Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Eyrie House: William Street's Home in the Clouds

Stumbling upon the ruins of the strong traprock foundation astride the summit of Holyoke's Mt. Nonotuck, one might wonder what magnificent structure had perched atop these sills, what glorious architecture capped such a solid base that suggests grandeur in every stone laid. The fact of the matter is that these massive basalt walls have never supported anything but such visions and mind-pictures in the century passed, calamity and competition leaving unfinished one man's dream.



In 1893, William Street began construction of a new stone and concrete-built summit house to replace the aging Eyrie House hotel and resort he owned and operated from the lofty heights of  his treasured property at the very top of Mt. Nonotuck. Street's plan to build an elegant four-story fireproof structure on the site just below the original hotel came to a blazing end around 8 p.m. on the night of April 13, 1901, when the mountain went aflame, a result of loose embers from a fire Street had started earlier as a crematory pyre for two deceased horses. Thinking the ashes of his fire had been reasonably contained, Street, alone on the summit, had gone about his evening business, the orange and red glow of the hungry and growing eraser traveling up the mountain alerting him to the pyre's re-spark too late as the barn went up, the first casualty in the ensuing path of destruction the desperate hotelier was helpless to halt.



Street, known for his frugality, was woefully under-insured. Three years of fierce competition from the nearby Mt. Tom Summit House and Railway Park, opened in 1897, and before that, years of sustained rivalry with the Prospect House, atop Mt. Holyoke across the Connecticut River, had also severely cut into Mr. Street's seasonal receipts. Unable to rebuild, broken and broken-hearted, William Street gave up his mountain perch to live out the rest of his days a recluse, to his death refusing to acknowledge the $5,000 the Mt. Tom Reservation Commission had deposited into an escrow account in his name after taking his property per eminent domain when negotiations between the two parties about the acreage's true value had come to a stubborn stand still. William Street died in 1918 at the age of 78. Having remained a bachelor all of his life, his sole heir was his sister, Ann, who inherited what was left of Street's estate, including, presumably, the $5,000, which he had left untouched for fourteen years. Mr. Street's Mt. Nonotuck has been enjoyed by visitors to its climes as part of Mt. Tom State Reservation for over a century now.



Officially opened on July 4, 1861, the Eyrie House had expanded its facilities as well as its reputation by the time this 1871 advertisement for the busy summer resort appeared in the book, Attractions of Northampton, by Charles Chandler. Patrons could visit a collection of creatures Mr. Street, an amateur zoologist, kept as a mountain menagerie. Options for viewing the valley and surrounding blue-tinged ranges were numerous, with platforms and walkways and mountain paths leading to natural lookouts. A telescope provided breathtaking views of the Connecticut River's meandering Oxbow or the growing town of Northampton, shining in the upriver distance. Bands appeared and picnics were held, the grove filled to its edges most summer days, well over a hundred folks at a time enjoying the fresh mountain air of Western Massachusetts.



William Street had begun the Mt. Nonotuck enterprise with a partner, Hiram Farnum, who sold his share in the operation in August of 1861, the architectural and recreational creation born atop the mountain thereafter the pursuit of Street's sole and personal vision. The image above shows the north face of the Eyrie House. It was taken facing the summit from the area of where the previously pictured foundation ruins of the never-to-be replacement hotel can be found today. From meager beginnings on leased land, Street's mountain resort grew and expanded each year as he sunk his heart and soul into his dream. In 1875, he purchased the property from his lessor. By 1885, an improved road was carrying Eyrie House patrons up the mountain to stay in one of the hotel's more than thirty well-decorated, wainscoted and black-walnut trimmed guest rooms. Wooden decks and promenades soared above the treetops, leading to attractions scattered around the property. Companies held picnics there and families made an annual tradition of vacation pilgrimages to the elevated retreat.



