SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Tuesday, the National Park Service is celebrating its 99th birthday, and there was a special celebration at the only National Park Service site in western Massachusetts: the Springfield Armory. After many years, the clock faces and bells at the Armory clock tower are working once again.
The Springfield Armory Alliance held a fundraising campaign, and thanks to donations from the community, the tower was able to be restored. A ceremony was held Tuesday to mark the restoration, as well as the NPS’s birthday.
As was the case at all other national parks, admission was free at the Armory Tuesday.
“The idea of the free admission is to introduce the parks to a new audience. So we get about 400 million visitors to our national parks; it’s one of the most popular parts of the federal government. However, there are still people who have never been to a national park, especially in urban areas in the East,” Springfield Armory Superintendent James Woolsey said.
Woolsey also told 22News that the historic clocks are a big part of the city of Springfield. They were installed in the 1850’s, and haven’t worked for nearly two decades.
The celebrations aren’t over, either. Over the next year, the National Park Service is planning on ways to mark its 100th birthday.