Indian Orchard Grammar

Indian Orchard Grammar

Built in 1868, this is still standing, having been converted into apartments. It is at the corner of Worcester and Myrtle Street in Indian Orchard.

This school was later known as the Myrtle Street school, after an addition was built in front of the existing building. The Myrtle Street School was later expanded even further, with a twin replica of the expanded building being built to the left of the initial expansion.

The back of the original Indian Orchard Grammar School is still visible in the rear.

Myrtle Street

My dad Stan Borsa went to elem school here in the late 1940s early 1950s.

Myrtle st junior high

My name is Al brown, my family lived in Duggan project in the fifties and sixties. My brother Tom Sister Pat and brother Pete all attended school here, great memories

Myrtle Street Middle School, Indian Orchard

I attended the subject school for 7th and 8th Grades, probably from Septemer of 1955 to May of 1957. I then went to Cathedral High Schoo for 9th Grade from September of 1957 to May of 1958, and then on to Classical High School (now a condominium) for Grades 10 - 12, from September of 1958 till I graduated in 1961. Where I wrote May in the preceding sentence perhaps is an error, with June likely being the correct month in each instance. Where I live now, the school year runs from August to May, usually, and my memory might be failing me regarding the end of the school years back then.

Regarding what I remember of M. S. M. S. I do not remember too fondly. As I type this, I recall with pleasant memories only four teachers, Frank Gorman (history?), one teacher of French Canadian ancestory (math?), the gym (today, PE) teacher of Greek ancestory, and the shop (woodworking and the like, not even offered in many schools today, I think) teacher. I do not remember the names of the last three, sad to say, only that I liked them. Most of the other teachers I remember nothing about, and of those others I do recollect by name, well, they're not here to defend themselves, so I'll leave it at that.

I still recall the names of about eight fellow students, though I have been in touch with only two of them since graduating from Classical H. S. I see no need to embarrass any of the eight by listing them.

Submitted by Paul Dyba on Sunday, 29 November 2015

Myrtle St. School

Paul, I was 1 year behind you and also moved on from Myrtle St. to Cathedral. I'm pretty sure it was Joseph Gorman instead of Frank Gorman. He was my favorite teacher. When a kid did something stupid, he would often say one of two things, either "Would you go out and get me two tens for a five?", or, "Would you go out and get me a soup sandwich?" He was very funny. He was a great social studies teacher. I have to laugh now when I remember some of the things he said about communism. One day he threw an eraser at a kid and accidentally broke a window. I'm very glad I had him for two years. Other male teachers were Mr. Sonski (shop), Mr. Roe (math), and Kenneth Chapin (gym). The male musical instrument teacher and band leader was also male, but the regular music teacher was female. The band teacher for at least most of our time there was Mr. Irwin Borodkin. I don't know about Mr. Roe as I never had him. But Mr. Sonski and Mr. Chapin were really exceptional teachers who would go out of their way for the kids. Mr. Chapin, especially, spent a lot of extra hours after school teaching track events, getting us ready for field day, and refereeing basketball games. We were unusual in having as many male teachers at that level. Not all the schools at that grade level had as many.

Myrtle Street Elementary: John Patazick

I went to Myrtle Street all the way through 7th grade, then to JFK with Mr. Roche the Principal, and many of the other jr high school students. My favorite teachers were Mr. Patazick, grade six, who was an ex-marine who taught us to sing, "Over hill, over daile, when we hit the dusty trail....hen the caissons go rolling along..." Later, while working with the military in Europe the marines sang that song, and I was able to join along knowing all the words. I wonder what he would think?

Mr. Roche came to our class and read us some of the Oddessey GREEK! And later, when we moved to JFK, Robert Frost was there, reading a poem for JFK and reciting "Whose woods these are, I think I know...." I remember the entire poem and today read some of the Illiad and Odyssey to students in a school in Washington state. I know these books, not because of college, or graduate or law school, but because of Mr. Roche, John Patazick, Ms Davis, Mrs. Smith (grade 2) and the other Mrs Smith (grade 1) and others. The best time was going to the basement to throw trash into the huge furnance.

John Patazick and the rest…

I had all the same teachers and went from Myrtle Street to JFK. I became a teacher myself and a phrase all my students knew was “What would Mr. Patazick do?” Which meant I was thinking. Later, working for the military during the Iraq war I was standing on base at a change of command ceremony and found my self singing
‘Over hill, over daile, as we hit the dusty trail…” Brought back many memories. I was taught and memorized the preamble to the constitution, memorize Robert Frost and always, when teaching Homer would mention Mr. Roche, my principal, could recite it in Greek! Mrs. Smith taught me what books to read to my own kids. Great place for kids.

