Category Archives: Local history

Historical posts about the Connecticut Valley, most likely the Pioneer Valley.

Sugarloaf Suicide

Boyhood memories, however vivid they may seem, can be unreliable. Of this sobering fact I was reminded recently regarding a Mount Sugarloaf suicide that occurred during my free and easy days as a South Deerfield youth. I have over the past decade or so tried unsuccessfully many times to chase down that story in newspaper […]

Sturgeon Survive, Native Fishing Camps Fade

Two recent meetings I chose to attend pulled my focus to Connecticut River Basin fisheries and, more specifically, those of our own Pioneer Valley – a topic I have explored in depth over the years, be it with books, scientific reports, fishing rods, shotguns, or paddles in hand. First came the January 17 meeting of […]

G.W. Mark Rests in Secret Peace

Friday morning, raw and rainy, January fading away, and I’m pondering George Washington Mark… again. You may recall that I wrote about this famous Greenfield folk artist in recent weeks after finding his painting of a storied hound that was once the sporting pet of blacksmith and tavernkeeper Henry A. Ewers (1806-1867), a previous owner […]

Mount Toby Visit Stirs Memories

These days, I find myself wandering back and forth between local history and prehistory, and although my current focus leans strongly toward the former, the latter is always within reach. I get a good dose of cutting-edge discovery about ancient human-proboscidean (mastodon and wooly mammoth) interactions from archaeologist friend Mike Gramly, who in recent years […]

George Washington Mark Treasure Surfaces

Greenfield tradesman and folk artist George Washington Mark was well-known about town and in surrounding communities as an eccentric house, sign, furniture, carriage, and sleigh painter, not to mention a flamboyant downtown character, between 1817 and 1879, when he died in his 84th year. Born in 1795 in Charlestown, New Hampshire, Mark was said to […]

Not Devil’s Throne, Please

Ten a.m., Sunday before Thanksgiving, rays of blinding sunlight penetrating naked hardwoods from the source low in a partly cloudy southeastern sky. I’m parked beside a strong metal gate barring the south end of a long-ago discontinued county road born as in Indian trail. There I had reluctantly agreed to meet three members of a […]

Colonial Diary Offers Clues About Scandinavian Cupboard

An impromptu weekend trip to a friend’s Lake George summer home, the fascinating mid-18th-century journal of a scholarly foreign traveler, and an interestingly carved and painted 1789 Scandinavian tabernacle or bonnet-top cupboard that had previously stirred my inquisitive juices. That’s what’s on my plate today, and what I’ll serve in soothing soapstone warmth wafting from […]

Lake George Oozes WMass Links

Midweek, early evening, front-yard burning bushes displaying a light, peaceful autumn crimson that’s brightening by the day. My wife Joey is watching local news in the west parlor when she hears the familiar audible alert for an incoming text. It’s longtime friend Debbie, from Cohasset. Debbie wonders if we’d like to join her for the […]

Labor Day Memory

Wednesday, September 6 wakes to damp, gray light, with lacy ground fog blanketing spongy meadows. Evocative indeed. Almost spooky. Striding at my normal brisk pace up the first half-mile of my daily morning walk around the neighborhood, I find Green River Road still streetlamp-lit as the gap between dawn and dusk continues to narrow, daybreak […]

Timber Rattler on Deerfield Mountain

Measuring a property’s perimeter for a new fence can be hazardous to your health. Potential dangers include but are not limited to stepping in an unseen hole and spraining an ankle, disturbing an underground yellowjacket nest resulting in a pantlegful of angry hornets, and perhaps tripping over an old, rusty, hidden strand of barbed wire […]

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