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Collection Guides: Campus Construction Progress Photographs, 1954-1956

Abbott Associates, Inc. provided photographs to the Westfield State Teachers College and to the Department of Education by hiring Merrick Photo Service of Westfield to take and produce photographs of the construction progress for the new campus on Western

Campus Construction Progress Photographs, 1954-1956

Westfield State University Archives

Collection Guide

Construction Progress Photos, 1954 - 1956

Historical Sketch:

Before Parenzo Hall was constructed, Westfield State Teachers College was located in the center of Westfield on Court Street. By the 1950’s, the buildings were in poor condition. Enrollment at the school was growing, and a need for a new campus presented itself. In 1953, State Representative Anthony J. Parenzo persuaded the city of Westfield to donate twentythree acres of land on upper Western Avenue to construct new college buildings. The site was home to Juniper Park, a wilderness park with horseback trails and picnic spots.

Abbott Associates Inc., an architectural and engineering company located in Boston, commissioned Jefferson Construction of Cambridge to begin construction on the site. Construction on the new buildings occurred between 1954 - 1956. The new college consisted of Parenzo Hall, Scanlon Hall and a Power Plant on the site at a cost of $3 million.

Scanlon Hall was named after the president at the time, Edward J Scanlon. Scanlon served as president to the college from 1938 – 1961. The campus opened in 1956 and featured an administrative building containing offices, classrooms, laboratories, the college library, student lounge and lunch room; a woman’s dormitory; an auditorium; and a gymnasium.

On January 13th, 1957, Parenzo Hall was officially named, and an open house was held for the public. Anthony J. Parenzo officiated the groundbreaking of the Westfield State Teachers College, along with Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts. At the time of the new campus opening, the city of Westfield was advertised as a pleasant place with an interesting community background. A large draw for potential students was the school’s close proximity to larger cities like Springfield and Holyoke, as well as being neighbors to Berkshire County.

Anthony J. Parenzo was an enthusiastic and supportive sponsor to the new Westfield State Teachers College, and cared deeply for the education of the students. The Anthony Parenzo Future Teachers of America Club at the school received its charter from the national association in 1957, and each person in the club became a member of the National Education Association (NEA). On September 21, 1964, a commemorative mural painted by Professor Arno Maris was placed in Parenzo Hall.

On January 26th, 1965, the Mathematics Club donated a bar graph showing the number of graduates during the 125 years of the school’s history to Parenzo Hall. Over the years, Parenzo Hall has been a place of community and inspiration for the students of Westfield State University.


Abbott Associates, Inc. provided photographs to the Westfield State Teachers College and to the Department of Education by hiring Merrick Photo Service of Westfield to take and produce photographs of the construction progress. Scope and Contents This collection consists of 108 photos housed in 15 folders covering the progression of construction of the new Western Avenue campus from 1954 – 1956. Included are photos of Juniper Park as it looked when construction first began.


This collection is arranged by date.


These photographs were provided by the Office of Facilities and Operations.

Access Restrictions:

None. Related Westfield State University Student Publications, 1852 – Present, Westfield State University Photograph Collection.

Subject Headings:

Westfield State Normal School – Westfield, Mass. ; Westfield State College – History ; Westfield State University -- History – Massachusetts ; College buildings -- Westfield, Mass. -- Westfield State University.

Container Listing:

Folder 1: October 26, 1954 – November 9, 1954

Folder 2: November 24, 1954 – December 7, 1954

Folder 3: December 22, 1954 – January 18, 1955

Folder 4: March 15, 1955 – March 30, 1955

Folder 5: April 13, 1955 – April 28, 1955

Folder 6: May 10, 1955 – May 24, 1955

Folder 7: June 7, 1955 – June 21, 1955

Folder 8: July 5, 1955 – July 19, 1955

Folder 9: August 3, 1955 – August 16, 1955

Folder 10: August 30, 1955 – September 13, 1955

Folder 11: September 27, 1955 – October 11, 1955

Folder 12: October 20, 1955 – November 22, 1955

Folder 13: December 6, 1955 – December 22, 1955

Created by: H.Murray, 2020

Update: K. Canary, 6/2021 

577 Western Ave, Westfield, MA 01086

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