The faint figures of people utilizing the observation deck atop the Eyrie House can be seen in this photograph. The four decade old, all-wooden building and its surrounding decks and promenades took little time to burn on that fateful Saturday night in the spring of 1901, a somber spectacle seen for miles around, like a tragic beacon illuminating the nearly 900 foot high Mt. Nonotuck summit. According to an article in the April 14, 1901, Springfield Sunday Republican: "The progress of the fire was watched by hundreds of people at Northampton, Easthampton and Holyoke, and it made a brilliant sight way up against the clouds. There seemed to be no resistance to the flames, and they rushed through the long three-story building at will, and by 11 o'clock the whole structure was in ashes."  Street was badly burned on one of his hands as he bravely battled the fire and later maintained that, had he gotten help sooner, the house may have been spared the inferno. Very few items were saved before the hotel was consumed, the telescope, some souvenirs and bedding retrieved all that Street had left to remember his mountain paradise. Those and a sturdy traprock foundation begun, that sadly, would never see progress again. Unlike the Phoenix, the Eyrie House would not rise from the ashes.



Folks from all points had options for getting to William Street's Eyrie House with local road, rail and water travel experiencing giant leaps forward toward modernity in the 19th century. The final leg of the journey, though, was always uphill, the mountain road a vital link to success which Street continuously tried to improve over the years, purchasing land and securing rights-of way necessary to ease the toll of the climb on his patrons. Indeed, simultaneously with construction of the stalwart, left-behind foundation of the new hotel, a railway was being built to carry passengers from the flatland below to the heights of the resort. Remnants of the rail bed, begun around 1894, can still be seen in thick, high, stone support walls chasing time down the slopes. That endeavor, too, was abandoned as a result of the 1901 Eyrie House fire.



This radio beacon tower, constructed by the Defense Department in the mid-40s and maintained today by the FAA, is located almost in the center of where the original Eyrie House once stood. Snapped from the foundation ruins of the never-completed "new" Eyrie House, the angle of the photograph is very similar to the angle of the one three photographs up, the one depicting the north side of the hotel. Standing here, one can imagine the house at it was, proprietor William Street, the "hermit of the mountain" as he had been known, opening his doors to happy and satisfied guests for a few months of the year. Selling his creation on the mountain one night at a time to folks who returned year after year to behold the new wonders he had in store. It isn't every hotel owner who kept a bear in the basement...



Now under the charge of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mt. Tom State Reservation is a place of basalt ghosts and keystone memories, specters we can revisit on snowy hikes or summer days to contemplate dreams borne upon wings to summits in the sky. Today, through doorways and beyond walls fixed in stone and mortar, we can walk among the nestled rock puzzle remnants of one man's vision: An ever-welcoming crown atop an unforgiving mount, William Street's eyrie among the clouds.



We can look off into the valley, over the hills, and marvel at all that has changed from William Street's day. We can wonder, too, of all that remains the same. And still, we pay our coin, we take our view, and some will see further than others.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.




For more information on visiting Mt. Tom State Reservation, including how to get there and a printable trail map, be sure to visit the mass DCR's park web page at:

http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/mtom.htm

For a great video history of the Eyrie House check out Mt. Tom historian Robert Schwobe's presentation, Mt. Nonotuck and the Eyrie House Hotel, at Easthampton Community Access Television's blog:

http://ecatv5.blogspot.com/2008/10/mt-nonotuck-and-eyrie-house-hotel.html

And here's a link to an excellent chronology of Eyrie House history by Bob Genest over at the Pine Cone Johnny blog:

http://pineconejohnny.blogspot.com/2008/07/rise-and-fall-of-holyokes-eyrie-house.html

Tony Mateus, author of the blog, in the valley, has also visited the Eyrie House and Mt. Tom, here's a link to his post, with his ever-present awesome photographs:

http://thepioneervalley.blogspot.com/2008/09/havent-foggiest.html

And another link to a great web site called, Mt. Holyoke Historical Timelines, which mentions the Eyrie House a few times:

http://www.chronos-historical.org/mtholyoke/index.html

The two vintage Eyrie House photographs and the map are courtesy of the always-expanding ImageMuseum (thanks!):

http://imagemuseum.smugmug.com/



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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Advertisements: Insurance Agent Ink Blotters

