The Boston Road neighborhood is a small commercial and residential neighborhood on Springfield’s eastern edge. The neighborhood is anchored by a large commercial road known as Boston Road.
Boston Road began as a major waypoint on the Boston Post Road. The Boston Post Road was a series of post office delivery routes between New York City and Boston.
In the mid 1900’s it developed to become Springfield’s commercial hub with stores and restaurants lining the 2 mile stretch of Boston Road. Many types of residential housing branch off on side streets that lead from Boston Road.
The eastern border of Boston Road is the Town of Wilbraham, an upper income suburb of Springfield. The western border is the Pine Point neighborhood. The northern border is the Boston-Albany railroad track and the neighborhood of Indian Orchard and the southern border is a nature conservation known as The North Branch Tributary Park and the neighborhood of Sixteen Acres.
The majority of the housing in this neighborhood consists of one and two family houses. The single family housing includes Cape, Ranch, Dutch Colonial and Craftsman style houses. There is one mobile home park on Boston Road, and one apartment complex, The Eastbrook Apartments.
Boston Road has one elementary school, Warner Elementary. Parks and green spaces include a nature conservation on North Branch Parkway and Five Mile Pond, a swimmable, fishable body of water on the western edge of Boston Road.
Most of the employment opportunities on Boston Road are retail/commercial but the neighborhood is within drivable distance of Springfields largest companies such as Smith & Wesson, Baystate Medical Center, Mass Mutual and MGM Springfield.
As Springfield’s suburban shopping hub, Boston Road includes businesses of all types. In the Western portion, the notable businesses include Kohl’s, Walmart, CVS and Price-Rite Supermarket. The Eastern portion includes Marshall’s, Lowe’s, Stop & Shop, Staples, Aldi’s and The Eastfield Mall.
The Eastfield Mall is a struggling single level mall built in 1967. The mall has 3 vacant anchor spaces and a recently vacated movie theater.
When opened, the anchor spaces were occupied by Steigers, Forbes & Wallace and Sears. The last tenants to hold these anchor spots were Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears. The mall currently contains small stores, a food court and the Markets at Eastfield, an antique flea market.
Mountain Development Corp has managed the Eastfield Mall since 1998. They have recently released tentative plans to redevelop Eastfield Mall into Eastfield Commons: a commercial/residential community. This would include an exterior shopping plaza containing both large and small businesses, restaurants, green spaces and an apartment complex.
The commercialization of Boston road was a result of the massive shift away from Downtown and to the suburbs in the 50’s and 60’s. The decline of the Eastfield mall can be attributed towards another shift that has plagued malls across the country: Online shopping.
Emphasis is now moving away from suburban commercial districts and back to city centers where people can experience things they can not experience online. This can explain the interest and revitalization of Springfield’s Metro Center.
- Eastfield Mall was the first enclosed mall opened in Western Massachusetts.
- North Branch Parkway, just like South Branch Parkway was named because it runs along the North Branch of the Mill River.