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From the March 28, 1942, Eagle

Eagle Archives, March 28, 1942: Ex-Mayor Bagg, nearing 75th birthday, cleaned out City Hall when he was 10

The first time Allen H. Bagg swept out City Hall was at the age of 10.

For a man who is going to be 75 a week from today, Mr. Bagg is definitely no faltering oldster pawing about in a memory which has slipped its gears. The man who set what is probably a world's record by serving as mayor of a city for terms 27 years apart can go back a long way and pick out date and place with unerring accuracy. His active mind is as orderly as the filing cabinets and the scrapbooks and the pencil-holders in his little office on the second floor of his Wendell Avenue home.

The first time he swept out City Hall, for instance. Young Allen Bagg was a Methodist in those days, and as such an inevitable member of the temperance society, which met up in the large room on the second floor of the Town Hall. It was young Allen's duty to sweep out the hall after the meetings, and it is both significant and interesting that the floor which felt the sweep of his broom is the same floor now shared by the mayor's office and the City Council chambers. It is also interesting to engage in a little arithmetic and come up with the fact that Mr. Bagg has shown a fondness for sweeping out the place approximately every 25 years. His temperance society sweeping was about 1877. He returned to the hall in 1905 — now City Hall, the town having moved up to the city class in 1891 — as mayor, the youngest in the state at the time. He served three terms, retired from politics — but not from city affairs, since he kept his hand in with such jobs as the first chairman of the Board of Survey, chairman of the Planning Board and member of the Park Commission — and then, in 1934, was elected the first mayor under the new charter. The way his new broom swept in that year is credited by many with bringing harmony back into city government and re-establishing the city's financial credit.

Except for the first 16 months of his life, which were spent in a house at 51 Barker Road, Mr. Bagg has lived, as he is fond of describing it, "within 700 feet of the Soldiers' Monument." The family moved up and down West Street until 1903, when Mr. Bagg and Mary C. Clapp were married and moved into the present Women's Club. Mrs. Bagg died in July 1916, and Mr. Bagg left the big house for the adjacent smaller one which, in 1920 following his marriage in California to Mrs. Sadie Porter Edgerton, was virtually rebuilt to make his present home at 30 Wendell Avenue.

If Allen H. Bagg were the type, he could boast that he is a member of an extremely exclusive group — that small percentage of men on whom their community leans for sound advice, honest judgment and personal self-sacrifice.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.

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