Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crisp and Cold

New Salem, Massachusetts, Leap Day, 2004

Two (Kind of) Useful Old Calendars

Here is a of calendar from yesteryear you can actually use today...


"Clapp's telegraphic calendar. A table for instantly finding the day of the month, and the day of the week, in any year, from the birth of Christ to the year 3200 inclusive. by S. Clapp Jr., Athol. 1850."


And one from Webster's...



"Webster's note and draft calendar for the years 1866, 1867 & 1868."


Clapp's calendar source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection, 1850, Digital ID: rbpe 0590190b.
Webster's calendar source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection, 1866, Digital ID: rbpe 0720200a.

City, Library and Museums Association Ink Big Deals

The city of Springfield and the Springfield Library and Museums Association put ink to parchment yesterday afternoon, signing four contracts that will define the two entities' relationship for years to come.

City government, libraries, contracts. Ho hum. Boring.

Ah... not so!

A couple of interesting developments that spring from the agreements ought to get people talking a bit.

One - and this is my favorite - is making entry to the museums free to city residents in possession of a soon-to-be-available 'museum access card,' special exhibits excluded, per order of the museum services agreement between the city and the SLMA. Waxing nostalgic, I remember when the museums were free to all, with donation boxes strategically placed in the foyer of each building.

Of course, nothing is truly free. The 'museum services fee' that the city pays to the SLMA will increase by $200,ooo yearly, from the current $1.1 million annually to $1.3 million. The increase is a small chunk of change per annum when one considers the next interesting development in the new museum service agreement. One of the intentions of the 25-year agreement - which still must meet the approval of the city council and then the state legislature - is that ownership of the branch libraries and their collections, and the main branch's contents and collection will eventually be passed from the SLMA to the city. Twenty-five years ought to be plenty of time for the city to plan ahead on how to maximize the potential of these valuable cultural assets. Or at least not to run them into the ground.

Another welcome development is the 'stop loss' part of the agreement, which discontinues the practice of auctioning off items from the SLMA's collection of rare books and artwork. Profits from past auctions or auctions scheduled before the agreement are also to be divided equally with the city.

Heather Brandon, author of the Valley Advocate's Urban Compass, was at the announcement and wrote about the transactions yesterday in her article "Museums and city reach landmark partnership." She has a knack for sorting through this city stuff and coming up with the details folks need to know.

FYI: Admission to the museums is free on Fridays and Saturdays for city residents with a city library card, as it has been for quite some time.

For more information, visit the Springfield Museums website:

http://www.springfieldmuseums.org

Photo source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing, 1910-20, Digital ID: det 4a24635.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Trails, Rails & Roads: Western Mass. Maps

Maps explain the ground beneath our feet. The water we fish and swim in and drink. Topographic maps exhibit the carving of earth's surface by nature, road maps the scratchings of man. Maps show where we've been and where we may go, on our journey, exploring Western Massachusetts. Here are a few to help get you there...
(Updated July 20, 2012)


Getting Here From There...Directions & Downtowns:


~ Pioneer Valley Area Maps ~
Downtown maps of Springfield, Westfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Chicopee and Amherst on valleyvisitor.com, courtesy of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
{ http://www.valleyvisitor.com/view-maps.html }

~ Pittsfield, Mass., Street Map ~
Street map of the City of Pittsfield, including downtown highlights.
{ http://www.pittsfield-ma.org/PittsfieldMA-Area4.pdf }

~ Massachusetts Road Map ~
Map showing major highways in Massachusetts via geology.com.
{ http://geology.com/cities-map/massachusetts.shtml }

~ Google Maps ~
"View maps and get driving, walking, public transit, and biking directions. Also see current traffic conditions, search for local businesses, check the weather, and learn about historical landmarks." - Google Maps
{ http://maps.google.com }

~ MapQuest ~
"Maps, Directions and More." - MapQuest
{ http://www.mapquest.com }

~ Yahoo Maps ~
{ http://maps.yahoo.com }



State, Federal & Local Government Map Resources


~ Massachusetts Cities and Towns Map ~
Map of Massachusetts showing cities and towns via the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
{ http://www.aaboston.org/ma_city_town.pdf }

~ Maps from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism ~
A variety of Massachusetts maps including the Berkshires, Mohawk Trail Region and Springfield.
{ http://www.massvacation.com/getAround/maps-and-directions.php }

~ MassWildlife - Maps & Atlases ~
Recreation, conservation and regulatory maps, including pond, fishing and boating maps.
{ http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/habitat/maps/maps.htm }

~ Trail Maps of Massachusetts State Parks, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation ~
"Trail maps are available for many State Parks. The electronic maps found on the DCR website are meant only as a guide. Please be sure to pick up a printed map upon your arrival." - DCR
{ http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/trails.htm }

~ Massachusetts Geographic Information System ~
"MassGIS is the Commonwealth's Office of Geographic and Environmental Information, within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Through MassGIS, the Commonwealth has created a comprehensive, statewide database of spatial information for environmental planning and management." - MassGIS
{ http://www.mass.gov/anf/research-and-tech/it-serv-and-support/application-serv/office-of-geographic-information-massgis/ }

~ Amherst, Mass., Geographic Information System ~
"The Town of Amherst maintains a Geographic Information System (GIS) to meet the ever-increasing needs of departments, boards, committees, professionals, and citizens to access a wealth of information and mapping resources. The Amherst GIS provides a central map-centric portal for many uses." - Town of Amherst
{ http://www.amherstma.gov/index.aspx?NID=400 }

~ Pittsfield, Mass., Geographic Information System ~
{ http://host.appgeo.com/PittsfieldMA/Map.aspx }

~ Springfield, Mass., Geographic Information System ~
"This tool is intended to help make local government more accessible and efficient." - City of Springfield
{ http://gis.springfield-ma.gov/gis }

~ Massachusetts Map from FedStats ~
Federal statistics by county.
{ http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/maps/massachusetts_map.html }

~ Massachusetts County Selection Map ~
Massachusetts QuickFacts from the United States Census Bureau.
{ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/maps/massachusetts_map.html }



Historic Maps Online


~ American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, Map Collections ~
"The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress holds more than 4.5 million items, of which Map Collections represents only a small fraction, those that have been converted to digital form." - LOC
{ http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html }

~ Historic USGS Maps of Massachusetts ~
The University of New Hampshire's Dimond Library, Documents Department & Data Center, offers a great collection of historic USGS maps of Massachusetts.
{ http://docs.unh.edu/towns/massachusettstownlist.htm }

