Thursday, December 29, 2011
The Face of Public Works
The Selectmen of Greenfield stated in their 1910 Report, "The wisdom of employing a town engineer has been thoroughly proved during the past year. Mr. Chapin has had supervision of all sidewalk, sewer, bridge and other construction work and has plotted many acres for Assessors’ maps, and we believe that his employment has saved money and benefited the town in other ways.” The line item for Town Engineer for 1911 was $1,300 salary.
The 1910 census of Greenfield shows H.G. Chapin, age 26, living with his parents on Congress Street. He is listed as a Civil Engineer. Former Town Engineer, Bill Allen, remembers Farley Chapin as his neighbor at 41 Congress St.
According to "Municipal Journal" of Public Works [Google books], published in July of 1912, Elwin S. Warner of North Adams replaced Mr. Chapin, who had resigned. So the term of Greenfield's first municipal engineer was brief. Mr. Warner is listed in the 1913 Harvard University Alumni Directory. Mr. Chapin's alma mater has not been discovered yet.
His 1921 passport application states that he was born in Gloversville NY on 23 June 1883 and had lived in Mexico from 1905-1907, Guatemala in 1912, and in France since July 1918. Passenger records show he arrived in New York on the Monterey on 28 August 1907 and again on the Merida from Veracruz, Mexico on 28 December 1907 and the Cartagno from Panama to New Orleans 19 December 1912.
Mr. Chapin later worked for J.W. Colt company and traveled extensively in Europe, according to the passport application made in France in 1921. He had plans to do business in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. He is listed on the manifest of the Berengeria, arriving in New York from France 8 October 1926, on the Tuscania 1 November 1927, and on the Bremen 14 July 1930.
The database of Military burials at Arlington National cemetery includes a Harry Gardner Chapin, with the stated birth date, who died 7 February 1965. His service is listed as "CAPT HQ DETCH ARMY SVC CORPS A E F USA."