samples were taken from discrete areas of the building, and their multiple layers of paint studied at the conservation laboratory at Shaker Village. by reconstructing the dating of layers, combined with reference to local records and architectural history from the era of its construction, Sauer determined the most likely historic color scheme of the house and what its equivalents in modern paint shades would be. According to her research, the most historically accurate motif would be a white and cream combination with the addition of green shutters, as opposed to its current white and green finishes. The house was last painted in 1991, by the GE Elfin Club. At the time, it quartered the city's Parks and Recreation Department, but the house has been mostly vacant since 2007, with the exception of a rear apartment which has been used to house the city's AmeriCorps Vista volunteers. Park advocates say this analysis was an essential component to any potential restoration efforts on the house. Due to its national historic status, future work done on the property must be done with an eye to preservation of its original character. Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon, who has been advancing a proposal to restore the house, expressed gratitude to the Master Historic Preservation program at Shaker Village for the finished paint analysis.' "This document is a great resource to the City of Pittsfield as we move forward to a hopeful future renovation of this great Berkshire Cottage," said Yon. "Just like the
Editor's Note: The City of Pittsfield recently released a "Wish List" of projects it is not currently prepared to fund, but would welcome support from local business and community members in. James McGrath, the city's Park & Open Spaces Program Manager, provided the following overview and history of pond restoration planning. The City of Pittsfield is seeking to undertake a complete pond restoration project at Springside Pond. With the goal of restoring this small degraded urban pond to a more natural functioning open water resource, the project will yield numerous benefits, including improved aquatic habitat, improved water quality and enhanced public recreational access. This will be a multi-year, multi-phase project that will also include efforts to address previously identified areas within the Springside Pond drainage area that are known to contribute to the erosion problems that have negatively impacted the pond. Once realized, these environmental restoration actions will contribute to and stimulate ongoing park and neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Constructed in the late 1890’s and enlarged to its current configuration in 1919, Springside Pond is currently a 1/2 acre shallow water body of irregular shape that lies along an intermittent stream that travels southerly through the park. The contributing watershed is approximately 200 acres and consists mostly of sloping wooded terrain with some open grassy and/or brushy areas. A low cut granite and limestone retaining wall, topped with a concrete cap once bordered the entire pond but is severely deteriorated and in many areas has fallen into the pond. A portion of the pond bottom has [Continued on Page 2] Great Strides Made in Spring Clean Up Efforts; Fall Park Cleanup Set for Nov 10 About forty volunteers turned out for the annual spring clean up organized by the Friends of Springside on April 21. “We're very delighted, because the garbage in the park is getting less and less,” Elizabeth Kulas told the Parks Commission in June, though noting that some illicit dumping remains an issue. In addition to around two dozen trash bags and larger items collected, concerns voiced by volunteers following the cleanup prompted the city to remove several tons of its own refuse which had accumulated around the Buildings and Maintenance Department facilities there. This included the removal of large amounts of scrap metal, plastic and broken equipment strewn between the maintenance buildings and the Stephens Pond wetland area, some of which had littered the area for years. The Friends of Springside has organized one to two cleanup efforts per year for nearly a quarter of a century, typically in the Spring and late Fall. While diligent efforts by volunteers and neighbors have greatly reduced the refuse in this sprawling parkland, littering and even larger illegal dumping remain an ever present problem, In addition to paper, plastic and glass litter, volunteers at the April clean up day removed such items as tires, pallets, a toilet tank and a car door.
Did you know?
The first airplane flight in the Berkshires was in 1911, when pilot Charles Witmer took off from
Allen Farm on July 4. It was also the first airplane crash, when Witmer's plane was caught by strong winds and crashed in what is now Springside Park just a few moments later.