~ Historic Topographic Maps of Massachusetts ~
Old topographic maps of Massachusetts from MyTopo.com.
{ http://historical.mytopo.com/statemap.cfm?stateabr=MA }

~ The Massachusetts Historical Society Online: Massachusetts Maps ~
"The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to make 104 unique and rare manuscript and printed maps of Massachusetts available through 36 web presentations." - MHS
{ http://www.masshist.org/online/massmaps/ }

~ Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library ~
"The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library is dedicated to the creative educational use of its cartographic holdings, which extend from the 15th century to the present." - Boston Public Library
{ http://maps.bpl.org/ }

~ Vintage Maps of Massachusetts from Old-maps.com ~
"...offering digital and printed reproductions of maps from all over New England." - Old-maps.com
{ http://www.old-maps.com/massachusetts.htm }

~ Perry-CastaƱeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas ~
"This site acts as a historical collection as well as a current collection." - UT
{ http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps }

~ WardMaps.com ~
"...your source for authentic antique maps, reproduction prints and customizable gifts." - Wardmaps.com
{ http://www.wardmaps.com }



Maps on Exploring Western Massachusetts


~ "A Plan of West Springfield, By J. Lathrop, August, 1831" ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2008/06/plan-of-west-springfield-by-j-lathrop.html }

~ Map: Bird's-eye View of Chester, Massachusetts, 1885 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2010/02/map-birds-eye-view-of-chester.html }

~ Map: Bird's-eye View of North Adams, Massachusetts, 1881 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2009/04/map-birds-eye-view-of-north-adams-1881.html }

~ Map: Bird's-eye View of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1899 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2009/08/map-birds-eye-view-of-pittsfield.html }

~ Map: Bird's-eye View of Westfield, Massachusetts, 1875 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2009/03/map-1875-birds-eye-of-westfield.html }

~ Map of Franklin County, Massachusetts, c1879 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2011/03/map-of-franklin-county-mass-c1879.html }

~ Map: Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1854 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2009/07/map-hampshire-county-massachusetts-1854.html }

~ Map of Massachusetts Public Libraries, c1914 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2012/06/map-of-massachusetts-public-libraries.html }

~ Western Massachusetts Highways and Byways, circa 1929 ~
{ http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2010/07/western-massachusetts-highways-and.html }



Trail Maps


~ The Trustees of Reservations - Trail Map Library ~
Maps of Trustees of Reservations locations statewide.
{ http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/21_trail_map_library.cfm }

~ Trail Maps of Massachusetts State Parks, Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation ~
(See State & Local Government Map Resources above)





As always, thanks for stopping by and take care. And safe journeys all...wherever you may roam.




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Sunday, February 25, 2007

'Springfield Present and Prospective (1905), The Visible Charm, As It Was, Is, and May Be,' Excerpt II

Here is another excerpt of the book 'Springfield Present and Prospective' (Pond & Campbell 1905). From the chapter 'The Visible Charm: As It Was, Is, and May Be,' authored by Eugene C. Gardner, this second section, 'From Center to Circumference,' continues the chapter's first part, 'Looking Backward.'

Continued from 'I. Looking Backward, 1. Nature's Legacy.'


I. Looking Backward

2. From Center to Circumference

Doubtless the most conspicuous element of natural beauty in Springfield is the river; while the most essential and permanent characteristic of the city's material development is the manner in which its growth has beeen adapted to the almost faultless site. Unlike St. Petersburg, many a western town and some nearer home, it has not been necessary to remove mountains of rock or sand, either by faith or dynamite; to fill up marshes and bogs that Nature evidently intended for saurians and other croakers; nor to build dykes to keep out the aggressive ocean - not to any great extent. Almost from the first, the streets and thoroughfares, whether for residence or business, have followed the lines of the least resistance. Not the traditional meandering cattle paths of Boston, but the slightly and gracefully devious ways which an ardent lover or a guest sure of his welcome would naturally follow to reach the end of his journey, in the good old days when safe and swift arrival was not the only charm of travel.

The intersection of two main lines of travel, virtually at right angles, gave from the first an advantage not only in convenience of traffic and travel, but in the way of aesthetic possibilities which could hardly have existed under other conditions. One of these lines loosely paralleled the river, as in so many old New England towns and villages, and constituted in its earlier years the main axis and substance of the settlement, with farms and holdings on the west side, running back to the river which formed their rear boundary. The other thoroughfare gradually evolved from the eastward trail, encountered Main street near State and crossed it in a somewhat irregular fashion, proceeding over the river and the old West Springfield common. Eastward and westward these lines of travel stretched out across the country over bluffs and plains into the narrow, crooked valleys through which the smaller tributaries find their way to the large river. It hardly need be said that in this discussion of Springfield, both sides of the river are included and whatever we choose to claim toward the north and south.

A city by the sea unless it encircles the head of the bay is one-sided, and the same is true of those that are confined to either side of a large river, or barricaded at the back by inaccessible mountains. Like men of genius such cities command the greatest admiration for their preeminent merit - for instance, nothing can be finer than the magnificent setting of Holyoke against the southern side of Mount Tom - but they lack the broader and far more enduring charms of all-round excellence. This latter quality Springfield possesses in a marked and literal degree. Whether we take the wings of the morning and fly to Indian Orchard, Chicopee Falls and Ludlow, or dwell in the uttermost parts of Tatham, we can walk beside still waters and lie down in green pastures, as well as in fertile meadows and cornfields. Everywhere there are pleasant walks, and the state roads are good for man, beast, and automobile. If all our suburban highways and so-called roads were perfect, there would be nothing for future generations to accomplish, or give to the present generation that wholesome dissatisfaction which is the necessary precursor and incentive to improvement.

It seems to have followed naturally from the conditions of the birth and subsequent growth of the city, that the obvious civic center has scarcely changed its geographical location. The centrifugal forces have been almost equally strong in every direction. Ward One, Forest Park, the Hill, and West Springfield -north, south, east and west - who shall say which is the most delightful suburb?

As in the old New England towns, almost without exception, the first church erected was the point from which all things emanated, toward which all things tended, and around which everything revolved. It not only dominated the green turf in front, and the sometimes dreary burial ground behind, or at one side, but it set the pace for all other local affairs, social, political and educational as well as religious. It has not always happened, however, as here, that this ethical and business center has remained the visible aesthetic center. And although but a comparatively small part of our best architectural growth has been adjacent to Court square, and other churches have shared the burdens and responsibilities of directing our temporal as well as spiritual concerns, the characteristic, though by no means ornate, or altogether graceful, spire of the First church remains, as regards locality, the civic center of gravity. A skeleton map of the situation as it is today is fairly represented by the foregoing sketch.

