Boy's Club - I have no pets now . . .

Boys-Club_Lincoln-Square_P_08-11-1944_FR.jpg

The Worcester Boy's Club at Lincoln Square was opened in 1930 to serve the Club's rapidly expanding membership in the city. After a fundraising effort that collected almost $450,000 (roughly $6.5 million in current dollars) the building was constructed on property that had previously been the site of Salisbury Mansion, which was moved just up the hill and now sits at 40 Highland Street. The World War I memorial in front of the Club was also later relocated slightly and its left edge is now just visible in the far right side of the image below.

  Boy's Club Building (Voke School): October 7, 2014

Boy's Club Building (Voke School): October 7, 2014

The architectural firm for this simplified Neo-Georgian structure was Frost, Chamberlain and Edwards, a well-known local firm that also designed many other significant buildings in the city. After the Boy's Club abandoned the building, it was incorporated into the neighboring "Voke School" complex . . . which explains, but does not excuse, the ugly block lettering seen in the image above. In 2006, the city completed a new Worcester Technical High School and moved all of its vocational programs to that facility. Since that time, numerous attempts have been made to entice a developer for this building but it currently remains closed.

Sent to: Miss Marilyn Stevens
Address: Beckemeyer, Illinois
Dear Marilyn
Thanks for the lovely card. I was glad to hear from you again.
I have no pets now as my little dog died.
Marilyn C.

  Postmark: 08/11/1944 - Worcester Mass.

Postmark: 08/11/1944 - Worcester Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • According to the City Assessor, this building was completed in 1915, but that's when the other Boy's Club on Ionic Avenue was opened. The Assessor also says that it's located at 16 Salisbury Street (which must be correct), although none of the property lines currently abut that street. The Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System provides a definitive opening date of 1930 and gives the location simply as Lincoln Square.

THE SENDER

Knowing that the recipient of this card was 15 years old at the time suggests that sender was roughly the same age. This is further affirmed by the direct, unemotional, and plainspoken report, "I have no pets now as my little dog died." For a young teen, that event was probably quite heartbreaking but, in the midst of a global war, the daily drumbeat of reported deaths must have changed perspectives for everyone who remained at home . . . waiting.

THE RECIPIENT

Marilyn Stevens appears in the 1940 Federal Census, residing with her father, mother and older brother in Beckemeyer, Illinois. She was born on December 31, 1927 and, based on all evidence, lived there for her entire life. Her brother John joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and was almost certainly serving overseas when this card was sent. Marilyn (Stevens) Bromley died in 2002, just shy of her 75th birthday and is buried in Saint Anthony's Cemetery, Beckemeyer, Illinois.

REFERENCES
(1) 1940 Federal Census - Ancestry.com

The Card

PUB. BY PERKINS & BUTLER INC., WORCESTER MASS.
"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" REG U.S. PAT. OFF.
MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS. INC., BOSTON, MASS.
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