Thursday, October 2, 2008

Motoring the Mohawk , October 1941

If you're a Western Massachusetts native, or have been hanging around these parts for awhile, chances are pretty good that you have your favorite driving route for fall leaf-peeping. Chances are also pretty good that you think it's a secret: Your very own stretch of color-bursting Sunday stretch of highway. Routes 32 and 32a, 8 and 23, Granville Road to Route 57. The General Henry Knox highway. The Skyline Trail. We won't tell anyone.

By far the easiest way for folks to be helpful to strangers and acquaintances and kind to secret-road locals when it comes to keeping the leaf-peeping traffic flowing smoothly is to direct all inquiries for 'best spots' to the Main Roads. Routes 202, 20, 5 & 10: send them there. Better yet, send everyone up Route 2 to the Mohawk Trail. Businesses and residents on those busy stretches thrive on the out-of-towner traffic meandering along their thoroughfares. Tag sales, farm stands, antique and souvenir shops and restaurants depend on a steady flow of customers during the melancholy season. For some businesses, autumn is the make or break time of the year. It's the least we can do to send the tourists their way. And it frees up our 'secret' spots, too. Who can argue with that?

Here are some photographs from October 1941 taken along the Mohawk Trail by John Collier, who was a master at capturing regular folks doing regular things. Germany had invaded Russia, Japan was laying the final plans for their vicious assault on Pearl Harbor, and the mangy tail of the Depression was curling itself around the country. Still the leaves changed. Still the sluggish streams flowed. Still the colors pleased.

The photographs, as well as their captions, are courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection. I haven't included individual references for each image, because there are just so gosh-darned many of them. Reference information will be supplied if anyone so desires.

Enjoy.

Harvest Highway Run


"Mohawk Trail winding through the Berkshires, Massachusetts"


"The rich and the poor crowded into the Berkshires to enjoy the fall coloring. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Motorcycle club out to enjoy the fall coloring along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Members of a motorcycle troupe out to enjoy the fall coloring along the Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires. Massachusetts"


Seasonal Snaps


"Making snapshots along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Tourists drive many miles to stand and look at beautiful New England. Mohawk Trails, Massachusetts"


"Children crowded up on the feet of 'Hail to the Sunrise' bronze Indian to have their pictures taken. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Deserted farm house in the Savoy Mountains at the Berkshires. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


Autumn Offerings


"Farmers along the Mohawk Trail depend on the tourist for much of their profit. Massachusetts"


"Apple cider and cherry cider net a clean profit for local farmers along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Farmers along the Mohawk Trail depend on the tourist for much of their profit. Massachusetts"


"Melons for sale from farm wagon. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


Fall Fare


"Campers who have come from nearby factory town for Sunday in the autumn woods. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Picnic party from the mill towns enjoys the autumn foliage along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts. State-owned park"


"The young and the old joined the pilgrimage into the fall splendor of the Berkshires. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts. State-owned camp and picnic site"


"Picnic party along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"All cooking in state-owned picnic site on the Mohawk Trail was done on gas stoves. Massachusetts"


"Cooling beer in stream at state-owned picnic and camping site along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Cooling beer in stream at state-owned picnic and camping site along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


October Activities


"Wishing well: throw your penny in the box and you get your wish. At Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Wishing well: throw your penny in the box and you get your wish. At Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Folks from the cities came up on Sunday to view the fall foliage and read the Sunday paper. Mohawk Trail Picnic Park, Massachusetts"


"Folks from the cities camp up on Mohawk Trail on Sunday to view the fall foliage and read the Sunday paper. Mohawk Trail picnic park, Massachusetts"


"Writing cards home to the 'folks.' Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


Tourist Trinkets


"Shops such as this furnish much of the income for the New England vacation areas. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Hooked rugs and hand weaving are for sale at many stands along the Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Wayside shops sell most anything small and useless. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Wayside shops sell most anything small and useless. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"One third of the income from many localities in New England comes out of such souvenir shops on this Mohawk Trail. Massachusetts"


Leaf-Peeper Lodging


"One of the many tourists camps along the Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires. Massachusetts"


"Tourists camps stretch in an endless village along the Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires. Massachusetts"


"Tourists camps stretch in an endless village along the Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires. Massachusetts"


"A complete home for rent, one night, one week, one month. Tourist camp along Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


"Tourists cabin villages line the roads through the Berkshires' Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts"


To learn more about what the Mohawk Trail offers travelers - including maps, weather and activities - check out mohawktrail.com.

For more Autumn in Franklin County photographs from EWM, visit the post, 'Photographs: A Fall Farm Stand in Franklin County, October, 1941'.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.



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2 comments:

Tony said...

I'm pretty sure some of those tiny cabins are still there, a little worse for wear, though. I wonder if the others, like that sugar shack, are still standing. I'll have to take a careful look next time up there...

Nice post, Mark.

Tommy said...

excellent