It is obvious at a single glance how much greater are the opportunities for a beautiful city with such a ground plan than if it were helplessly constrained to the lines and the squares of a chess board. By filling the spaces between these variously curved diverging streets with small parallelograms a very complete map of the city would be produced, and it is easy to see that if all the main thoroughfares were straight and intersected each other at right angles, the chief charm of the plan would be lost. The natural point for minor public squares and open spaces is at the junction of these larger avenues, and many such already exist, so that from whatever quarter or direction we approach the center of the city, we encounter these ornamental oases.

The general picturesqueness is still farther enhanced by the uneven surface of the site which, of course, does not appear on the map. There are constant surprises in the way of charming vistas, either looking down across the valley or up toward the woody heights of the bluffs, that are not found in cities where all things are doomed to remain on the dead level. It is no wonder that the ancient Egyptians found their greatest enjoyment in building pyramids, and the Babylonians hung their gardens high in the air. We all like something to look up to and to look down upon.

Whether the attractiveness of the city's plan is thought to be due to happy chance, to the foresight of those who accidentally, or otherwise, determined the course of the principal highways of travel and trade, or to that overruling Providence which compels men to build better than they know, it is evident that the result is most excellent. So excellent, in fact, that we may seriously question whether the larger matters of business traffic and actual convenience, as well as of ultimate landscape architectural effect, could have been more wisely arranged if the genius of L'Enfant himself, instead of the domestic, commercial and social needs of our ancestors, had determined the first outline sketch of the city and its environment. By this irregular plan, small parks and open spaces are easily established without large outlay or sacrifice of public convenience. Trees, turf and flowers give an almost rural appearance even close to the very center, and render possible that dignified and sympathetic union of landscape and structural architecture which constitutes the most refined and exalted expression of civic aesthetics. Beauty in buildings alone is cold and costly; landscape without architectural embellishment belongs to rural life. The wise combination of the two - the color and grace of tree and shrub, of leaf and flower, the music of falling water and the silver light on river and fountain, all allied and inseperably blended with the artificial structures that minister to the needs of men and accompany human activities - is and always has been the constant aim and, when achieved, the crowning glory of the noblest civic art.

Continued: 'Section II. Plan of the Ground Floor, 1. The Inner Circle.'

Saturday, February 24, 2007

John Brown and Friends


Contributed by Barbara Shaffer, local author & historian.

John Brown himself set up shop in Springfield from 1846-1849 as a wholesaler of wool. His thoughts, however, were focused more on social change than the price of wool and, as his business faltered, his cause became more pronounced. He was determined to see the end of slavery in the United States.

While living in Springfield, he often attended worship services at the Sanford Street Church, an Afro-American Methodist Church a stone’s throw from Court Square. There he became acquainted with many local blacks, many of whom would eventually sign up in 1851 when Brown returned to town to establish the League of Gileadites. The League was an armed resistance movement consisting of several dozen blacks (including at least one woman) united to ward off slave hunters.

The day Brown was hung for his raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, VA, many local black and white abolitionists wept unashamedly. Levi Rowland locked himself in the bell tower of Old First Church and tolled the bell incessantly in grief. Though many viewed Brown as a lunatic, those who knew him personally spoke years after his death of his integrity and dedication.

* * *
For more about John Brown's time here in Western Massachusetts, here is a link to an article from the May, 1894, issue of The New England Magazine, 'John Brown in Springfield,' written by Harry Andrew Wright.

David Walker's Appeal


In the 1850s, abolitionist John Brown's methods in his quest for a free Nation grew more militant, and he is most often remembered by folks today for his armed battles in that decade against pro-slavery elements in Missouri and the Kansas territory, and his unsuccessful 1859 raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. But Brown had supported the abolition of slavery long before he was hung for treason in December of 1859, including assisting in the publication of the important historical African-American treatise, David Walker's Appeal, of 1829.

The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress has preserved the Appeal in an 82-page book available online, scanned from a version published in 1965 by Hill and Wang Publishers of New York.

Book source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, African American Odyssey, Digital ID: gcmisc ody0118

John Brown's Song


John Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859, for his conviction of treason after a failed raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virgina. Brown's assault on the armory - an attempt to arm slaves for an uprising against their oppressors - was repelled by a force of men led by none other than Robert E. Lee, who would soon fight the abolitionists and the Union as a Confederate States General in the American Civil War.

Initial dispatches from Harper's Ferry described an armed attacking force of 250 white men and a "gang of negroes." The situation was painted dire, with the town reported under the control of Brown and his men. In reality, Brown's rebellion included himself and 21 others, including two of his sons, one who was killed by Lee's men while surrendering under a white flag. Five of the raiders were black. At least one of those five was compelled by more than love for his fellow man. Dangerfield Newby had a more personal stake: His wife was still being held as a slave.

John Brown's 'insurrection' - fueled mainly by his strong religious convictions - was viewed in a poor light by many at the time. Although the abolition of slavery was a common cause for many folks, Brown's often violent methods were more often than not frowned upon by the abolitionists who preferred softer strategies. After his hanging, though, and with a civil war over slavery and secession looming that would involve 3 million fighting men and 600,000 battlefield deaths, John Brown's exploits became legendary among abolitionists and the downtrodden and were captured in plays and song and the like.

One of the songs that preserved the memory of this man who was ahead of his time, was known by various names, including 'John Brown's Body' and 'John Brown's a-Hangin' on a Sour Apple Tree.' It's better known to folks today as 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic,' by Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the current words to the song after hearing Union soldiers singing 'John Brown's Body' at an encampment on the Potomac. The page below comes from a five-page 1862 pamphlet that includes two other versions of the song, including the 'Battle Hymn,' and 'Brave McClellan is Our Leader Now.'


As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.


Song pages source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress,Sheet Music from the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana, Digital ID: scsm0013

WPA Poster: "Battle Hymn" Arts Project Play

"Poster for Federal Theatre Project presentation of "Battle Hymn" at the Experimental Theatre, east of Broadway, showing a silhouette of John Brown. New York: Federal Art Project, between 1936 and 1941" --From Library of Congress website.

Poster source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress, WPA Poster Collection, Digital ID: cph 3f05373 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3f05373

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fog on Quabbin Ice

Fog on Quabbin ice. New Salem, Massachusetts
(Mark T. Alamed, March, 2003)

The Quabbin Page on EWM.



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Moose-achusetts?

Here's a link to an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the resurgence of the moose population in Massachusetts: 'Forests lure moose to Massachusetts.'