In the days of nibs and ink bottles, advertising blotters were as ubiquitous as business cards are today. Used to catch excess ink from the writing tips of quill and fountain pens, paper blotters disappeared from everyday use with the advent of the ball point pen in the mid 20th century. Here are a couple of examples of blotter advertising recently shared with EWM by historian Barbara Shaffer, featuring Westfield insurance agent, S. A. Allen & Son.




S. A. Allen & Son's office was located in Gillett's Block, on the corner of Elm and Arnold Streets. The building, designed by Westfield architect, Augustus Holton, was opened for occupancy in 1899 and today is home to Westfield Gas & Electric, the municipal utility. Along with running his insurance company, S. A. Allen was president of Westfield's First National Bank.




S. A. Allen's son, Charles Turner Allen, met an unfortunate fate on the night of June 11, 1903, when he fell three stories to his death in the hose tower of Westfield's Arnold Street fire station. An inquest conducted by Judge Willis S. Kellogg the following month concluded that young Charles died as a result of his own carelessness, raising himself 34 feet above the concrete floor by a life-belt attached to an old rope used for lifting fire hose for drying and storage, despite being warned not to go so high. Even the insurers need insurance.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care. (And thank you, Barbara, for sharing these interesting pieces of ephemera!)



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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Notable Residents of Western Massachusetts

Some folks may be famous in their own circles, others internationally, but one thing is for sure, Western Massachusetts has contributed its share of personality, genius and talent to the planet, and continues to do so today, to the benefit of all. Here are some of the people who have called Western Massachusetts home...


~A~


Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr. - (15 Sept 1914 - 4 Sept 1974) - U.S. Army General; Army Chief of Staff - Namesake of the M1 Abrams Tank - Born in Springfield, raised in Feeding Hills - Buried in Arlington National Cemetery


Susan Brownell Anthony - (15 Feb 1820 - 13 March 1906) - Temperance Activist; Abolitionist; Suffragette - Born in Adams


Johnny April - (27 Mar 1969 - ) - Musician; Drummer, Staind - Resided in Springfield


~B~


Elizabeth Banks, born Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell - (10 Feb 1974 - ) - Actress - Pittsfield native


Louis Knox Barlow - (17 Jul 1966 - ) - Musician; Songwriter; Guitarist; Singer, Dinosaur Jr., etc. - Lived in Westfield


Everett Hosmer Barney - (7 Dec 1835 - 31 May 1916) - Inventor of clamp-on ice skates; Philanthropist - Springfield resident from 1864 - Interred in Barney Mausoleum, Forest Park, Springfield


Leonard Baskin - (1922 - 3 Jun 2000) - Artist; Sculptor; Illustrator; Printmaker - Resided in Northampton


Jesse Barrett-Mills - (2 May 1984 - ) - Award-winning Filmmaker - Raised in Amherst


Mark Henry Belanger - (8 Jun 1944 - 6 Oct 1998) - Major League Baseball Shortstop - Born and buried in Pittsfield


Edward Bellamy - (26 Mar 1850 - 22 May 1898) - Author, Looking Backward 2000-1887 - Born and died in Chicopee Falls


Travis Eric Best - (12 Jul 1972 - ) - NBA Basketball Player - Born and raised in Springfield


Samuel Bowles - (9 Feb 1826 - 16 Jan 1878) - Editor of the Daily Republican Newspaper - Springfield native and resident


Milton Bradley (8 Nov 1836 - 30 May 1911) - Lithographer; Inventor; Game Manufacturer - Springfield Resident from 1856


John Brown - (9 May 1800 - 2 Dec 1859) - Merchant; Abolitionist - Springfield resident, 1846-49


