Attention: Brona Simon, Executive Director State Historic Preservation Officer Massachusetts Historical Commission Massachusetts Archives Building

220 Morrissey Boulevard Boston, MA 02125

From a high hill along the central highway through Pittsfield, the prominent Springside House looks down from a commanding view of Pittsfield's downtown, beckoning both the memories and hopeful aspirations of a city. As a local journalist and amateur local historian, Pittsfield's eclectic house on the hill has always fascinated me, as it has fascinated many area residents. Once known as Elmhurst, the house was the home of Abraham Burbank, a great benefactor of Pittsfield whose name adorns various sites throughout the city. Burbank came to Pittsfield from Springfield in 1833, sources say, with nothing but fifty cents, a bandana, and an old suit of clothes. Here he became a successful millionaire, who bequeathed significant property to his adopted city upon his death in 1887. It was subsequently owned by John Davol and then his son William H. Davol, who served successively as presidents of the Bridgeport Brass Company, which held many key patents in early lamp and electrical lighting parts. The latter Davol contributed such additions as the circular driveway, granite entrance posts, and adjacent barn. Springside House is also historically significant in that for nearly seven decades it served as the headquarters of Pittsfield's park services, the hub of outdoor activity in a city that boasts a proud tradition of athletics, parades, park and other outdoor public recreational events. In addition to its unique architectural presence and important historic associations, the building's prime location offers many potential uses of the property that could be greatly beneficial to area residents, whether through tourism, educational programming, or any other appropriate civic reuse of this well loved structure. Many years before my father bought a house near the southeastern rim of Springside Park and raised my brothers and I there, my grandfather and grandmother held hands on the lawn of Springside House at orchestra concerts that once drew crowds of thousands. 65 years later, I became involved in the Friends of Springside Park in order to best serve a community that has shown a growing awareness in recent years of the value and needs of the city's largest park and its vacant mansion. I believe my experience is not particularly unique, in a community where about half of all people who attended a public middle school here in the last 50 years had Springside House as their neighbor, and where most at one time used the criss crossing trails of its lawn as their short cut home, to the broad residential basin of the Morningside neighborhood beyond it. This estate, in so many different ways, is a crucial cornerstone in the shared cultural experience of a city's natives. I can think of no historic preservation project in the immediate region that has the potential to be so singularly unifying to the psyche of a city than that of the Springside House. I support and endorse the City of Pittsfield's application for Massachusetts Preservation Project funding in the strongest possible terms. Very Sincerely, Joe Durwin Historian-Archivist, Friends of Springside Park

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