According to the article, there are upwards of 1,000 moose calling the Bay State home, many of them preferring the area around the Quabbin reservoir.

In explaining the original demise of the animal from within our State borders, the article notes that, "By the mid-19th century in New England, only 30 percent of...forest remained."

The author then offers this positive assessment of the current state of New England forests: "Today, however, the Bay State is more than 60 percent forested, while New England as a whole is about 80 percent covered in trees. There's now more wood in New England forests than at any time in the past 200 years."

Hey, we can all use some good news every once in awhile.

Then again, what's good news for some is often bad news for others. In the 'there goes the neighborhood' department, local white-tail deer may not exactly be rolling out the Welcome Wagon for the new moose on the block. Folklore has it that when the moose move in, the deer move out, premised on the idea that moose have the height advantage, often grazing a bush or tree up too high for the more diminutive deer to join in the buffet, causing deer to move along in search of greener pastures. The article seems to back this theory up somewhat, reporting that "the average moose eats up to 60 pounds of roughage daily." True or not, a few local hunters I've spoken with reported seeing moose, or moose sign, during last year's hunting season, but not so many deer, if any at all.

In case you were wondering what a New England with 70% of its forest missing looks like, here are a few stark photos from the U.S. Geological Survey that might help you complete the picture. The captions are from the USGS website. No wonder the moose left.


"Glacial morain with abundant boulders of granite on surface at Chas. Griffin's farm, three miles east-southeast from Dana, Mass., many of the boulders are 8-10 feet long. Barre quadrangle. Worcester County, Massachusetts. May 18, 1907."




"Land cleared of boulders that are piled in walls about the fields. Three miles east-southeast from Dana, Mass., near Charles Griffin's farm. Barre quadrangle. Worcester County, Massachusetts. May 18, 1907. USGS Bulletin 760, Pl. 16-A, 1925."

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.


Photo One: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 260; Photo Two: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 261; Photo Three: USGS Photographic Library, ID: Alden, W.C. 262



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Western Massachusetts Blogs


For centuries, one of Western Massachusetts' most valuable assets has been the creative bent of its residents. The tradition of thoughtful and determined expression continues today and is demonstrated in the variety and quality of locally-authored blogs. The following list is ever-growing and regularly updated. To suggest a blog, please leave a comment below or email: explorewmass@yahoo.com (Updated June 15, 2012)




9 2 Bay 2 9 2 10

"There is always something happening on Route 9 to Bay Road..." ~~Laura

http://bayroad.blogspot.com/




A simple life

"I made this blog to keep some records of different life experiences I might have. Hope you enjoy it!"~~Fishing413

http://fishing413.blogspot.com/




AboutAmherst

"Also bugs, flowers, movies, travel, my family, cat and food."~~Mary E. Carey

http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/




Chester High School Alumni and Friends

"Okay, Blue Devils and Quarriers! Here's another "labor of love" brought to you unofficially by Walter "Wally" Boomsma, Class of '65 and (currently anyway) president of the CHS Alumni Association."~~Walter Boomsma

http://chesterhigh.wordpress.com




The Downtown Diaries

"This Blog has been created to chronicle the transformation of The Hippodrome in Springfield, MA back into the Paramount Theater. Scheduled to reopen in late 2009. Check here for more information as it becomes available."~~Mike Barrasso

http://paramounttheater.blogspot.com/




flash & yearn

"...The imperative "flash & yearn" is the beating heart of the poem, the tension that makes it hum."~~'Sachem Head'

http://sachem-head.livejournal.com




GavinThink

"Political and other opinions from Gavin Andresen."~~Gavin Andresen

http://gavinthink.blogspot.com/




Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog

"A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states."~~Greg Roach

http://gregroach.blogspot.com/




Hilltown Families

"Welcome to Hilltown Families, a grassroots communication network for families with grade school children living in Western Mass, established in 2005 by hilltown mother and long time activist Sienna Wildfield.."~~From Hilltown Families

http://www.hilltownfamilies.org/




Holyoke Home

"One couple. One dog. One achingly lovely historic brick row house. One very cool city. One VERY LONG renovation 'wish list.' One project at a time? We'll see." ~~From Holyoke Home

http://holyokehome.blogspot.com/




Holyoke in Photos

"Holyoke's PhotoBlog"~~Jeffrey Byrnes

http://www.holyokeinphotos.com/




Husky Hiker

"A journey of weight loss through the woods."~~Jim

http://huskyhiker.com/




Ice Cream Diaries

"One guy's account of the trials, tribulations, and offbeat characters from one old-fashioned ice cream and candy shop just west of Mt. Tom, in the tiny hamlet of Easthampton, Massachusetts."~~Jim Ingram

http://icecreamdiaries.blogspot.com/




In Our Grandmother's Kitchens

"Cooking, singing and sharing in New England and Beyond"~~Tinky Weisblat

http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/




in the valley

"Outdoor enthusiast, I use this blog to justify my loafing around in the woods when I really should be stressing about the daily rigors of life. But hey, life is short, have to balance things..."~~Tony Mateus

http://thepioneervalley.blogspot.com/




The Joey B

"What's there to tell? I was a seventh grade spelling bee champion. I sometimes wear silly paper hats. I like doughnuts. That's about it."~~Joey B

http://thejoeyb.blogspot.com/




Seth Kaye's Photoblog

"Current photography by Seth Kaye"~~From web site

http://www.sethkayeblog.com/




Life in the NohoDome

"Northampton from the inside and beyond."~~Jim Neill

http://nohodome.blogspot.com




A Luminous Halo

"Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts but always looking East." ~~Cicily Corbett

http://cicilycorbett.blogspot.com/




Massachusetts 351

"Laura and Bobb are visiting all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts and taking a picture in each as part of the Massachusetts 351 Project."~~Bobb and Laura

http://www.massachusetts351.blogspot.com/




MassLive Blogs

MassLive and Valley bloggers on one handy page including The Local Buzz, Bay Road Photo, Blog Beat and My Wide World.

http://www.masslive.com/blogs




Michaelann Land

"Justice for the Rest of Us"~~Michaelann Bewsee

http://michaelannland.blogspot.com




The Mt. Tom Billy Goat

http://mounttombillygoat.blogspot.com




Musings from the Otherworld: LizzieBelle's Photo Blog

"Explorations With My Camera"~~Elizabeth

http://lizziebelle.blogspot.com/




Musings of an old man

"I probably won't be elegant and I don't know what "aphorisms" means but I do have a lot to say after 64 years."~~Ted

http://musingsofanoldman.blogspot.com/




My Dating Muse

"I am a thinker and a doer. I often despair yet never give up. My quest for love is an extension of my dreams of, and attempts at, creating a better world."~~Penrapture

http://mydatingmuse.blogspot.com/




My Nephew is a Poodle (and Other Random Thoughts)

