|Bartlett Dwelling’s Demise Followed Long Decline|
Thursday, April 28, 2011
A historically important building, once the home of the Spaulding Bartlett family, was torn down April 16.
Regarded as a nuisance, and a definite eyesore, the two-story dwelling had been in decline for probably 50 years, maybe longer.
Still, there are people who remember when Mr. Bartlett and his family occupied a well-kept dwelling. Spaulding Bartlett, an MIT graduate and once general manager of the S. Slater & Sons Co. Mills at Webster, served for decades on the Webster School Committee, and was the longtime president of the First National Bank of Webster.
The undocumented word was that the bank was sold (or merged with Guaranty Bank & Trust of Worcester, to use stock terminology) to help settle Spaulding Bartlett’s estate.
The building started its downward slide after the Bartlett family died out and it was cut into apartments. It had never been anything but housing. The demolition opens a hillside parcel, South Main Street to Prospect Street, that creates possibilities for its owners.
Webster selectmen lost a public relations coup when they honored the St. Louis School 5th and 6th grade boys’ basketball team, winners of the New England CYO Basketball Tournament April 1 to 3 at Manchester, N.H.
Selectmen took notice of the junior Cavaliers, with a 30-and-0 victory skein over the past two seasons. They undoubtedly managed sincere felicitations, but plaudits were heard only by those persons in the board’s meeting quarters.
The public access channel in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room, as it is now called, died as the board received the 5th and 6th grade boys and their coaches, all spangled in Cavalier gold.
Fortunately, the Catholic Free Press, publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, published a salute to the elementary grade Cavaliers on April 15, identifying the players and coaches. They are Kyle Anderson, Tyler Davern, Dylan Gordon, Aaron Brody, Connor Sullivan, Cody Adams, Michael Johnson, Domenic Palmerino, Alex Hetherman, James Trottier, Anthony Grzembski, Zachary Poitras, and Bailey Millett. Beth Trum is the school’s athletic director, Ed Grzembski is head coach, and Ralph Anderson and Lou Trottier are the assistants.
St. Louis had a high school during my school days, and they captured their share of Central Massachusetts Catholic League titles, going up against the likes of St. John’s and St. Peters, then both of Worcester, but none of them ever won 30 games in a row.
Mitch Cichon says he’s had a Granite Street, Webster, address long enough to remember when Betty Grigarick lived a couple of houses from his late father’s plate glass shop. She spent a good deal of time tending to her property, and it was always neat as a row of pins. The dwelling has fallen into disrepair in recent times, seems vacant, and has litter strewn about. “It could use some of Betty’s care now,” suggests Mitch.
The history of “Short’nin Bread,” the song, and with a Dudley connection, is attracting viewers to YouTube, says John E. Bialy of Haines City, Fla.
Mr. Bialy, once the Webster town collector, was first with a heads-up to the piece, said to have originated in the Old South part of the country. YouTube says it was sung by Nelson Eddy in 1937, and became a big hit for the Andrews Sisters in 1938, but the “reason it attracts so much attention (now) is the hard rock recording by Paul Chaplain and the Emeralds in 1960. “It has now rightfully become a legend.”
Mr. Chaplain was a Dudley native, raised on Williams Street. Chaplain and the Emeralds rode “Short’nin Bread” to first on the Silver Dollar survey charts from Oct. 10, 1960, the YouTube entry reveals. The current version was updated by the Radio Record Club.
Site contributors recall when Paul Chaplain and the Emeralds played at area venues, pairing the timeframe to Joe Consolie and Flashback.
There’s a new wrinkle to open meeting notices filed by municipal boards. Though not absolute, some panels such as the Webster selectmen include a couple of lines that say: “Other business unknown at time of posting.”
It’s “perfectly legal” says Town Clerk Robert T. Craver. “They have to file an addendum if time permits, but they can take up business that was unknown when the notice was made. The clause has the blessing of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, Mr. Craver added.
A lot of Webster-Dudley guys played baseball at Marcustry Park in the years before and after World War II, including Frank Markiewicz, but participation was the big thing.
Rental arrangements were probably with the team managers, said Mr. Markiewicz, and there aren’t any of those people around. Thus, we’ve got another week of dead-ends in Richard (Dixie) Tourangeau’s quest for information about the field, or who owned and maintained the facility, located off Lake Street, and now the Webster Little Field complex.
Incidentally, Frank remembers an inter-squad game of St. Joseph Boys Club players. The late Rev. Charles Chwalek, an assistant at St. Joseph’s Church through World War II, took a turn at bat against Joseph Sienkiewicz, then or later coach of the team.
The good father hit what Frank calls “the longest home run I ever saw at the park. He was a catcher, a good ballplayer.”
It was Patriots Day, or the running of the Boston Marathon, and the search was for something correspondingly local and athletic.
Thoughts drifted to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference release that spotlights Oxford’s Noella Richards as the recent Women’s Track Athlete of the Week. A sophomore at WPI, Ms. Richards earned her first conference title just a couple of weeks after competing in the NCAA indoor track and field championships, capturing the 100 and 200 meter dashes with times of 13.24 and 26.18.
The tip sheet led to Webster Town Moderator Joseph A. Borski Jr., who confirmed my suspicion, “Your granddaughter.” There was a smile and a “Yes.”
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