Boland was a beloved figure throughout the 2nd District of Massachusetts, especially in the city of Springfield. Boland excelled at connecting with his constituents, and he received vast amounts of mail from them covering issues such as taxes, social security, terrorism, pollution and the environment, protection of wild horses and burros, and Vietnam. These letters were an important glimpse of what mattered to the people, so Eddie listened and responded.
One of Boland’s biggest fights and ultimate disappointments was the closure of the Springfield Armory. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Armory began producing military firearms in 1777 and continued manufacturing firearms until its eventual closure in 1968.
The Springfield Armory employed many in Western Massachusetts and supported other industries, so, when U.S. Secretary of State Robert McNamara announced its closure as a cost cutting measure at the height of the Vietnam war, Boland fought hard to prevent it. In 1965, the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation met with McNamara in Washington to try to change his mind.
The fight to prevent the Armory’s closure continued for several years and by 1966 Boland challenged the closure in a Senate hearing, citing economic, policy, and legal issues.
Even an independent consultant report stated that the Armory closure would have an adverse impact on the economy, but McNamara was not swayed by any of the arguments. After a long fight, Boland was forced to concede that the Armory would close in 1968.