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Property Details: Greenwood Memorial Pool     


Property Details: Greenwood Memorial Pool
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Property Information
Greenwood Memorial Pool
69 Park Street
Gardner, MA
Find it with Google™ Maps!
Price: Contact agent for more details
Bathrooms: 4
Square Feet: 2,250
Lot Description/Acreage:
3.5 acres
Year Built:
1915
Architect/Builder:
Thomas A. Fox and Edwards J. Gale
Architectural Style:
Classical Revival
(c.1880-1940)
 
Contact Information
Name: Doris Forte
Phone: 978-632-3514
Email: Send an email...
    Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
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Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA Click for a larger image! Historic real estate listing for sale in Gardner, MA
 
Property History
The History of the Greenwood Memorial

Gardner gained its reputation as the Chair City during the 19th century, when it became a hub of furniture manufacturing. One of the most prominent companies working in the city during that time was the Heywood-Wakefield Furniture Company. Walter Heywood began making chairs in a shed in Gardner Center in 1826; his brothers Levi and Benjamin soon joined him. Levi moved to Boston in 1831 to open a store, while Walter and Benjamin remained in Gardner to manufacture the chairs. After a fire destroyed their first shop in 1834, the brothers purchased land south of Crystal Lake to build a new, larger facility. Levi Heywood helped to revolutionize the production of chairs during the second quarter of the 19th century and became the family’s patriarch. His descendants donated several buildings to the city, including a library in his name, as well as a hospital and the Greenwood Memorial. The Heywood-Wakefield Furniture Company still exists in name, although it is now under new ownership and is no longer based in Gardner.

The land the Greenwood Memorial was constructed on was once part of Crystal Lake. In the late 19th century a branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad was constructed at the southern tip of the lake, cutting off a small section of the lake and creating what was known as “Little Crystal Lake.” This was part of the Heywood-Wakefield Company’s property, and their factories were just to the southeast in Gardner Center. A small stream that flowed from Crystal Lake powered the factories. The company had a license from the state to use the water and to fill part of the land, although the license included the stipulation that they were not to build on the land. This stipulation was removed in 1913, as Levi Heywood Greenwood prepared his plans for a Bath House on the property.

In the 1910s, Greenwood made the decision to build a bathhouse as a monument to his parents, Alvin M. and Helen R. Greenwood, to be known as “The Greenwood Memorial.” “Recalling the inadequate swimming facilities, with little or no instruction or supervision when he was a boy in Gardner, he came to the conclusion that a bath house embodying both an inside and an outside swimming pool would constitute such a suitable and useful memorial.” On April 14, 1914, Greenwood wrote a letter to the citizens of Gardner, stating that if they would accept, he would build the Greenwood Memorial and donate it to the town, with the stipulation that they maintain the facilities. Ten days later at Town Meeting, Gardner’s citizens voted to accept Greenwood’s proposal, and construction on the Greenwood Memorial was begun. The official opening day was July 6, 1915, although the pool was opened for three days before this; 5,000 visitors came during just those three days.

The Greenwood Memorial was constructed at a cost of $80,000, and Levi Heywood Greenwood spared no expense in creating this memorial to his parents. Thomas A. Fox and Edwards J. Gale of Boston designed the building. Henry F. Bryant, a civil engineer from Boston, drew up the design for the grounds, while Robert Cameron, director of the Harvard University Botanical Gardens, chose the plantings. The meticulously landscaped grounds can be seen in early photographs of the building. A gravel path ran around the outside pool; it was lit by tall lampposts and had shrubs planted at path intersections. A line of mature trees separated the outdoor pool from the railroad tracks that form the property’s northern border. Shrubs and trees were also planted at the front of the building, separating the railroad tracks from the property. Unfortunately, over the years the original plantings and the layout of the grounds have been lost. This occurred as early as 1960, when an entry in the city reports for that year notes that “the shrubs around the outside pool were removed, the terrain graded and grass planted.”

The choice of the Classical Revival style for the building would have been easy. The style debuted in the United States with the “White City” constructed for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Very traditional lines and details characterize the style, and buildings were usually constructed out of brick or stone. The City Beautiful movement of the early 20th century popularized the style. The movement focused on updating and beautifying cities through the creation of parks and new public buildings usually built in the Classical Revival style. The style would have been an excellent choice for Levi Heywood Greenwood’s memorial to his parents, as the style was current yet timeless, and acceptable for a public building like a bath house. Because of its style, the building stands out in the neighborhood. Most of the buildings nearby are single- or multi-family housing from the second half of the 19th century, built when Gardner’s population was expanding rapidly. Although Gardner Center is nearby, with several large public and former factory buildings, the Greenwood Memorial stands out as one of the only public buildings in the immediate area.