Rachel Fuller Brown - (23 Nov 1898 - 14 Jan 1980) - Biochemist; Co-developer of anti-fungal antibiotic Nystatin - Born in Springfield


William Cullen Bryant - (3 Nov 1794 - 12 Jun 1878) - Poet; Editor, New York Evening Post - Born and lived in Cummington


Nick Buoniconti - (15 Dec 1940 - ) - Football Player; Member of NFL Hall of Fame - Born in Springfield


Thornton Waldo Burgess - (14 Jan 1874 - 5 Jun 1965) - Conservationist; Author, Old Mother West Wind, etc. - Lived in Springfield and Hampden


Augusten Burroughs, born Christopher Robison - (23 Oct 1965 - ) - Bestselling Author, Running With Scissors, etc. - Raised in Northampton, Amherst resident


~C~


Christopher Frank Capuano - (19 Aug 1978 - ) - Major League Baseball Player - Born and raised in West Springfield


Eric Carle - (25 Jun 1929 - ) - Children's Book Author and Illustrator, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc. - Resided in Northampton 20+ years


Catherine Grace (Cady) Coleman - (14 Dec 1960 - ) - USAF Colonel; NASA Astronaut - Resident of Shelburne Falls


Chris Collingwood - (1968 - ) - Songwriter; Producer; Musician, Fountains of Wayne - Resident of Northampton


John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. - (4 Jul 1872 - Jan 1933) - Northampton Politician; 30th U. S. President - Amherst, Northampton resident


William Henry Cosby, Jr. - (12 Jul 1937 - ) - Award-winning Entertainer; Social Activist - Resident of Shelburne Falls


Zenas Crane - (9 May 1777 - 29 Jun 1845) - Currency, Certificate and Bond Papermaker; Co-founder of Old Berkshire Mill, now Crane & Co. - Resided in Dalton


Frances Crowe - (1919 - ) - Peace Activist, Pacifist - Lives in Northampton

~D~


Timothy Patrick Daggett - (22 May 1962 - ) - Gymnast; Olympic Medalist; Sports Broadcaster - Born in Springfield, raised in West Springfield


Michael D'Antonio - Songwriter; Designer; Musician, Killswitch Engage - Westfield


William Danoff - (7 May 1946 - ) - Singer, Starland Vocal Band; Songwriter, Co-wrote Take Me Home Country Roads - Born and raised in Springfield


Cecil Blount DeMille - (12 Aug 1881 - 21 Jan 1959) - Filmmaker; Academy-Award Winning Producer; Director - Born in Ashfield


Emily Elizabeth Dickinson - (10 Dec 1830 - 15 May 1886) - Reclusive Posthumously Published Poet - Born, lived and died in Amherst


William Edward Burghardt Du Bois - (23 Feb 1868 - 27 Aug 1963) - Scholar; Author; Civil-rights Activist - Born and raised in Great Barrington


Charles Edgar Duryea - (15 Dec 1861 - 28 Sept 1938) - Co-producer of first gasoline-powered automobile; Co-founder of the Duryea Motor Wagon Co. - Springfield


James Frank Duryea - (8 Oct 1869 - 15 Feb 1967) - Co-producer of first gasoline powered automobile; Co-founder of the Duryea Motor Wagon Co. - Springfield


Adam Jonathan Dutkiewicz - (4 Apr 1977 - ) - Musician, Killswitch Engage - Raised in Westhampton


~E~


Kevin Brooks Eastman - (30 May 1962 - ) - Artist; Co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -Resided in Northampton


Jonathan Edwards - (5 Oct 1703 - 22 Mar 1785) - Fervent Preacher; Theologian - Lived in Northampton


Joseph Buell Ely - (22 Feb 1881 - 13 Jun 1956) - Lawyer; Politician; 52nd Governor of Massachusetts - Born and lived in Westfield


