Category Archives: South Deerfield

Noteworthy happenings in my old hometown.

Dr. Grave-Robber Cooley

Dennis Cooley was likely South Deerfield’s first native-born physician – one who, had he stayed put and practiced locally, may have never lived down a dark, macabre stain on his reputation. Like so many others of his time, he started over on what was then the Wild West of the Great Lakes or Northwest Territory, […]

The Rattler Strikes Back

One never knows what interesting little tidbits of local lore will appear in 19th-century newspapers, be they little blurbs of town gossip, full-length news stories, obituaries, articles of interest lifted and “localized” from faraway publications, and even advertisements. To briefly digress, I can’t help but recall aspiring young reporters who joined the newsroom from fancy […]

Trust Temple On Swamp-Fite Site

In recent years an intense spotlight has focused its beam on the Falls Fight of May 19, 1676 – the bloodiest day in the history of our splendid slice of the Connecticut Valley. Much federal money has been and will continue to be spent trying to pin down exactly what happened before, during, and after […]

Swamp-Fight Revelation

For months now, I’ve been jumping back and forth from old Greenfield newspapers, Registry of Deeds land records and various other sources and field trips in a concerted effort to fine-tune my understanding of the land I traveled as a boy and young man, and which I still explore. I would describe my focus area […]

Stickball Memories

Just curious, do kids still play stickball? Probably not. They say it’s bad for the arm to fire a light tennis ball day after day at a strike zone drawn in chalk on a brick wall. Hmmmm? Maybe so. But playing stickball is what we did whenever we couldn’t round up enough players for a […]

Where Was Bloody Brook’s First Tavern

The question has lingered for nearly a century. That is, where did the first tavern in Bloody Brook, now South Deerfield, stand? Everyone knows the building’s location in 1932, when South Deerfield building contractor William Gass moved it to its current setting behind Old Deerfield’s Indian House. Today, there it stands as Bloody Brook Tavern […]

South Deerfield Memories

Although I’ve been a Greenfield taxpayer for nearly a quarter-century, I will always consider South Deerfield as home. It’s where I learned to read and write, bike and skate, hunt and fish, explore swamps and ridges, pick nightcrawlers, build forts and play ball. It’s also where my kids grew up through elementary school, and where […]

Bill Russell: Winner In A League Of One

Sunday, February 9, 1969, a cold, threatening nor’easter brewing in gray winter skies. I was 15, a Frontier Regional School sophomore, no driver’s license, hoping the storm would not derail a much-anticipated road trip to Boston Garden. The plan was to attend ABC’s 1 p.m., nationally-televised, NBA game-of-the-week matinee between the defending-champion Boston Celtics and […]

Sugarloaf Site Update

Septuagenarian archaeologist Richard Michael Gramly Ph.D. never allows the so-called Sugarloaf Site – a Paleoindian caribou-hunting encampment dating back nearly 12,500 calendar years – to wander far from his fertile imagination. The site, a vast, sandy, outwash plain deposited during the deep time of peri-glacial Lake Hitchcock drainage, sits on the southwestern skirt of Mount […]

Childhood Winters Ain’t What They used To Be

Winters were busy during my South Deerfield childhood, in the days before smartphones, smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox and 24/7 cable television. Frankly, we did just fine, thank you, without the modern devices that today keep kids sedentary indoors. The village itself was much different, too, with much more of a small-town atmosphere, Billy Rotkiewicz’s Frontier […]

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