Category Archives: Local history

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

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 […]

Workin’ A Woodshed

An attached woodshed is a grand luxury appreciated by few in these days of pellet stoves and those natural-gas, faux fireplaces that bring ambiance and warmth behind a glass-faced firebox with ornamental, fire-charred, ceramic fire logs “burning” inside. By definition an attached woodshed is a roofed structure joined to a dwelling with interior entry that […]

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 […]

A Fateful Fuller Swamp Hunt

Fuller Swamp isn’t a welcoming type of place that invites you in for coffee by the kitchen fireplace. No, not quite. The call from Fuller is more like a challenge or foreboding taunt. Something like, “Come on in if you dare and give it your best shot.” No promise of success, never an apology to […]

Whately Squire Goes To Happy Hunting Ground

There’s a glaring void in Whately’s North Street/Whately Glen neighborhood. His name is Lyndon “Sonny” Scott, a humble Whately dairy farmer and proud descendant of the town’s founding families. He died at 88 a couple of months ago, removing yet another valuable historical source who knew the land surrounding his expansive farm like no other. […]

Great Beaver Tale Evolves

The ancient, indigenous Great Beaver Tale about the origin of Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Range has changed dramatically since 1890, when East Charlemont antiquarian Phinehas Field’s 105-word, 1871 description was published in Volume 1 of History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (1870-79). Soon after that bare-bones account by a white Christian man of deep Puritan […]

Sugarloaf Beaver Tale All Began In 1871 With Phinehas Field And The PVMA

A venerable, solemn Phinehas Field is displayed in the formal, sketched portrait accompanying his online Find A Grave profile. A man who volunteered for Civil War service after his 60th birthday, Field had, by the time of this formal portrait, served many years as deacon of the Charlemont Congregational Church and lived a distinguished, pious life. Phinehas […]

Mishebeshu In Montague?

An underwater panther in Montague? Well, bear with me. An adventure, indeed. Credit Acton kayaker Al Peirce with the interesting May 20 discovery, made while killing time awaiting takeout following his maiden Deerfield River paddle. Launching from Montague, across from the Deerfield’s dangerous Connecticut River confluence located between the General Pierce and bicycle-path bridges, Peirce had maneuvered […]

Where Was Canterbury of Early Hatfield/Whately?

Canterbury came into existence as a place between places in early Hatfield-Deerfield lore, a perilous no-man’s land where only the brave dared linger, even then on high alert. Thus the confusion about the specifics of this place, named in the early days of Hatfield, that ultimately became the northeast corner of Whately. No one is […]

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