The effort to save the oldest remaining school building in the city has received a major boost: $50,000, to be exact.
The money comes from the 1772 Foundation, which funds historic preservation projects around the country. The foundation awarded the grant to the Springfield Preservation Trust, the private non-profit that’s taken on the big task of renovating the 181-year-old building at 77 Maple St., in the Lower Maple Historic District.
Originally the home of the Springfield Female Seminary, the brick building has been both a private residence and office building over the years. In recent years, it has been empty and deteriorating—until the SPT bought the building in 2009 and begun a major rehabilitation project, led by city architect and preservationist Bill Devlin. (For photos and more information about the history of 77 Maple St., click here.)
So far, the group said in an announcement, “With the assistance from the City of Springfield, Massachusetts Historical Commission, and MassMutual Financial Group, SPT has stabilized the foundation, jacked and cabled the house, rebuilt walls, and restored historic windows and trim.” SPT President Ben Murphy said the $50,000 grant will be used for exterior work on the building.
Meanwhile, city preservationists continue to hope someone will step up to save the historic Allis Mansion, on the campus of Mercy Medical Center, which had been slated for demolition to make way for a parking lot before the hospital agreed to seek a potential developer.