"A peek inside the mind of an author/comedian/homeschooling parent"~~Pamela Victor

http://www.pamvictor.blogspot.com/




My Northampton Diaries

http://crypticvalentine.posterous.com/




New England Abundance

"Notes from the Valley of Paradise."~~From the NEA blog

http://www.neabundance.com/blog_ne/




New England Girl

"Just a young gal livin it up in New England [for now]. I am an organizing, Type-A, neat freak; a mini-Martha Stewart wannabe; a blogging newbie; and a New England lover through and through. I hope you'll find as much humor in my day-to-day journey through this crazy New England life as I do! :)"~~New England Girl

http://newenglandlove.blogspot.com/




New England Pride

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New England Travels

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Only in Amherst

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Out of the Inkwell

"...writer, film historian, college instructor, and former radio talk show host with now 30 years experience in mass communications."~~Mike Dobbs

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Pine Cone Johnny

"The Past and Present Collide."~~Robert Genest

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Pioneer Birding

"Field notes about birds, birding and travel from the heart of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts and beyond."~~James P. Smith

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Plastic Revolution

"The wonderings, rantings and ramblings of a 30 something single mom trying to save the world . . . or at least save dinner."~~Reducing in HM

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Poetry News

"This is a weekly newsletter/magazine which chronicles the poetry events in the Pioneer Valley and Western MA as well as the larger Springfield/Worcester/Hartford area."~~Lori Desrosiers

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The Quilts of Ann Brauer

"Contemporary art quilts that use color, fabric and the traditions of quilt making to create abstract landscapes. Custom orders welcome."~~Ann Brauer

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Radio Free Earth

The Radio Free Earth Band's blog.

http://radiofreeearth.com/blog




Rambling VanDog

Holyoke happenings and more...

http://ramblingvandog.blogspot.com/




Readuponit: Travel and Voracious Reading

"Max Hartshorne, travel website editor and cafe owner, sharing some of the stuff I read, hear and see with you."~~Max Hartshorne

http://www.gonomad.com/readuponit/




Robert G. Judge

"The Blog of Robert G. Judge"~~Robert G. Judge

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Running Hard Out of Muskrat Flats

"I am a single Dad. I am a chef by trade. I write for a band called Drunk Stuntmen. I play guitar, I make glass art and often submit to my bohemian artistic leanings which creates an air of solace and serenity in my life."~~Paul Brown

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The South Hadley Historical Society

The blog of the South Hadley Historical society, which is based in the Old Firehouse Museum in that town.

http://southhadleyhistoricalsociety.blogspot.com/




Springfield East

"The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, is made of 17 different neighborhoods, each with something special to offer. As a resident of East Springfield/Liberty Heights area, I felt it would be interesting to travel my neighborhoods on foot and see what they have to offer. This blog will serve as a chronicle of my sojourns."~~Courtney Leigh Llewellyn

http://eastspringfield.blogspot.com/




Springfield History

"A virtual Historical Society for the city of Springfield."~~Ralph Slate

http://springfield-history.com




The Springfield Intruder

"The Springfield Intruder is owned and administered by William Dusty, living out of Springfield, Massachusetts."~~Bill Dusty

http://www.springfieldintruder.com




Surner Birding

Western Massachusetts Birding Blog

http://surnerbirding.blogspot.com/




Urban Compass

"Searching the soul of the city."~~Heather Brandon

http://urbancompass.net




Valleyist

"What is it and what makes it go?"~~Tommy Devine

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Viking Pundit

"The only conservative in Western Massachusetts."~~Eric Lindholm

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Western Massachusetts Online

"Your Guide for News and Information Relative to Western MA"~~From WMO

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Western Mass Politics and Insight

"...Commentary on news and the political happenings in Greater Springfield..."~~Matt S.

http://wmasspi.blogspot.com/




Western Massachusetts Regional Library System

"News and Updates: WMRLS-One-Blog"~~From the WMRLS web site

http://wmrls.blogspot.com/




Worthington Library

Blog of the Worthington, Mass. public library.

http://worthingtonlibrary.blogspot.com/




Check out EWM's Surfin' the Western Mass. Web for additional interesting close-to-home websites:

http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/2007/09/surfin-western-mass-web.html


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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Good Old Days: 1941...Suds'n'Plugs

Westfield, Massachusetts Railway Station Postcards

"Railway Station, Westfield, Mass." (Date Unknown)

"Westfield, Mass. The Railway Station" (1914)


Here's a brief magazine article on the "Practicability and expediency of establishing a rail road on one or more routes from Boston to the Connecticut River," published in 1827 by William L. Lewis, editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser, in The North American Review. Interestingly, the article mentions another project being floated at the time: a Boston to Connecticut River Canal.

For some photographs of the Westfield train station, check out the EWM post, Westfield, Massachusetts Railway Station Photos.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

Westfield, Massachusetts Railway Station Photos

The train station in my hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts. If these bricks could talk..

Looking west up the rails. For well over a century, these tracks have played a vital role in moving goods and people across the state, virtually running from Massachusetts' western to eastern borders. As a kid, I spent many a day walking these tracks.

The stairway down to North Elm Street. Notice the railroad overpass, severely dented from years of tractor trailers slamming into it and getting wedged underneath. The area is slated for some major improvements, including a new motorized traffic bridge across the Westfield River to be built just east of here. There are plans to raise the overpass and regrade the road to eliminate the truck-stuffing problem.

That warning sign sure is getting dented up. Oh well, we all have our bad days...

Like this trucker, who back in October, 2006, had a heart attack while rolling along the Mass Pike toward Lee just west of Exit 3 in Westfield and crossed the median into oncoming traffic, snarling both eastbound lanes. Amazingly enough, according to one of the tow truck operators, there were no serious injuries. If you travel up Twiss St. toward the dump, you can see where a new section of guard rail has been installed at the spot.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Greenwich, Massachusetts (1754 - 1938)

The town of Greenwich was incorporated per Chapter 37 of the Massachusetts laws on April 20, 1754.

Greenwich was originally part of an area known as Narragansett Township Number Four and was settled by land grantees in the 1730s who had served England in the Indian Wars against the Narragansetts. Many of the settlers were of Scottish or Irish heritage.

Of the four flooded Quabbin towns, Greenwich was the oldest.