News & Information on Springside Park
Expanded Summer Concert Series Well Attended
Excellent weather and high attendance was enjoyed at the city's oldest continuously running concert series on the lawn of Springside Park this summer, which saw expansion from six to eight weeks this year. This year's concert series included the Eagles Band, was held June 19. The Housatonic Philharmonic on July 10; the Eagles Band, July 17; The Dixie Cats, July 24; Wintergreen on July 31; and the Eagles Band, Aug. 7; Phil Grovers Rock & Roll Review, Aug. 14, and Rumours on Aug. 21. The series, which is organized by the J. Vincent Hebert Arboretum, and made possible through funding from Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and donations from concert goers, saw crowds of around a hundred people or more throughout the season. The location has been utilized as a venue for musical performances for much of the last century, hosting crowds of up to 3,000 people in earlier decades. The Eagles Band, which plays several concerts there each summer, is the oldest continuously running performance ensemble in the Berkshires. The Arboretum also sponsored a series of nature hikes guided by park naturalist Victor Capelli, gardening work days and educational workshops on pruning trees and shrubs the second Tuesday of each month. pond are also deteriorated and the intended water level in the pond cannot be maintained due to leakage through the dam and spillway. Outflow from the pond travels a very short distance overland to a catch basin where it is then piped underground over 1/2 mile to the northwest corner of Silver Lake where it is discharged. Over the years, the pond has become heavily silted in, leading to diminished water quality and habitat value as well as diminished recreational value. Currently, sedimentation has filled the northern end of the pond, considerably reducing its size. Estimates of sediment build up from 2000 revealed that approximately 3,200 cubic yards of material could be removed during a restoration project. In 2000, the Springside Park Pond Management Study (Dufresne-Henry, Inc.) was completed. This study analyzed the drainage area of the pond and found several keys areas where erosion was taking place within the park (primarily along paths and roadways) which directly contribute to the siltation problems being experienced in the pond. The study also detailed pond restoration strategies, outlined permitting requirements, and developed estimates of probable cost. The pond restoration project is an important aquatic resource reclamation project for the City of Pittsfield and the Morningside neighborhood. Through the restoration activities, the environment and community will benefit from a marked improvement in water quality into and through the pond environment which will lead to improved aquatic habitat for flora and fauna within the feeder stream and pond. In addition, recreational opportunities at and around the pond will be improved. Once these improvements are realized, it is envisioned that more park users will enjoy the pond area for wading, fishing, or just simple quiet reflection. In the winter months, the city hopes to be able to provide ice skating for the public as it had for many years prior. The city has no plans to promote swimming in this restored pond and will actively discourage that activity.
Vol. I, Fall 2012
New Pavilion for Pond Area
By Gail Krumpholz, Morningside Initiative
The Morningside Initiative is proud to announce the addition of a new pavilion to Springside Park. Working closely together with the City of Pittsfield a mutual decision was made that Springside Park would be the perfect place for a new pavilion. The pavilion is covered and houses four picnic tables with views of the nearby pond. The pavilion is an inviting venue for picnics, gatherings and family parties and promotes a welcoming community spirit into the park. The Morningside Initiative would like to thank all the organizations and groups involved in the revitalization of Springside Park, we support any efforts to beautify and improve the park and we are proud to have such a wonderful asset in our community.
Quotes & Comments from the official Springside Park Facebook page
“I spent everyday in the summer months during the 70's with my little ones at the wading pool. We would pack a lunch and spend hours.” -Barbara Walger “I lived in the alps for many years but will never forget how big the Indian rocks were when I was climbing them back in the day. Loved that park,” -Robert LeClair
TIDBITS The Fall park cleanup will be held on Nov. 10 from 9:30am-5pm. Meet at the upper playground, just past 874 North St. Work gloves are recommended. *** Paula Cousineau and Kim Smith were married in the gardens of Springside Park on August 17, 2012.
News & Information on Springside Park. Published quarterly.
Pond Restoration on City Radar
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Friends of Springside-874 North St. Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-347-3812 Hebert Arboretum P.O. Box 344, Pittsfield, MA 01202 413-443-5348 MorningsideInitiative Gailann1064@aol.com , (413) 499-8627
a concrete cap layer, a remnant from the time when a portion of the pond was used as a public wading pool. A granite and limestone dam, outflow structure, and arched footbridge at the lower end of the
Subscriptions,comments & contributions contact : firstname.lastname@example.org 395 North Street, Pittsfield, MA Editor: Joe Durwin
Springside Now is a production of the Friends of Springside Park, with support and cooperation from the Hebert Arboretum, Morningside Initiative, and the City of Pittsfield Office of Community Development. SpringsideNow 2012-All Rights Reserved.
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