Crafts Property With Old Tavern Given to Public

by Laurel | January 25th, 2013

02 September 1923

Crafts Tavern

Crafts Tavern

Tract of 47 Acres Dedicated as Park —
With it Goes Ancient Building to Be Used as Museum

The Crafts property recently bought by the city was formally dedicated soon after 2 this afternoon in a brief program, the main address being given by Mayor James M. Curley of Boston. It is to be known as “Anniversary Field,” Mayor John F. Cronin announced in his address.

Edward N. White, chairman of the planning board, who presided, called on the band to play the “Star Spangled Banner,” following which he spoke as follows:–

“It has seemed appropriate at this time to formally transfer the title of the lank upon which we are now gathered, known as the Craft’s property, to a legally constituted board, who will for all time hold it as a sacred trust, dedicated to all the people of the city of Holyoke for their free use and enjoyment.

“This act of dedication will culminate a transaction that has for many years been only a dream but now, because of the consistent support of his honor Mayor Cronin and the approval of the honorable board of aldermen, it becomes a reality, fraught with great possibilities. Here for a century has stood a tavern known for its good cheer and hospitality and here for centuries to come our people of every race and creed will be welcomed by the call of the great open spaced and be inspired and refreshed by communion with sky and wood and broad outlook upon our beautiful Connecticut Valley. Here are 47 ½ acres of meadow land and hillside near the heart of our city to be dedicated to little children, vigorous youth and men and women workers of Holyoke. By our laws this field can never be diverted to other uses.

“May it not be that this semi-centennial of our city’s birth will be remembered not only by its pageant of our past accomplishments by by the legacy of this noble property to the generations yet to come and by the examples of foresight, democracy and friendliness that is the motive and purpose of our people as we look to the future.

Mayor Cronin’s Address

Mayor John F. Cronin said: —

“The city of Holyoke takes a long step into the future when it dedicates these (47) broad acres as a public park. The time has arrived in cities when parks and playgrounds must be planned for and acquired in advance of too much development. Years ago there was no need of municipal parks, for there was ample space for the recreation of the small number of people who had settled here. As the population grows, the available space becomes limited. If there is no careful city planning there may be congested districts where there is no adequate land which could be used to advantage as a public park. (There are one or two sections of our city where more park property may be wisely acquired and the city should not be blind to the needs before it is too late.)

“It was not until 1882 that the selection of commissioners to develop and control parks for the public were established. At that time the first park laws in this state were enacted. So anxious was the Legislature that the people should have the full enjoyment of parks, that is provided that land once acquired for park purposes should be forever kept open for the public. The law also prevents the erection of buildings in parks in order to bar the rights of the public to use these lands, it is necessary to get permission of the General Court.

“From now on, this large tract of land must be held by the city acting through its parks and recreation commission as a trustee for the public. The beneficiaries of this trust are the people of the city. With the proper development these acres should bring decided advantage,not only to the residents of this section but to all of Holyoke. With each passing year, their value will increase and the benefit to the city will grow.

“I hope and trust that this site, which is one of the best the city could secure, will be so developed that it will attract people from all sections of the city to visit it. Its great benefit will be realized if it will draw the people away from their everyday surroundings and give them relazation and comfort by its new scenes. Already children of this section frequent the dangerous highway to play. The park will be a protection to them. Already large numbers of people walk along Northampton street for pleasure on every day and night, this street being the most favorite promenade of the city. The park will be used by all these people who come from all sections of Holyoke and even more will come to enjoy it in the future It is not too far and it is not too near. I look for it to develop into one of the ideal recreation spots of Holyoke.

Crafts Tavern is Museum

“A distinctive feature of this new park will be in the maintaining of Crafts Tavern as a historical museum for all Holyoke. Already worthy citizens have given their time and their money to preserve the old tavern, which is one of the few historical buildings now standing within our straits. It appears that legislative action will be necessary to accomplish the desired ends but if this is so, such legislation should be obtained. Individuals and the various interested societies shall have opportunity to assist and with the co-operation of all a decided civic asset will be added t the city.

“The park will be a lasting memory of our 50th anniversary. While we are formally dedicating it today in reality it is already dedicated to the people of Holyoke. It is theirs to use and enjoy. In dedicating it anew we can only pledge ourselves to do develop the land and to maintain it that the people may obtain the measure of usefulness from it to the end that we may be a more satisfied more healthy and more contented community.”

Mrs. Dwight on the Old Tavern

Mrs. W. G. Dwight spoke as follows: —

“By consent of the mayor and park commission and the assured will of the people this old Crafts tavern built in 1785, and before whose doors 140 years of life has ebbed and flowed, its numbers should and its rooftop fine, is to be saved for the use of the people of Holyoke. Its distinct purpose is to reserve for Holyoke such features of the early life here as have been brought out in this celebration. It will make a harmonious setting for the old maps, old records, old furniture, old pictures which should be kept constantly  before he people of today in order that we may realize what we owe to the men and women who planted civilization in this valley and who through the long years since have stood for that every call in the nation, failing at no time to five the best and fullest.

“There may be a radio within. The mails that used to go by carrier and coach with pause at this door, now fly daily over its roofs. That is well, but it is well, too, to remember that across this threshold many a time came a woman whose husband and all of her sons were sent into the revolutionary war and whose fifth son while he stayed at home did the hard farm work that we might have this free nation.

“Where the pale light of the shadowed past smiles through the flow of today the candles flicker against the searchlights beam, it gives us pause too; it is well that we pause to think that the one was born of the other, that our rich inheritance cam from this past, that it is our high duty to pass on that inheritance not only as fine as we found it, but enriched for the future in the same measure that the built ever and ever more splendidly. It is that we may be reminded of this inheritance an to understand the great worth of the beginning of our highly, daring, greatly dreaming fathers that this old tavern is accepted as a trust from the city of Holyoke in the name of her people and to perpetuate her history.”

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