Jim Roche, British Columbia

Myrtle Street School

I'm Jim Raymond. I went to kindergarten here back in 1959. Also remember summer school here. I drive by every day on my way to work. The old portion has always intrigued me. It's nice to know when it was built. Thanks for the photo and information.

Myrtle Street School

John McDowell. I went there in the fifth and sixth grades. I remember little redhead named Jessica and a short-haired brunette named Lynn Hall who was was my first love. My first date was taking her to the Chicopee movie theater where I held her hand during a scary movie. I was so proud I was a crossing guard for the kids heading down the hill toward town. I lived up the hill on the other side of the lake. I remember a beautiful girl named Kim McClanahan, another named Georgina Grimaldi,..another named Linda Evans. My best friend was Joey Selva. I remember the long walk home after school, around the edge of Sullivans pond (or lake Sullivan??) I think it was..the bright summer sun and the hay fever,..cutting through the woods at the end of the lake to get home. I had a teacher named Mr. Messenger. He was retired marine from WWII teaching sixth grade. I remember learning to square dance, as we stood, girls on one side of the great wood hallway floor and the boys on the other. The playground was much larger back then, and we could still fill it with kids racing around during recess. I discovered girls, frogs, reclaimed triple A cracked baseball bats. The Pheasants on the edge of the woods, leaving tracks in the snow. Treasured memories.

mrytle st. school

hello my names cathy blaisdell i went to mrytle st. school from 3thrd grade to 6th and then 7th -9th .mr. roach was principle then .would like to find some of the kids i went to school with mr. melcolm was my 5th and 6th grade teacher and he had both grades in one class room. some of the kids names were. linda robiniex .diane gokey.ricky and raymond watson. linda godwin. the year i went there was 1953 -1960 hope i hear from someone .we also had dances at the white church across the st. i live in north carolina now but sure woiuld like to find some of my school me if you remember me. cathy blaisdell my emails and my phones 910 2230676

Max Westhoff

Does anyone know specifically when Max Westhoff moved to Springfield? I know it was after his former partner Wm Coulter died of Tb, and was some time in the 1920s, but when? Also, the group Adirondack Architectural Heritage ( has info. on Westhoff and Coulter if anyone is interested.

Springfield College buildings

Alumni Hall at SC was designed by the Gardners and the Olmsteds, according to a site on historic campus architecture that I recently found:
Though Springfield has 5 buildings listed on this site, none are attributed to Max Westhoff, though there are other buildings that he may have been involved with.
The College will be celebrating its 125th anniversary beginning this fall, and alot of research has been going on, with heavy use of the archives. I believe there will be a webpage that describes campus buildings and provides some historical background on them. Stay tuned!

Max Westhoff

Thanks Barbara. too bad the old Shriners is now gone. I had also found listed that he had built something at Mercy hospital and at Springfield College. I wandered both places and do not have definite answers but my guess by time built that the Mercy building is the one west of the old mansion, close to Carew St and not much used. I tried to get inside to see if there was a plaque with architects name, but could not get access. At Springfield college, the one building of the right age and some design elements was the big Alumni Hall dormitory, wonderful building with great details, built in 1925. Any thought anyone? Jim

another Max Westhoff building

This weekend I came across an old postcard promoting Shriners' Hospital. The building was erected 1925 with a capacity of 50 beds. The architects are listed as, "Hentz, Reid & Adler and Max H. Westhoff." The builders are Ernest F. Carlson Co., General Contractors of Springfield, Mass. and Albany, NY.

Max Westhoff

I am researching my family tree history. Max Westhoff is a great uncle of mine. I am interested in any info that you have and would be willing to share. I have mostly found info on the Saranac Lake region.
Thank you

I looked up Max Westhoff on

I looked up Max Westhoff on Google, and info was spotty, but I was excited to learn that before he designed the homes you speak of here in Springfield, he worked with another architect William L.Coulter, and designed many places in the Adirondacks, including a camp on Saranac Lake. Named Eagle Island, it is currently in use and all of the original buildings remain. It is being reviewed as a historical landmark!!! This was very interesting to me because my family has vacationed there since my Mom was 7 years old, on 4th Lake, in the Fulton Chain Lakes, Inlet, NY...We have enjoyed trips to a few of the Great Camps, including Sagamore, once owned as a summer retreat for the Vanderbilt family. Once again, this site proves to be fascinating. Thanks for all the input here!!!


