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Last week, we toured the main armory building at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. The armory was a large facility which grew over time in terms of the property added to the installation and the number of buildings. In the mid-1960s, when the armory was no longer a viable site for weapons production. The site and the buildings were turned over to the State of Massachusetts The original armory building and surrounding grounds are now part of a U.S. National Historic Site. The other buildings and grounds are now the campus of Springfield Tecnical Community College (STCC, pronounced Stick).
The buildings being used today for education, were once used for manufacturing, material storage, the boarding of horses and the housing of workers and military personnel assigned to the armory. Most of this post is focused on two of these buildings, the commandant’s residence and the junior officer’s residence. The information which follows is from the NIS web page.
Quarters 1, or the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, built under the direction of Major James Wolfe Ripley between 1845-1847, replaced the 1820 Superintendent’s Quarters located on what is now the site of the Main Arsenal, Building 13 and was condemned in 1843.Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Continuously for almost 170 years the Commanding Officer’s Quarters housed the Superintendents and Commandants of Springfield Armory, beginning with Major James Ripley and ending with Lt. Colt C.B. Zumwalt when the Armory closed in April 1968.
Under the direction of Major James Ripley, Springfield Armory underwent many changes. Ripley wrote to the Ordnance Department “…little has been done for many years in the way of improving the grounds about the Armory, and their appearance is anything but creditable to the establishment.” And he requested funds to improve the grounds of the Armory, which included purchasing additional land, a redesign of the grounds, planting of numerous trees, hedges, and flowers, installing gas lamps, and the construction of fence and numerous buildings.
The construction of the Commanding Officer’s Quarters faced setbacks in the procurement of funds, approval for the building, and then in the construction process. Major Ripley initially requested funds to repair the current quarters in 1841, but after having the building inspected by a few individuals he followed the advice of one and requested that it be demolished and a new quarters built in 1842—The house was built in the Greek Revival style using brownstone from a quarry in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts for its foundation. With bold but simple details, pillars supporting the porch coverings and on either side of the main door, the Quarters took command of the ground. A circular drive was placed in front and walkways circled the Quarters. The Commanding Officer’s Quarters has numerous marble fireplaces, elaborate carved borders, pocket doors, built in bookcases and shelves, and parquet flooring. Water was piped to the building in 1845 and gas was introduced in 1851.
In 1869 the construction of the duplex began with the masonry structure completed in 1870. The Junior Officer’s Quarters was built in the Second Empire Style with many architectural elements that reflected the Victorian Period influence. The Quarters had a mansard roof, dormer windows, arched window heads, and bracket cornices, creating an elaborate, freeform house. This departure, from the classical architecture used in many of the other Hill Shop buildings, gave the Junior Officer’s Quarters and the southern corner of the Green a distinctive look and feel.Springfield Armory National Historic Site
The Junior Officer’s Quarters were listed in the Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources in 2017 and the building underwent major restoration including rebuilding portions of the foundation and historic chimneys, as well as repointing the brickwork.
In 1960, it was designated as a contributing building to the Springfield Armory National Historic Landmark and is registered in the National Historic Register of Historic Landmarks. With the close of the Armory in 1968, the building ownership was transferred to the State of Massachusetts to Springfield Technical Community College. Today while the building is not occupied, it still brings remembrance to the families of the Armory.
The gallery has several pictures of these two buildings, including a couple historic photos. I hope you enjoy the photos. I also hope you will visit some of the other Thursday Doors blog posts. If you don’t have time today, please return on Sunday for the Thursday Doors Sunday Recap.
Ack! I almost forgot. OK, I did forget. I was supposed to include a link to Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan challenge. I especially wanted to post today because John Holton, from The Sound of One Hand Typing gave us today’s prompt – Complaint. I guess it’s John’s right to complain about my forgetful nature.
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