In April 2011 Jan Wojtowicz, Christ Church CathedralÔÇÖs secretary, forwarded an email to me from Steve Calderone of Information Services at Baystate Medical Center (BMC) in Springfield. Steve was doing research on BMCÔÇÖs chapel, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary at its present location. While researching, Steve found that some of the chapel furnishings were donated from the ÔÇ£Episcopal Diocesan HouseÔÇØ in 1931, but no other information was documented. Steve was very interested in learning where these furnishings had been prior to their 1931 donation to BMC, and was asking for our help.
As I received this email query from him, I was beginning to sort through several areas of Diocesan House that contained possible Archives materials. With so much ÔÇÿhistoryÔÇÖ packed away in the attic and basement as well as closets at 37 Chestnut Street, it was a bit overwhelming to determine where to begin organizing our Archives. Around one week after receiving SteveÔÇÖs request I was searching thru shelves in a basement room of the Cathedral one day, and happened upon a maroon leather-covered ÔÇÿlogÔÇÖ on a shelf. It was titled ÔÇ£The Springfield Hospital Chapel Log.ÔÇØ What timing!
As I opened the log, the words ÔÇ£History of The ChapelÔÇØ were handwritten in beautiful script on the first page. This was followed by a detailed history recounting that, upon the sale of the Episcopal Diocesan House at 1154 Worthington Street, Springfield in 1931, Bishop Thomas Davies made arrangements for the dismantling of the chapel that had been installed by our first Bishop, Alexander Hamilton Vinton, at that property. To read that history click here. The log itself records baptisms and all other events that took place in the Springfield HospitalÔÇÖs Chapel.
When Steve learned that I had found this log, he was unquestionably excited to add this information to the history of the Chapel at Baystate Medical Center. He reported that, after the wood and furnishings of Bishop VintonÔÇÖs chapel were donated, they were stored for 12 years before being installed and utilized in the chapel from 1944 to 1968. Sometime after 1968 the furnishings were again stored, and finally reinstituted in 1991 in the chapelÔÇÖs current location at Baystate. With approval from Diocesan Administration Officer Steve Abdow and our current Bishop Gordon Scruton, the ÔÇ£Springfield Hospital Chapel LogÔÇØ was donated to Baystate Medical Center for its preservation.