Caracci, which once hung in the parlor of this old house. A conservatory in front, with a wealth of bright flowers added beauty and graceful charm. Over the large fireplace in the kitchen, skilled cooks had prepared food of great delectability. The much dined Thackery, on a visit to Springfield commented most felicitously on this feature of Chestnut street hospitality. In the old days a famous swing stood beside the house, and Merrick Park was that delight of heart and eye, a glorious old-fashioned flower garden. A fine hedge across the street from State Street over the hill marked the line of the property Mr. Bliss owned there. A picket fence ran around the present site of Merrick Park, and encircled the house, and an orchard spread its laden branches where now stands our city library. George Bliss gave the land and $1000 toward the building of the first library.
We are indebted, for the most part, to Mrs. Charlott Warner's charming "Chronicles of old Chestnut Street" for the story of this old house and grounds. She further tells us, that the name "Merrick Park" was given as a result of a too hasty decision that Mr. Merrick would have regretted more than everyone. It was originally planned to name this plot "Bliss Park" in honor of its one time generous, talented, public spirited owner, Mr. George Bliss, Jr.
Dr. Alexander Burgess and his family lived in Christ Church's second rectory about four years and the Rev. John Cotton Brooks and his family for nearly twenty-eight years. Here, before the Parish House was built, were held man socials and a great deal of parochial business was conducted here. Mrs. Brooks during the early days of her life in Springfield was a charming hostess nad a rare help to Mr. Brooks in his parish work. But her health failed and during the years of her invalidism, social activities at the Rectory were very few. But Mr. Brooks' study will always be remembered by hundreds who came there for never failing help, for comfort, for advice. Pictures of persons and placed he loved lined the walls. Over