The land formerly occupied by the huge factory and local mega-employer American Bosch, has itself found new employment, as a parking lot.
You might remember the closed down factory went up in flames, almost four years ago. It's tempting (for me anyway) to say that the fact that where a 100 year old manufacturing facility was, there are now just parked cars, is symbolic of a Springfield (and Massachusetts) that has lost it's direction. But those cars are there for a very good reason.
The new parking lot is just one of many that are needed for the 15,000 or so employees of the local super-mega employer of the 21st century; Baystate Health. Buses run in non-stop loops, 24/7, from parking lots like this one, shuttling employees to the many buildings of the health care giant.
This particular lot is taking in the overflow from Baystate Hospital, as they have closed off some parking there to make way for a new, huge addition to the hospital. And it's not just Baystate. This whole corner of Springfield, in the far north end of Main St. and the Bernie Ave section, has developed into a giant medical center complex.
What used to be a major manufacturing and warehousing area of Springfield has been and continues to be rehabilitated; old factories and office buildings raised or converted and are now occupied by biomedical and research centers, labratories, therapy, medical and general health care centers. MRI centers, The Red Cross, The D'Amour Center for Cancer Care, Biomedical Reasearch Model, the list goes on and on.
Health care is huge business, and it might just be keeping Springfield alive.
Speaking of health care, lets talk about salty snacks. A couple days ago I was surprised to see this sitting on the shelf at a convenience store:
State Line Potato Chips. I don't recall seeing these guys in years. I thought they had gone out of business, actually. I have an affinity for that red and blue sign-post title; I grew up eating these chips. They were the potato chip, back in the day. Kind of the way everyone watched the same three or four tv channels back then, everyone ate State Line potato chips. I even did a quick stint one summer, as bad-potato-chip-picker, at their Wilbraham plant when I was young. Pulling the burnt ones off the conveyer belt. I can still smell the place, and I can still taste the burnt chips.
It's good to see that they're still kicking, though it seems they've moved into the greener pastures of Canada.
And they still taste the same, I think. Perhaps just a little more Canadian-ey...
The gas prices continue to slump, but I don't think they're fooling anybody.
Friday evening saw yet another round of late day cloud bursts. But a brief break in the cloud cover gave birth to this beauty in Hampden, as I was wrapping up the work day:
Let it rain...