The Greenwood Memorial quickly became an important Gardner institution. At a time when many residents did not have reliable access to indoor water, hot or cold, the indoor pool provided a place to get clean. It was also an excellent recreation space, allowing the city to run “learn to swim” programs year-round. In addition to providing a maintained and staffed swimming space in the summer, the outdoor pool also served as an ice rink in the winter. At the commemoration of the Greenwood Memorial’s 35th anniversary, The Gardner News noted that “indoor pools are not common in New England. Some Y. M. C. A. units in the larger cities boast them. Springfield, Boston, New Haven, Providence and Worcester, largest cities in the six state area, have pools, some of them bathtub size, in connection with their boys clubs. The average community must do its bathing at home and limit its swimming in the summer months.” The pool was a point of pride for the city of Gardner.

The Greenwood Memorial has long been used for various swimming competitions, and for much of the 20th century was the practice space for the Gardner High School swim team. The first swimming exhibition was held at the pool on November 30, 1915, and since then a variety of local, state, and national competitions have been held at the pool. In addition to the high school team, for much of its history the Greenwood Memorial has been the home of the private Greenwood Memorial Swim Club. Several swimmers from both teams have gone on to compete in the Olympic trials, and recently Samantha Arsenault, a former Greenwood Memorial swimmer, won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games as part of the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay team. The high school team has won 16 state titles in recent years, all while swimming out of the Greenwood Memorial Pool and Bath House.

The Greenwood Memorial Pool and Bath House building can be roughly divided into two sections. The first is a one-and-a-half story hipped-roof section at the front that houses the lobby, locker rooms, and offices. A main center section is framed by two wings that extend roughly a foot in front of the center section. At the rear of this hipped-roof section is a large, approximately two-and-a-half story side-gable section that houses the pool itself. The building is on a small three-and-a-half acre lot with Crystal Lake immediately to the north and Park Street to the south. The two building sections are rectangular, with the entry section perpendicular to Park Street and the pool section extending from the rear of the first section and running parallel to the street. To the west of the indoor pool is a modern outdoor pool, which replaced an earlier pool that had been on the site since the Greenwood Memorial was built in 1914. The south elevation of the Greenwood Memorial. The locker rooms and offices are in this front section, while the pool is to the left, in the gabled section.

 
Property Description
The Greenwood Memorial building is composed of two sections: a one-and-a-half- story hipped-roof entry area that houses the locker rooms and offices, and a larger gabled section that houses the pool. The building was constructed of light yellow brick with sandstone trim in the Classical Revival style. A series of updates beginning in the 1960s and 1970s altered the building, although it retains its original form, massing, and layout. The property was originally composed of the building and a natural but maintained pond immediately to the rear (west) of the building. In the 1990s this pond was filled and a modern in-ground outdoor pool was built further to the west of the building.

Exterior The building was constructed of a light yellow brick, and has several Classical Revival features. Two Doric columns highlight the main entry. Behind these are flat Doric pilasters. The columns are topped by a curved hood, creating a small entry porch. The main entry door is a replacement; historic images of the building show a set of double doors, each with a single pane of glass in the top half of the door. The building originally had a set of five concrete stairs leading up to the main entrance. At some point these were removed, and the land in front of the entry was graded; now a path leads up to the door with no stairs.

The main entrance as it once looked (left, in an undated photograph from the Levi Heywood Memorial Library), and as it looks today. The stairs have been removed and replaced by a ramp, to make the building accessible.

The visible portion of the basement on the hipped-roof section of the building is rusticated, and sits underneath a water table made up of three stepped layers of the yellow brick. The building has patterned brickwork at the eaves of the front façade. Above two large windows on the main façade is a panel of horizontal herringbone work, with a square of sandstone turned 45 degrees in the center. On either side of these large rectangular panels is a smaller square panel with the same layout. The sandstone squares are also repeated above the two windows on either side of the main entry, but without the herringbone brickwork. Visible rafter tails with carved ends run under the eaves of the hipped-roof section. There are also small, carved brackets at the cornice line, under the eaves.

