On Springfield

Casino-free Zone

Have you had your fill of the casino war and are eager for something—anything—else to think about? Or are you completely absorbed by the drama and looking for something to pass the time until the next battle (this evening’s City Council meeting, at 5 p.m., when councilors will discuss the city’s community agreement with MGM)?

Either way, may I direct your attention to this terrific photo essay on the Springfield Armory, by MassLive’s Laura Merwin? Merwin’s captured some really striking and moody shots of the armory, which is a National Historic Site, run by the National Parks Service.

I’m embarrassed to say how long I lived here before I finally made my first visit to the armory, but I’m glad I finally made it; it’s a well-maintained and fascinating window into Springfield’s history—notably, a time when the armory, not a casino, was the city’s economic engine. (This region, of course, is full of great national historic sites; my other favorites are Minute Man National Historic Park in Concord and the excellent complex of restored mills in Lowell.)

If you’re looking for an excuse to check out the armory, try this: on Memorial Day (Monday, May 27), the U.S. Coastguard Dixieland Jazz Band will play a free concert there at 2 p.m.

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