Almshouse & Burial Grounds, Springfield, MA.

The following information was posted to our Message Board
by Roberta Cyr  Rob147Ma@aol.com
 
There was an Almshouse/Poor Farm at 1400 State St., Springfield, Hampden County, MA. And they had their own burying grounds behind the farm. 1873-1952

In 1873, this land the Almshouse stood on was all farm and extended back quite a distance. Since that time roads were built and now the old burying grounds is on city park property and has been forgotten.

In 1952, a new hospital was built to replace the Almshouse and it was named, Municipal Hospital. Which was still run by the State of Massachusetts. A few years back, private owners bought the building and it was names Olympus Specialty Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, still located at 1400 State St., Springfield, MA. On April 8, 2001, the hospital was sold again to Parkview Specialty Hospital.

 
I found news articles dated back to 1873 when the Almshouse was first built and the only records for the burying grounds is in the Conn. Valley Historical Museum at the Quadrangle, 220 State St., Springfield, MA.

There were over 1000 burials from 1873-1952, which included many infants, children, men, women and unknown. There are names in the hand copied booklet for # 550 to possibly #670 of the numbered markers that were replaced at the graves in 1936 after welfare men were hired to dig up the graves and place them in rows, etc. There used to be two crypts at the rear part of the cemetery, according to one of the articles in the Springfield Union News, dated 1915. There are only imprints of 4 corner posts where the crypts may have stood. They were discarded years ago by Park employees, not knowing what they were.

 
Last fall, my husband and I went to this cemetery, now called, "Bay Path Cemetery", which is in Blunt Park, off Roosevelt Ave., Springfield, MA. and we tried to uncover the buried numbered markers.

We found 205 markers and I cross referenced these numbers to the copies I have. Most were infants from 1873 and later. No names..

In 1981, the past Springfield Historical Society had people clean the cemetery once again, plant trees and flowers which were donated by different companies. New gates were installed and also a small monument to honor the poor.

 
But when I wanted to find this cemetery last fall, I called the Parks dept. and the man answered said there was no cemetery in this park. But he then gave me the phone number for the shed at Blunt Park. I called and left a message. To my surprise, a man called me back and said there "Was a cemetery in Blunt Park", and we made arrangements to meet the next afternoon.

I wrote letters to the Mayor's office, Senator Edward Kennedy and sent out messages by email. After my pleas, a sign was erected at the main fence to the cemetery, which now at least tells someone it's a cemetery. Trees were cut down, brush cleaned and taken away, etc. So maybe my calls and letters did some good. I hope.

If anyone wants to know something about Springfield's Almshouse, please email me.

Roberta Cyr

Return to MASSACHUSETTS                      HOME