Webster Westbank  
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Plans for a Westbank at 115 East Main St., Webster, in the former Commerce Bank building, are finally taking shape.
There's been talk of a Webster Westbank for months. Lease language may have held up arrangements, from what I understand. The Webster office shapes up as significant to Westbank because its the geographical link to offices in western Massachusetts and Northeastern Connecticut, judging from their website.
Westbank has 18 offices, mostly in the Greater Springfield area, but also in nearby Putnam and vicinity. Westbank's emergence gives Webster seven bank offices. The town banks count slipped some years ago, when a couple of regional majors, Fleet Bank and Shawmut Bank merged and Fleet shuttered Shawmut.
Fleet subsequently merged its way into banking's top echelons and had to divest some of its holdings to satisfy bank regulators. Sovereign Bank came to town on the Fleet adjustment, and that's why Websterites probably go to Oxford if their bent is Fleet.
To review, Westbank will be at the former Commerce site, Commerce has a spanking new building on Worcester Road, Sovereign is on Main Street where Fleet used to be, Webster First Federal Credit Union, once the Webster Credit Union, is still at 1 North Main Street, Hometown is on Main Street where they were once known as the Webster Co-operative, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank has a branch on Main Street and headquarters on Thompson Road, Southbridge Savings has its Webster bramch in Shaw's Supermarket, and the one-time Shawmut location is a deli.
If you want something truly different, spin back to the early 1900s when the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank was a stockholder in the First National Bank of Webster. The FNB was absorbed through a series of mergers and a bust, and its local facility emerged under the Soverign nameplate, but that's another story.


Jimmy Manzi, probably Webster's No. 1 memorabilia collector, says "you can find all kinds of interesting information in old books."
Mr. Manzi offers "Dodger Daze and Knights," a 1935 copyright by sportswriter Tommy Holmes, as an example. It recaptures the Brooklyn Dodgers early baseball saga.

Collector Manzi highlighted some of the information.
-When he was the star pitcher at Waxahatchie High School in Texas, Paul Richards pitched and won a double header. He pitched the first game right handed and the second game left handed. Richards broke into baseball with Brooklyn.
-Rookie pitcher Van Lingo Mungo got to Brooklyn ahead of his baseball shoes so he pitched a two-hitter against Boston late in 1931 wearing shoes that belonged to another Dodgers pitcher, Dazzy Vance.
-Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel was once manager of a Boston Braves farm team at Worcester. He was also president of the club and when things went sour, president Stengel fired manager Stengel, and then resigned as president to sign as manager of the Toledo Mudhens.
"That's stuff I never knew," says Mr. Manzi. Me neither.


A once lethal cannonball is at the center of the big display case in Webster's Chester C. Corbin Public Library, and no one seems to know how long its been in the building.
Custodian James A. Chauvin found the artillery piece, some Grand Army of the Republic memorabilia, town documents, minutes to Abstinence Society meetings, and other items in a crawl space to the library several weeks ago.


Encouraged by former acting library director Gerald P. Deary, Mr. Chauvin divided the artifacts into four displays. The "last batch," with the projectile at its center, was unveiled last week.
Talking about the library, new director Joseph J. Rodio has things up and spinning in the town books repository. Bar scan library cards, meaning a connect to regional networks, is around the corner. Given his brief tenure at Corbin, this is a feather in Mr. Rodio's cap.


Webster businessman Adolph E. Dugas has many interests, including aviation. A licensed pilot, he keeps a
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Telegram & Gazette

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