~F~


Damien Richard Fahey - (1 Jun 1980 - ) - MTV VJ; Entertainer - Raised in Chicopee and Longmeadow


Marshall Field - (18 Aug 1834 - 16 Jan 1906) - Department Store Founder, Marshall Field & Co.; Philanthropist - Born in Conway, lived in Pittsfield


Estelle Condit (Suzy) Frelinghuysen - (1911 - 19 Mar 1988) - Abstract Artist; Opera Singer, Philanthropist - Married to George L. K. Morris - Resided in Lenox


Daniel Chester French - (20 Apr 1850 - 7 Oct 1931) - Sculptor, Lincoln in Lincoln Memorial, etc. - Summered in Stockbridge


Robert Lee Frost - (26 Mar 1874 - 29 Jan 1963) - Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet; English Teacher at Amherst - Lived in Amherst


~G~


John Cantius Garand - (1 Jan 1888 - 16 Feb 1974) - Firearms Designer, M1 Garand - Resided and died in Springfield


Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss - (2 Mar 1904 - 24 Sept 1991) - Author; Illustrator, Green Eggs and Ham, etc. - Born and raised in Springfield


Kim Althea Gordon - (28 Apr 1953 - ) - Musician; Singer-Songwriter, Sonic Youth; Designer; Producer - Northampton resident


Sylvester Graham, Rev. - (5 Jul 1794 - 11 Sept 1851) - Creator of the Graham Cracker; Dietary Reformist; Minister - Resided in Northampton


William Robert Guerin - (9 Nov 1970 - ) - Hockey Player; NHL's First Latino - Born and raised in Wilbraham


Arlo Davy Guthrie - (10 Jul 1947 - ) - Musician; Folk Singer; Song Writer - Resident of Washington


~H~


Chester Harding - (1 Sept 1792 - 1 Apr 1866) - Portrait Artist - Born in Conway, resided 36 years in Springfield.


Nathaniel Hawthorne, born Nathaniel Hathorne - (4 Jul 1804 - 19 May 1864) - Author, The House of the Seven Gables, etc. - Resided in Lenox


Francis Xavier Healy - (6 Sept 1946 - ) - Major League Baseball Catcher; Sports Broadcaster - Born in Holyoke


Edward Hitchcock - (24 May 1793 - 27 Feb 1864) - Geologist; Pastor; Professor; President, Amherst College; Author - Resided in Deerfield and Amherst


Joseph Hooker - (13 Nov 1814 - 31 Oct 1879) - Major General in Union Army, Defeated by Lee in Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville, VA, 1863 - Native of Hadley


~I~


~J~


Helen Maria Hunt Jackson - (18 Oct 1830 - 12 Aug 1885) - Author, Ramona, etc.; Indian Rights Activist - Born in Amherst


Penn Fraser Jillette - (5 Mar 1955 - ) - Illusionist; Magician; Entertainer - Born and raised in Greenfield


~K~


John Tracy Kidder - (12 Nov 1945 - ) - Pulitzer Prize-winning Author - Resident of Northampton


~L~


Peter Alan Laird - (27 Jan 1954 - ) - Artist; Co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Native of North Adams


Timothy Francis Leary, Dr. - (22 Oct 1920 - 31 May 1996) - Author; Psychologist; 1960s Counter-Culture Figure - Born and raised in Springfield


Aaron Lewis - (13 Apr 1972 - ) - Musician; Songwriter; Guitarist, Staind - Raised in Longmeadow


Rebecca Rose Lobo-Rushin - (6 Oct 1973 - ) - Basketball Player, WNBA; Sports Broadcaster - Raised in Southwick


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - (27 Feb 1807 - 24 Mar 1882) - Professor; Poet, Paul Revere's Ride, etc. - Resided in Pittsfield


~M~


Archibald MacLeish - (7 May 1892 – 20 April 1982) - Poet, Writer, JFK Speechwriter, Librarian of Congress - Resided in Conway