On the roof of the entry section are several dormers. There are three at the front of the building, and one on each of the sides. These provide light for the offices on the second story of the building. The two wings are topped by a large, round copper finial. The finial on the southern side appears to be missing a section, a band that runs around the main ball feature. Rising from the rear of the entry section, at the gable end of the pool section, is a rectangular chimney. It is constructed of the same yellow brick as the building. Historic photographs show a large cap at the top of the chimney, which is now missing.

The herringbone brickwork on the front façade is visible above the windows. A copper finial tops the hipped roof wing.

The side-gable section extending from the rear of the hipped-roof section houses the pool. It is approximately two-and-a-half stories tall, and has less detailing than the hipped- roof section. It is constructed out of the same light yellow brick as the first section, and has an asphalt shingle roof. Two rows of windows run along both of the long sides of the building. At the first floor, the windows are vertical rectangles filled with glass blocks. On the second floor, the windows are large single-pane awning windows. All of the windows have a light-colored limestone sill. Between each window is a full-height vertical pier, done in the same light yellow brick as the main body of the building. A water table done in stepped layers of the yellow brick runs along the base of each side wall.

The outdoor pool originally abutted the western gable end of the building. A concrete deck area extended from the building, but it has since been removed. Historic images show that it had diving boards and several ladders to get in and out of the pool. Three doors in the gable end of the building, connected by a metal catwalk, provided access to this outdoor pool from the indoor pool. A door on the second story of the indoor pool leads out to a small platform. A set of stairs extends down from either side of the platform, each ending at another platform in front of a door from the first story of the indoor pool. From these lower doors a shorter set of stairs led down to the concrete deck area; they now lead to grass. The detailing in the catwalk is another example of the great care Levi Heywood Greenwood took in constructing this monument to his parents. The balusters supporting the railing on the top platform are accented by diamonds and half-circles. Acorn newel caps top all of the newel posts on the catwalk. Scroll brackets support the stairs and the upper platform, and there are scroll features projecting from the balusters of the stairs.


A few of the Classical Revival features from the hipped-roof section of the building are carried around to the rear gable end of the pool section. At the roof, the eaves extend about a foot from the building, and have brackets similar to those found at the front of the building. Over each of the three doors is a narrow shelf supported at each end by scroll brackets. These shelves are made of the same light-colored sandstone as the other trim on the building. Several feet above the second-floor door was originally a large half-circle window. This had a sandstone sill and keystone. However this window was filled in with glass blocks, like many of the other windows on the building. The window was made into a square, and the remaining area in the half-circle was filled with a yellow brick, although it is a different color than the original and does not blend in with the rest of the building.


Interior The Greenwood Memorial has a small basement area under the entry section of the building where the filtration and heating equipment for the pool are located. Numerous water issues are evident here, both in the peeling paint and the standing water in places on the floor. Caretakers for the pool noted that in wet years, water would seep up through the floor, as the building sits below Crystal Lake, and the land was in fact once part of the lake. A crawl space runs along each side of the pool, and these have been known to fill with water in especially wet years.

On the first floor, the main lobby retains a large wooden registration desk along the western wall. Doors on either side of the desk lead to the pool. To the north and south are the locker rooms and restrooms, the women’s rooms to the south and the men’s to the north. On the southern wall, between doors to the women’s locker room and restroom, is a bronze plaque commemorating the building. It reads

Plans for the structure were drawn by Thomas A. Fox and Edwards J. Gale of Boston. The landscaped grounds fronting on Park Street with beautiful Crystal Lake in the background were the work of Henry F. Bryant, Boston Civil Engineer. Robert Cameron, director of the Botanical Gardens at Harvard University, selected and supervised the planting of the shrubs, which surrounded the building, while the Sanitary Engineering Co. of Boston installed the sanitation system.

 
Additional Notes
The property is owned by the City of Gardner. The pool was closed in 2012 and has fallen into disrepair. Necessary repairs were not made by the City. A group of concerned citizens formed the non-profit organization called the Friends of the Greenwood Pool. The group worked to place the structure on to the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historical Registers. All the necessary paperwork was submitted, however, the Mayor of the City refused to write a letter of support.

The historic property has been an icon of Gardner, and the hope is that the new owner will give the building a purpose with dignity and retain the historical integrity of the building.

The Friends of the Greenwood Pool have been given the permission to list and sell the property. The permission was given to the President of the Friends, Doris Forte, by the current Mayor Mark Hawke. Contact Doris Forte for price, additional information and EIN

Last Updated: June 15, 2019
All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified.


 
 

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