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Blake Hall (RG 118)

This photograph shows the front entrance of Springfield College's Herbert P. Blake Hall when it was called "Wilbraham Hall". A stone sign in front of the building on the ground says "WILBRAHAM HALL". A lamppost can be seen besides the sign. According to the back of the photograph, it was printed in May, 2002.

Herbert P. Blake Hall

Herbert P. Blake Hall building was purchased by Springfield College from the Standard Electric Time Company in 1990. The Standard Electric Time Company was founded in 1884 and their headquarters were in Springfield from 1911 to 1981. They manufactured synchronized clock systems and fire alarm systems, reportedly the first such manufacturing company in the United States. The former Standard Electric Time Building had been in use for 76 years. The purchase price and renovation costs were part of a $7 million bond issue the college took. The building was split into two distinct sections, the Living Center and, eventually, the academic section, with classrooms and offices. The entire building measured 120,000 square feet. The Living Center side of the building was renovated and opened for student residential living in 1990. In 2000-2001, Blake Hall was renovated with the goal of returning all traditional undergraduate programs to the main campus. In 2002, Springfield College president, Richard Flynn, temporarily named the building Wilbraham Hall because of the building’s location on Wilbraham Avenue.

On October 16, 2006, Springfield College announced that S. Prestley Blake and Helen Davis Blake contributed $2 million to support the college through its fundraising campaign, titled Leadership for the 21st Century: The Campaign for Springfield College. It was also announced that Wilbraham Hall would be changed to Herbert P. Blake Hall in honor of S. Prestley Blake’s father. The donation of $2 million is one of the largest single donations in school history. S. Prestley Blake is the co-founder of the Friendly’s Ice Cream Corporation, and Helen Davis Blake was vice chair of the college’s board of trustees and co-chair of its funding campaign. Herbert P. Blake had worked for the Standard Electric Time Company Building as the vice president in charge of sales for several years. The dedication ceremony of Herbert P. Blake Hall took place on October 20, 2006.

Now, Herbert P. Blake Hall comprises around 60,000 square feet of classrooms, study areas, academic departments of visual and performing arts, faculty offices, conference rooms, art studios, The Blizard Art Gallery, Springfield College School of Human Services, a videoconferencing room, the Alden Center for Interactive Learning, emergency medical services management, physician assistant, sport management and recreation, and social sciences.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

At this time there is not a lot of information contained in the Herbert P. Blake Records collection. There is a Springfield College news release about the renaming dedication taking place in October, 2006 and a DVD and program from the dedication ceremonies. There are a number of photographs and series of photographs of the interior of the building during and after renovations of the building in the early 2000s, including classrooms and seminar rooms. Exterior photographs are few, but there are some both before and after the renovations, as well as some photographs contained in the Living Center and Kakley Annex Records believed to be taken in 1990 before the purchase of the building. There are also three VHS tapes that contain short videos taken in 2001 of the demolition and construction of Blake Hall. Though not of all steps, they start with the tearing out of dry wall and other demolition activities in the original building and then finish with showing front and completed rooms in Blake Hall. Individual VHS tapes are dated.