Anne Mansfield (Annie) Sullivan Macy, born Johanna Sullivan - (14 Apr 1866 - 20 Oct 1936) - Teacher; Sign Language Pioneer; Governess, Helen Keller - Born in Feeding Hills


Rachel Anne Maddow - (1 Apr 1973 - ) - Media Figure; Broadcaster; Political Commentator - Resident of Western Massachusetts


Taj Mahal, born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks - (17 May 1942 - ) - Grammy Award-winning Blues Musician - Raised in Springfield


Joseph Donald (J) Mascis - (10 Dec 1965 - ) - Musician; Songwriter; Guitarist, Singer, Dinosaur Jr., etc. - Born and lives in Amherst


Herman Melville - (1 Aug 1819 - 28 Sept 1891) - Author, Moby-Dick, etc. - Lived in Pittsfield


Charles Merriam - (31 Nov 1806 - 9 Jul 1887) - Co-founder G. & C. Merriam Co., Publisher, Webster's Dictionary; Philanthropist - Resided and died in Springfield


George S. Merriam - (20 Jan 1803 - 22 Jun 1880) - Co-founder G. & C. Merriam Co., Publisher, Webster's Dictionary; Editor; Author, Life and Times of Samuel Bowles, etc. - Resided and died in Springfield


Dwight Lyman Moody - (5 Feb 1837 - 22 Dec 1899) - Evangelist; Publisher; Founder of Northfield and Mount Herman Schools - Born in Northfield, where he died


Thurston Joseph Moore - (25 Jul 1958 - ) - Musician; Singer-songwriter, Sonic Youth; Producer - Resident of Northampton


Justin Morgan - (28 Feb 1747 - 22 Mar 1798) - Composer; Horse Breeder, Morgan Horse - Born and lived in West Springfield


William G. Morgan - (1870 - 1942) - Inventor of Volleyball; Physical Education Instructor - Resided in Northfield, Springfield and Holyoke


George L. K. Morris - (1905 - 1975) - Abstract Artist; Philanthropist - Married to Estelle Condit (Suzy) Frelinghuysen - Resided in Lenox


Kathryn Bridget Moynahan - (28 Apr 1971 - ) - Model; Actress - Resident of Longmeadow


Emmett Jefferson (Patrick, Murph) Murphy III - (21 Dec 1964 - ) Musician; Drummer, Dinosaur Jr., etc. - Born in Amherst


Mike Mushok - (10 Apr 1969 - ) - Musician; Guitarist, Staind - Raised in Ludlow, lived in Springfield


~N~


James Naismith - (6 Nov 1861 - 28 Nov 1939) - Inventor of Basketball; Physical Education Instructor; Coach - Resided in Springfield


~O~


~P~


Linda M. Perry - (15 Apr 1965 - ) - Musician; Producer; Singer, 4 Non Blondes - Born in Springfield


Matthew Langford Perry - (19 Aug 1969 - ) - Actor, Friends, etc. - Born in Williamstown


Louis Brian Piccolo - (31 Oct 1943 - 16 Jun 1970) - NFL Football Player; Cancer Fight Immortalized in Movie, Brian's Song - Born and lived in Pittsfield


Sylvia Plath - (27 Oct 1932 - 11 Feb 1963) - Poet; Writer; Teacher, Smith College - Lived in Northampton


Eleanor Torrey Powell - (21 Nov 1912 - 11 Feb 1982) - Actress, Dancer - Born in Springfield


Victoria Principal - (3 Jan 1950 - )  - Actress - Resided in Chicopee


William Pynchon - (11 Oct 1590 - 29 Oct 1662) - Massachusetts Settler; Co-founder of Springfield; Theologian - Resided in Springfield


~Q~


~R~


Jeffrey James Reardon - (1 Oct 1955 - ) - Major League Baseball Relief Pitcher - Born in Dalton


Norman Percevel Rockwell - (3 Feb 1894 - 8 Nov 1978) - Artist; Illustrator; Recipient, Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1977 - Lived and died in Stockbridge