Thanks for your reply. I do have the book with the Westhoff pictures in it and have used it to do a lot of my research as there is a list of many of his clients as well as many pictures. The house on Springield St is number 177 and belonged to Nick Zeo. What is so impressive is the variation of styles that Westhoff did in a 10 year period. When I get all the information together, I will post it here

Architect Max Westhoff

I am doing some research on a Springfield architect in the 1920's named Max Westhoff. He designed very high end homes in Springfield, Longmeadow and Suffied Ct. I have identified 13 homes, the Connecticut Valley Historic Museum, Liberty Heights Library. It is reported that he designed a building at springfield College and somthing at Mercy Hospital. I can guess which ones, byut do not know for sure. The houses are on Maple, Longhill, Springfield St, Ridgewood Place and on McDuffie School campus. If you know anything about this architect or of houses he built, I would love to hear from you. A full report will be posted here when I am done.

Max Weshoff: Zarlengo House at 172 Longhill St.

I came across Max Westhoff's name when I was researching Napoleon Russell back in the late 70's. Of course you know Westhoff was the architect & Russell was the builder for George Hendee's estate in Suffield Conn. The Zarlengo house at 172 Longhill St was designed by Westhoff. There was a book in the Local History Room at the Spfld. City Library that was all about Max Westhoff. The book had lots of b&w pictures of some of his work. There is a picture of 172 Longhill St along with Hendee's mansion in the book. Russell had built a house at 162 Longhill St for Dr. Robert Baldwin that has been since taken down. Dr. Baldwin's house was between 154 & 172 Longhill St. I made copies of some the pages in the book but I neglected to write down the name of the book. I'm sure the book would still be at the History Museum.
I don't if Chris Zarlengo is still editor of the "Forest Park Newsletter" for the civic association, but I submitted an article on Napoleon Russell back in the February 1979 edition. Is the paper still around?
Do you know what house(s) Max Westhoff designed on Springfield St?

Max Westhoff

The Hilltop Farm Historic District, comprising 250 out of the original 500 acres, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in January 2005 through the efforts of The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop, a nonprofit organization. Hilltop Farm was George Hendee's estate in Suffield, CT. A link to the National Register nomination can be found here--

Chestnut followup

Had a call today from the person who keeps an eye on Chestnut. Was very appreciative of the call. He goes down about once a week. Said there was an abandoned stolen car there that he dealt with. Yes there is electricity on and an active security system so they get calls if anyone gets inside. Mike is a good guy and welcomes hearing from citizens so problems can be dealt with. he also oversees Graffiti removal and he has responded to my calls quickly.

Wow! Thanks so much for the

Wow! Thanks so much for the follow up - I just wasn't sure because it looks like there are broken windows on the back and then I saw those lights on after I heard the development was on hold...I hate to see beautiful historic buildings getting ruined by dummies, so if I ever see anything around town, I'll post it here asap...

It'll be great to see Chestnut come to life again when the condo project begins...Hopefully the bad economy doesn't put it on hold for too long...

Thanks again Jim and Ralph...!


I will forward this to the appropriate person in the City, Ralph, if you could do so also from the point of view of the Historical commission that would be good. jim

Chestnut Middle School

I just read that the plan to turn the school into condos is on hold due to the economy. I wonder if the city is paying any attention to the fact the school has power and lights are on inside. For a building that is supposed to be abandoned and sealed, this seems awful strange to me. The front is fenced and boarded up, but there are many broken windows and easy access points along the back of the school. I sent a message about it to the Preservation Trust and the police dept via the city website. It will be interesting to see if anything is done. As it is, the school is clearly endangered by vandals and arsonists, and being someone who appreciates historical buildings, I hate to see such places getting trashed or burned and destroyed...The same thing happened last year to Parson's Paper in Holyoke when it got set on fire by a 13 yr old kid. What a stupid fate for the very first and very last paper mill in operation in the now desolate "paper city"...Having been there just three days prior to photograph it, it was obvious that no one was trying to keep people out of it. Doors and windows were open all of the place, and inside it contained literally tons of flammables - paper pallets, paper, chemicals, etc...Room after room after floor after floor were filled, which is why I believe it collapsed just a half an hour after the fire was set...What a foolish waste of a landmark property...

I know times are tough financially for the city, but it is during such times as these that we need to pay even more attention to our cities old structures, so that they do not become victims of such destructive activities...

My Grammer School

I attended Myrtle Street School beginning 3rd grade thru 6th grade. We were the first African American students bussed from Springfield. the year was about 1965 or 1966. I still remember a couple of teachers and a few female students that I became good friends with. We could only cal each other on the phone. I have been longing to see my old school again. Thanks so much for the memories.