Monday, October 1, 2012

Photo Then And Now: Stearns Square - Springfield, MA

Interesting Places I've Visited
Stearns Square
Springfield, MA
Topic: Photo Then And Now

GPS: N42° 06.265; W072° 35.450

Quick Description: 

Stearns Square was once the showpiece of Springfield. It is now a shadow of its former self.

Long Description:

Stearns Square is located in downtown Springfield. A photo on display at the Springfield History Museum, taken in 1890, shows the area when it was the artistic center of the city; created by the dream team of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and architect Sanford White. The caption reads:

"A view of Stearns Square in 1890 with the Turtle Fountain and the Puritan Statue. As a gift to the city, Chester Chapin commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create the bronze sculptures, which were installed in the park setting designed by Stanford White in 1887. Due to vandalism, it was necessary to relocate the Puritan statue to Merrick Park, while the Turtle Fountain went to Gurdon Bill Park, and then to Forest Park."

Today the fountain, created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, has been returned to Stearns Square but lacks plumbing and is inoperable. Once, four sculptured snapping turtles sprayed water into the center of a circular basin. Water also came down from the mouths of two fish on the globe. The globe remains but the snapping turtles, which were the victim of vandalism and theft are in storage and in control of the Springfield Parks Department. The marble bench in the middle of the square remains and is in need of restoration. The iconic statue of the Puritan is doing nicely in its new home in Merrick Park.

Year old photo was taken:
Year new photo was taken: 2012

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