On March 8th The Springfield Preservation Trust nominated its 2015 Board of Directors. We asked the new board members to introduce themselves to the our membership.
“My interest in preservation began not long after moving into an apartment on Florida Street (1971) while attending Springfield College. It was at a time when many of McKnight’s grand homes had fallen into disrepair as victims of neglect. Many long term residents of McKnight had joined the ‘flight to the suburbs,’ a trend that unfortunately typified many urban areas at the time. When we arrived, most of the homes were vacant or had been converted into into apartments. I believe the young people who were renting there helped to reverse McKnight’s decline. They loved the homes and enthusiastically promoted the area.
After graduate school, my former wife and I decided to stay in Springfield and not long after beginning a career in education I decided to change directions and take up real estate. The real estate market in Springfield has certainly seen its share of ups and downs, but it has always bounced back. This last downturn has been longer and more severe than most, however the market is finally on the mend. I’ve just celebrated my thirty fifth year in real estate and continue to be fascinated by the business. I’ve met and continue to meet really great people; I have developed lasting friendships and I enjoy working with Springfield’s tremendous housing stock. Having been a member of the SPT since the 1970’s, I look forward to working on its Board and assisting in any way I can.”
Stephen Davis was born in Springfield and earned a Degree in Hospitality. After a stint working as a sound technician at Theodore’s, he currently works as an audio/video technician for the Eastern States Exposition. His interest in preservation and his involvement with SPT came in a round-about way; while at his parents’ home, he saw a photograph of himself as a child with a large stone on the tree belt. To get more information he contacted some of the City Offices and the Building Dept. directed him to two Trust members.
Stephen is continuing the process of digitizing the WPA photographs that are housed in the Springfield Building Department. Once the photo is scanned, Steve can edit the image and upload them to the SPT website. These photographs, taken in 1938 & 1939, documented every building in the city and represents what the city looked like in the years between the Great Depression and World War II.
Guy McLain is a leading expert on the history of the Connecticut River Valley and Western New England. Over the course of his 30 year career as an historian he has served as the curator of more than two dozen exhibits, is the author of the Pioneer Valley: a Pictorial History, and is the editor of Springfield Fights the Civil War. Since 2001 he has served as the Director of the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. He oversaw the opening of the museum’s new building in 2009.
Prior to his appointment in Springfield, he served as a member of the University of Massachusetts Archives staff, where he catalogued and wrote guides for several significant historical collections. In 1995 he was appointed Curator and Archivist of the Houston Holocaust Museum, where he oversaw the preservation of the artifact collection, established the institution’s library and archives, and organized the oral history program.
“We moved to Springfield in 2012 for work – I am the Historic Preservation Planner for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC). I have a background in archaeology, and masters degrees in preservation and planning.
We chose to buy our home in Forest Park because we fell in love with the house and the neighborhood – walking distance to the park, grocery store, bus stop, library … all great things for two former Philadelphians who didn’t own a car until we moved up here. And, I got to check “live in a National Register Historic District” off my bucket list. My husband is currently a town planner in Enfield, and we have two small children (ages 4 and 8 months).”