When Greenwich was incorporated it was known as the 'Plantation of Quabbin,' named after an Indian Sachem from the local Nipmuc tribe, who was known as "Nini-Quaben." It was renamed Greenwich in honor of the Scottish 1st Duke of Greenwich, John Campbell.

"Quabbin (or Quaben)" means "well-watered place," a fitting name for the Greenwich area, which was dotted with ponds, lakes and streams and watered by two branches of the Swift River, the Middle and the East. The largest of the lakes was Quabbin Lake, also known as East Pond.

Greenwich was surrounded by rocky hillside, with Mt. Lizzie a distinctive geographic feature to the south, rising nearly 900 feet high from the middle of the valley floor and Mount Pomeroy slightly surpassing her height a couple of miles to the north. Mt. Lizzie is the first island you can see looking north from Goodnough Dike in Quabbin Park in Belchertown. Mt. Pomeroy is the island behind her. Greenwich Center, also known as Greenwich Plains, was located in the valley between the two, a bit east of the islands. Greenwich Village, in the northern section of town, lay just to the east of Mt. Pomeroy.

The lower plains of Greenwich provided fertile soil for farming, and there is evidence that the Nipmucs themselves had planted corn in the valley. By 1890, there were 77 farms in Greenwich.

The Nipmuc tribe also maintained a permanent fishing camp near the confluence of the two branches of the Swift River, not far from Davis Pond, also known as Greenwich Lake.

Today, when Quabbin Reservoir is at capacity, Davis Pond is under more than 100 feet of water.

Greenwich was the location of the first church constructed in the Swift River Valley, built in 1749, five years before the town was officially incorporated. The first four pastors served for a combined total of one hundred thirty-four years. The congregation was known as the Standing Order of Christians. The Rev. Peletiah Webster was the first Pastor and served eleven years.

Parts of Greenwich were carved off in the early 19th century. The section of town known as the southern parish of Greenwich was formed in June of 1787, and was formally seperated from Greenwich on February 15, 1816, when it was incorporated as the town of Enfield. The northeastern area of Greenwich became part of the town of Dana on February 18, 1801.

The first Post Office in town was established in Greenwich Center, in The Plains section, in 1810, with Josiah White appointed first Postmaster on New Year's Day of that year. Greenwich Village received their own Post Office branch in 1824, on May 28th. Warren P. Wing was the village's first Postmaster.

Not quite as numerous, but just as important to the local economy as the many farms in Greenwich, were the industries that thrived in the town. Mills and factories began springing up along the rivers and ponds as early as 1745.

In the fiscal year ending June 1, 1855, Greenwich's scythe factory reported the manufacture of 6,000 scythes with a value of twenty-five hundred dollars. Another factory employing six and involved in the manufacturing of "silver-plated trimmings for harnesses" was the high earner in the town that year, recording six thousand dollars worth of product sold.

Like its neighbor to the northeast, Dana, Greenwich also had businesses employing people in the making of palm-leaf hats, with a reported three thousand dollars worth of product hitting the market in 1855. According to the 1855 Secretary of State's report "Industry in Massachusetts," the palm-leaf hat industry was a major employer of the town's women, with the interesting note in the report: "f. emp., almost all in the town, when occupied with nothing else of more importance."

In the winter, ice-harvesting was an important industry in town, with ice being shipped to Springfield, Worcester and even New York City.

The Athol & Enfield Railroad was completed on December 3, 1873 and ran north to south through Greenwich, paralleled by old Route 21. Both travelled slightly southwest through the area and intersected Mt. Lizzie and Mt. Pomeroy. There were train stations in both Greenwich Center and Greenwich Village and the railroad served as a link between Springfield and Athol.

By 1890, Greenwich boasted seven schools and a 400 volume library located in the Sunday school of the Congregational Church. The town's population was 532, with 152 registered voters.

When the town was taken over by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission, the 3,000 volumes of Greenwich's Free Public Library were donated to the Public Library in New Salem.

Early in the 20th century, the Greenwich area became popular for its fishing and summer camps, attracting many tourists from the Springfield and Worcester areas.

Even X. Henry Goodnough, head of the Metropolitan Water & Sewer Board and an avid angler, couldn't resist, bringing his fishing pole with him on scouting missions to the Swift River Valley during the early planning stages of the construction of Quabbin Reservoir. Ironically, enjoying the splendor of the valley while plotting its demise.

The Post Office in Greenwich Center closed its doors for the last time on April 10, 1930, with mail being forwarded to the Post Office in Greenwich Village, which would hang on another six years, closing on July 31, 1936.

Today, the Quabbin Baffle Dam is located where Greenwich Village once stood.

The dam serves as a filtration system by re-routing water entering the reservoir from the Swift-Wachusett Tunnel and the East Branch of the Swift River, deflecting the flow in a northerly direction around Mt. Zion and ultimately back toward Shaft Twelve, which is located south of the Baffle Dam. Shaft Twelve is where the water of Quabbin begins its journey to Boston, travelling through the Swift-Wachusett Tunnel to the Wachusett Reservoir and onward to the thirsty inhabitants of Eastern Massachusetts.

There are differing accounts of the date of the last town meeting of Greenwich. Some place the date as February 14, 1938, others as April 21, 1938.

No matter what the date was, one date is certain, the town of Greenwich was disincorporated on April 28, 1938 at 12:01 a.m., per order of Chapter 240 of the Acts and Resolves of April 26, 1938, passed by the Massachusetts General Court and signed into law by Gov. Charles Hurley.

Greenwich ceased to exist eight days after its 184th birthday.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.



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The Quabbin Chronology: Index

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A Timeline of the Swift River Valley

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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About the project...

Quabbin has been a part of my life for many years.

I stopped quite often at Quabbin Park in Belchertown as a young man, driving home from Eastern Massachusetts to Westfield via Rte. 9.

It naturally progressed into a favorite Sunday drive destination for me to take my children, who loved to have picnics and marvel at the steep grassy slopes of the Winsor Dam and the Goodnough Dike.

As the kids outgrew the station wagon and Sunday drives, I, too, outgrew the confines of Quabbin Park, which at 3,100 acres, is a actually a relatively small section of the watershed area that surrounds the reservoir with its 118 miles of shoreline.

I began to explore the access gates along Rtes. 202, 122 and 32a. I 'discovered' Federated Women's Club State Forest in Petersham and the awesome view of Quabbin from Soapstone Hill. I hiked to spots like Grave's Landing on Skinner Hill Road, Doubleday Village and North Dana. I began to collect favorite places in the Quabbin like some people collect stamps, each one simply known as 'the Spot'.

