Pittsfield Historical Society
History of Pittsfield
| Hathorn Park occupies a double block of area approximating four acres bounded by Forest, Spring, Hathorn, and Park Streets [Central and Hathorn Streets and Somerset Ave. after 2007]. It was established as the first town park in 1920 out of the estate of Mr. Going Hathorn. Going Hathorn came to Pittsfield in 1832, and seeing the potential of a woolen mill on the Sebasticook River, bought the lumber mill from Jesse Connors, installed a new granite dam and opened a one set woolen mill in 1869 at the site of the current Edwards Manufacturing.
The distinctive gazebo that stands today, dedicated to music teacher William Griffin, is thought to have been erected during the 1920’s for band concerts. Earlier in this century, a wooden flagpole stood by the gazebo, since replaced with an aluminum one. The triangular cement base of the original pole, however, still remains. Records of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) indicate that the steps leading into the park from Park Street were installed by the Town at the GAR’s request to facilitate the efforts of their members to care for the flag.
The park used to be lined by many trees, but age and disease have reduced their number over time. The park features shaded walkways, ten benches and two picnic tables for passive enjoyment.
Hathorn Park also hosts more active pursuits, namely baseball and basketball. A Little League baseball diamond was added to the park circa 1950 and is supported by bleachers, toilet facilities, a concession stand and an equipment storage shed. The diamond was named after Paul Legge, a devoted MCI teacher and coach who volunteered countless hours to care of the Manson Park fields. This diamond and concession stand were put together by volunteers.
Hathorn Park also features a playground which offers a slide, 2 sets of swings, and a children’s sized basketball court. The gazebo was renovated during the early 1980’s. The park’s sign was put in place by the Kiwanis Club during 1971. It was refurbished, along with the hot dog stand, in 1994. In 1997 a formal Pittsfield Farmers’ Market was established, which has been given exclusive use of the space during market hours to sell local farm products on the corner of Forest and Park Streets.
The 2005 photo below, taken from the Forest and Park Streets corner, shows informational kiosk, benches and concrete planters added in the summer of 2004, and cedar fending added in 1999. Click to enlarge.
Original Version: 31-Jan-06.