Kurt Vogel Russell - (17 Mar 1951 - ) - Actor, Silkwood, etc.; Baseball Player - Born in Springfield


~S~


Edmund Hamilton Sears - (6 Apr 1810 - 14 Jan 1876) - Minister; Author, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, etc. - Born and raised in Sandisfield


Suzanne Strempek Shea - Award-Winning Author, Selling the Lite of Heaven, etc. - Born in Western Massachusetts, resident of Bondsville


Edward William (Eddie) Shore - (25 Nov 1902 - 16 Mar 1985) - NHL Hockey Player; Player, Owner, AHL's Springfield Indians - Resided and died in Springfield


Josiah James Linsly (Josh) Simpson, Jr. - (1949 - ) - Glass Artist - Resident of Shelburne Falls


Horace Smith - (28 Oct 1808 - 15 Jan 1893) - Inventor; Gun Manufacturer; Co-founder Smith & Wesson, Co.; Philanthropist - Born in Cheshire, resided in Springfield - Buried in Springfield Cemetery


William Stanley, Jr. - (28 Nov 1858 - 14 May 1916) - Physicist; Electrician; Inventor, Thermos Bottle, etc. - Resided in Great Barrington


Charles Pomeroy Stone - (30 Sept 1824 - 24 Jan 1887) - U. S. Army Officer; Surveyor; Engineer, Statue of Liberty Foundation and Pedestal, etc. - Born in Greenfield


Joel Michael Stroetzel - (24 Jul 1980 - ) - Musician, Killswitch Engage - Raised in Westfield


Jimmy Sturr - Grammy Award-winning Polka Musician - Born in Springfield


Jane Maria Swift - (24 Feb 1965 - ) - Politician; First Female Governor of Massachusetts - Born in North Adams, resident of Williamstown


~T~


James Vernon Taylor - (12 Mar 1948 - ) - Grammy Award-winning Musician, Member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Resident of Washington


Uma Karuna Thurman - (29 Apr 1970 - ) - Actress, Pulp Fiction, etc. - Resided in Amherst and Northfield


Sojourner Truth, born as Isabella Baumfree - (1797 - 26 Nov 1883) - Abolitionist; Women's Rights Activist - Resided in Florence


~U~


~V~


Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. - (11 Nov 1922 - 11 Apr 2007) - Author, Slaughterhouse-Five, etc. - Lived briefly in Northampton


~W~


Francis Emroy Warren - (1844 - 1929) - First Governor of Wyoming - Born in Hinsdale


Daniel Baird Wesson - (18 May 1825 - 4 Aug 1906) - Inventor; Gun Manufacturer; Co-founder Smith & Wesson, Co.; Philanthropist - Resided in Springfield - Buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Springfield


Edith Wharton, born as Edith Newbold Jones - (24 Jan 1862 - 11 Aug 1937) - Designer; Pulitzer Prize-winning Author - Resided in Lenox


Stephanie Diana Wilson - (27 Sept 1966 - ) - Engineer; NASA Astronaut - Lived in Pittsfield


Mark Edward Wohlers - (23 Jan 1970 - ) - Major League Baseball pitcher - Native of Holyoke


Jon Wysocki - (17 Jan 1971 - ) - Musician; Drummer, Staind - Born in Northampton, raised in Westfield, lived in Springfield


~X~


~Y~


Jane Hyatt Yolen - (11 Feb 1939 - ) - Award-winning Author; Editor - Resident of Hatfield


~Z~


As I worked on this list, I began to realize that I could keep adding to it indefinitely...there are so many interesting and able souls that hail from Western Massachusetts. I'll keep working on it as time passes, so check back for updates every once in awhile. If you have a suggestion of someone I should add (and I'm certain there are many) or a correction/modification I should make, please leave a comment below. Thanks! ~Mark (Updated October 4, 2010)



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