On the trail, I met hikers and loggers and people from all walks of life, but mostly I met with solitude and quiet, hiking 10 or 12 miles in a day sometimes and not seeing anyone, considered by me and my solitary nature a good day in the woods. There is nothing quite as rewarding as walking four miles in the bitter cold in fresh snow, finally approaching the edge of the frozen reservoir and seeing a pair of coyotes scavenging the remains of a deer carcass on the ice, eagles and hawks overhead. Settling down quietly. Watching. Becoming part of the scene...almost like I belonged there.

Quabbin has a way of doing that to you, making you part of the scene. All contrivances and notions of human importance left behind at the gate, visitors become bit actors in a play that envelopes man's history and his relationship with a planet that cares little of his frailties and ploddingly, quietly, continues to reclaim the land, smoothing out the sharp edges of man's influence at every opportunity. Always on the verge of rebirth.

The old foundations encountered along the roads and in the woods of Quabbin are sobering reminders that the people of four towns and several villages had to sacrifice their homes, land and future history to provide drinking water to Boston and other cities and towns. The stone walls and roads that disappear below the surface at the water's edge are surreal scenes of drowned hopes and journeys that will never be taken.

At times the aura of Quabbin is a palpable entity. Pausing on the road in front of an old homestead, one can almost hear the voices wafting through the window opened to the evening breeze. The children playing hide and seek in the last shafts of daylight, the young couple walking hand in hand, planning their future...Then the woods close in again, the damp, musty smell of rotting leaves hidden beneath a blanket of new ferns. A scarlet tanager whistling from inside its tin can.

This is the paradox of Quabbin: Deep forest that can humble a person, littered with evidence of human determination and strength.

Quabbin is a special place for me. Full of memories and stories, familiar sights and places as yet undiscovered. It is a place to escape to. To rejuvenate myself. To contemplate deeper meanings and just to have fun.

The Quabbin Chronology enriches that experience.

The Quabbin Chronology: pre-1600

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Currently no entries.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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The Quabbin Chronology: 1600 - 1699

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1620 - The Pilgrims make landfall in Plymouth.

1634 - Boston Common becomes America's first public park.

1675 - The Indian-Settler conflict known as King Philip's War begins.

1676 August 2 - Eight men are killed and three wounded in an Indian skirmish in the town of New Braintree.

1687 November 1 - Shutesbury resident Ephraim Pratt is born in Sudbury. Pratt died in the Spring of 1804 at the ripe old age of 116. It is claimed that at the time of his death his descendants numbered around 1,500.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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The Quabbin Chronology: 1700 - 1799

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1722 June 18 - Rutland is incorporated as a town.

1723 August 14 - A man and two boys are slain, and two other boys are taken hostage when five Indians raid the town of Rutland.

1731 July - First settlement in Belchertown, known then as Cold Spring. By 1740, 20 families called the area home.

1734 December 31 - A land grant is issued by the Massachusetts General Court allowing for the creation of the Township of New Salem, which was founded in 1735 and settled in 1737. A fire in 1856 destroyed all town records up to that time.

1736 January 14 - A land grant of 1,000 acres for the creation of the Quabbin territory is approved by the Massachusetts General Court.

1736 November 17 - The first church is established in Hardwick, with the Rev. David White serving as minister.

1737 January 10 - The Town of Hardwick settled. Formerly known as Lambstown after John Lamb, one of the men who bought the land from the Indians for twenty English pounds in 1686, the Indian name was "Wombemesisecook." Hardwick was incorporated in 1739.

1738 December - The first Church is organized in Petersham. The Rev. Aaron Whitney was the original Minister.

1739 January 27 - The Town of Hardwick, comprised of the villages of Wheelwright, Gilbertville, Old Furnace and the Center, is incorporated. The Town of Holden is also incorporated on this day.

1743 January 15 - The Town of Pelham is incorporated.

1747 - Daniel Shays is born, probably in Hopkinton. Shays, mostly remembered for his part in what became known as "Shays's Rebellion," was a Captain in the 5th Massachusetts regiment during the Revolutionary War. He fought at Bunker Hill, Ticonderoga and Saratoga. He received a ceremonial sword from the Marquis de Lafayette at the end of the war in recognition of his bravery and dedication. Shays would later be forced to sell the sword as a result of the dire financial circumstances that he and many other farmers and citizens faced at the end of the war.

1749 June 29 - The Parish of Quabbin is incorporated.

1751 January 31 - The Town of New Braintree is incorporated. The Indian name for the area was "Winimisset." It was originally known to settlers as Braintree Farms.

1754 April 20 - The Towns of Petersham and Greenwich are incorporated. Greenwich was originally referred to as Narragansett Township #4 and was first established by settlers from Northern Ireland. Early Petersham residents were reported to have been bothered by the numerous rattlesnakes and wolves they encountered in their new environ.

1754 August 15 - Greenwich holds its first town meeting.

1755 April 14 - Four year-old Lucy Keyes mysteriously disappears in the Princeton woods while on her way to Wachusett Lake with her sisters. It's said that Lucy's mother Martha wandered the forest every night fruitlessly calling Lucy's name until her death in 1786. A reclusive neighbor later admitted to the killing in a pang of death-bed conscience. Legend has it that if the conditions are just right, you can still hear the heartbroken Martha Keyes calling plaintively for her lost little girl in the Mount Wachusett woods after dark.

1759 October 20 - Princeton is established as a district.

1761 June 30 - The Town of Shutesbury, named for Governor Samuel Shute, is incorporated. Belchertown was also incorporated on this day, but was known then as Belcher's Town in honor of Governor Jonathan Belcher. Before that it had been called Cold Spring.

1761 November 25 - The Town of Ware is incorporated.

1762 June 11 - The Town of Oakham is incorporated.

1763 October 4 - James Fisk is born in Greenwich. Fisk was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature at the young age of 21. He later moved to Vermont, where he continued his political career. He served in several capacities including as Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont and as a U.S. Senator. He died on November 17, 1844 at the age of 81. He is buried at Church Street Cemetery in Swanton, VT.

1767 June 13 - Hubbardston is incorporated as a town.

1771 April 24 - The Town of Princeton is incorporated.

1771 June 22 - Part of Belchertown annexed to the town of Greenwich.

1775 August 23 - The Town of New Salem is incorporated.

1777 October 25 - One-thousand Hessian soldiers, captured at Saratoga, NY, pass through the village of North New Salem on their way to Boston during the Revolutionary War.

1781 May 8 - The Town of Wendell is incorporated.

1786 August 29 - "Shays's Rebellion" begins. The Northampton courthouse is taken over by 1,500 men bearing arms, led by Daniel Shays of Pelham. A similar scene unfolds at the courthouse in Worcester a month later. The writing of the United States Constitution was a direct result of these acts of civil disobedience.

1787 January 25 - The battle at the Springfield Armory during "Shays's Rebellion," led by Pelham resident and distinguished Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays, is fought. Three of Shays's men are killed.

1787 January 28 - Daniel Shays' army sets up camp in Pelham on their retreat from the Massachusetts militia in the final days of "Shays's Rebellion."

1787 February 4 - "Shays's Rebellion" ends with Pelham resident Daniel Shays' and his mens' defeat in Petersham by General Benjamin Lincoln's militia, who manage to surprise the group while they are preparing breakfast. Shays and some of his men escaped to Vermont, and were assisted by the patriot Ethan Allen, among others. Shays was later pardoned by Governor John Hancock.

1787 June 20 - South Parish of Greenwich incorporated.

1788 June 13 - Daniel Shays is pardoned for his part in "Shays's Rebellion" by Governor John Hancock. The Pelham resident later moves to New York where he resides until his death on September 29, 1825. He is buried in Springwater, NY.

1788 June 16 - Part of Belchertown annexed to the town of Pelham.

1789 December 2 - Rev. Joshua Crosby settles in Enfield, the town's first minister.

1795 February 25 - New Salem Academy is established by legislative act. The school closes its doors in 1968.

1799 June 22 - The Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The road began in Amherst and ended in Shrewsbury.

1799 September 10 - First meeting of The Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation held in Hardwick at the home of Jonathan Warner.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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The Quabbin Chronology: 1800 - 1899

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1801 February 18 - Dana is incorporated as a town. The town was named after Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Francis Dana.

1801 March 17 - Dana holds first town meeting.

1803 February 7 - The Belchertown and Greenwich Turnpike Corporation is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature.

1804 January - The extension of the Belchertown and Greenwich Turnpike to the North Parish of Greenwich is approved by an act passed by the Massachusetts Congress

1804 February 29 - The Petersham and Monson Turnpike is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The toll road ran from the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike in Athol to Monson, crossing the Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike west of Greenwich Village.

1808 January 30 - The Town of West Boylston is incorporated.

1808 April 14 - James Church Alvord is born in Greenwich. In his short life of 31 years, Alvord served in both houses of the Massachusetts Congress and as a U.S. Representative from the 6th District of Massachusetts. He died in Greenfield on September 27, 1839 and is buried in the Federal Street Cemetery in that town.

1811 August 21 - The Baptist Society, a religious group, is founded in Barre.

1814 April - Erastus Brigham Bigelow, inventor of weaving machines and credited with bringing prosperity to the textile industry town of Clinton, is born in West Boylston. Bigelow's carpet company slogan was: "A title on the door rates a Bigelow on the floor."

1816 February 18 - The Town of Enfield is incorporated, created from parts of the towns of Belchertown and Greenwich.

1816 March 4 - Enfield holds first town meeting.

1816 June 17 - Governor John Brooks approves act incorporating The First Baptist Society of Barre.

1820 - The town of New Salem's population peaks at 2,145, making it the largest town in Franklin County at the time. By 1900, the population is 809.

1822 January 28 - The Town of Prescott incorporated. The area was originally known as Pelham's "East Parish," and was first established in 1786.

1822 February 18 - Prescott holds its first town meeting.

1823 - First Post Office opened in Dana.

1825 January 12 - Francis Henry Underwood born in Enfield. Appointed American Consul to Glasgow in 1885, he was reappointed as Consul in 1893 by President Grover Cleveland, moving on to Edinburgh, Scotland. Underwood was also an author and biographer. He was a friend of fellow Massachusetts native, the multi-faceted James Russell Lowell, and many other famous literary figures of the day.

1825 September 29 - Death of Daniel Shays, Pelham resident and American revolutionary best known for "Shays' Rebellion," which involved a brazen assault on the Federal Armory in Springfield in January of 1787. He is buried in Springwater, NY.

1842 February 4 - Dana increases its land area, acquiring acreage from Petersham and Hardwick through an act of the Legislature.

1842 October 27 - Congregational Church is established in Shutesbury.

1846 May 19 - Death of Robert B. Thomas, West Boylston resident and originator of 'The Old Farmer's Almanac', first issued in 1792 and still published and relied upon to this day. Thomas is buried in Sterling at Legge Cemetery.

1848 October 25 - Water from Long Pond in Natick (now Lake Cochituate) flows through the fountain on Boston Common for the first time, an event much celebrated by the residents of the city.

1854 - North Dana Post Office opens.

June 1, 1855 - Dana's two piano leg factories end the fiscal year having produced 5,200 sets of piano legs and 700 sets of Melodeon legs with a total value of almost $50,000.00. The town of Prescott farmers' report the production of the astounding amount of 49,030 pounds of cheese, valued at $4,576, or $10.71 per pound.

1863 May 7 - Greenwich native General Amiel W. Whipple dies of wounds suffered in the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville, while fighting under the command of Major General Joseph Hooker. The campaign against Confederate States forces guided by General Robert E. Lee and Major General Thomas J. Jackson lasted a week and resulted in an estimated total of 24,000 casualties.

1863 June 14 - Union Captain John G. Mudge Jr., a Petersham resident, loses part of his left ear in the Civil War battle known as the 'Siege of Port Hudson,' in Louisiana. The other thirty-three Massachusetts men he is leading don't fare as well, with only three survivors. The Union suffered 5,000 killed or wounded in the 48 day long siege, the Confederacy, 700.

1873 December 3 - Construction of the Athol and Enfield Railroad completed. The line, known affectionately to locals as the "Rabbit Run" because of it's frequent stops, was purchased by the Boston & Albany Railroad in 1880.

1888 March 12 - "The Blizzard of '88" begins, blanketing the Northeast with heavy snow and causing at least 400 deaths, half of those in New York City. Worcester received 32" of snow. As a result of the wind accompanying the storm, the streets of Northampton were buried under snowdrifts up to 8 feet high.

1889 September 19 - The Universalist Parish of North Dana is established.

1894 August 7 - Death of Francis Henry Underwood in Edinburgh, Scotland.

1895 - The Metropolitan Water District, consisting of Boston and ten other Massachusetts towns, is established by Chapter 488 of the Acts of 1895. This was the precursor to the Metropolitan District Commission. In 1895, the eleven participant towns had a total population of 750,000 and consumed 70 million gallons of water daily.

1898 March 22 - Dedication of the Universalist Church building in North Dana.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

* * *