East Bank: Springfield To Millers Falls
( Originally Published 1919 )
R. 10 § 3. East Bank: Springfield to Millers Falls. 40.0 m.
After passing through the manufacturing towns of Chicopee Falls and South Hadley Falls, this route runs through a broken hill region dominated by the Mt. Holyoke range, in which are the quiet academic towns of South Hadley and Amherst and the beautiful village of Hadley. The route follows State and Town Roads not designated by any marking system.
From Springfield follow State St. and at Federal Square turn left on St. James Ave., an excellent cement road direct to Chicopee Falls. An indifferent alternate route leads to Willimansett and the main route via Brightwood and Chicopee.
4.0 CHICOPEE FALLS. Al( 140 ft (part of Chicopee).
The enormous plant of the Fisk Rubber Company, manufacturers of automobile tires, is the most conspicuous feature. There are twenty buildings with twenty-nine acres of floor space and a capacity of 12,000 tires daily. The Westinghouse Company has taken over the plants of the former Stevens Arms and the Stevens-Duryea Automobile Companies, and has here created a great war plant for the manufacture of rifles.
Edward Bellamy, whose "Looking Backward; 2000–1887" made him famous, was born here in 1850 while his father was the local Baptist minister.
Two miles west, down the Chicopee river, is the busy town of CHICOPEE. Alt 130 ft. Pop 25,401 (1910), 30,138 (1915). Hampden Co. Settled 1638. Indian name, "birch bark place." Mfg. automobile tires, firearms, sporting goods, and cotton. Value of Products (1913), $31,126,000; Payroll, $5,390,000.
Chicopee is a manufacturing town, utilizing the waterpower of the Chicopee river, which falls seventy feet in less than three miles. Two large cotton factories with 200,000 spindles em-ploy 7000 hands and annually produce three million dollars' worth of goods. The only surviving department of the Ames Manufacturing Company manufactures swords, regalia, and also padlocks. The A. G. Spalding & Bros. Company, manufacturers of sporting goods, occupy the old Ames plant.
Iron works were established here at the close of the Revolution, making use of the bog iron ore of the neighborhood. The water-power of the river was first developed about 2820 by paper and cotton mills, and later by the great Ames Manufacturing Company, which during the Civil War manufactured over a thousand cannon as well as other war material. In the bronze foundry of this company, now discontinued, were cast the bronze doors of the Washington Capitol, almost the first work of this kind to be done in America, the bronze doors of the House of Representatives having been cast in Munich. The Concord "Minute Man" was also cast here.
From the Falls an excellent road leads northward through Aldenville to Willimansett (6.8), where there is a bridge to Holyoke and the West Bank, and on to South Hadley Falls (8.8), opposite the city of Holyoke (p 310). The mills close to the river of the Hampshire Paper Company, manufacturing Old Hampshire Bond exclusively, are conspicuous.
Two State Roads continue from the Falls, the righthand leading northeast to Granby and Belchertown, the other, following the trolley for three and a half miles in sight of Mts. Tom and Holyoke, entering the historic elm-shaded street of
12.0 SOUTH HADLEY. Alt 200 ft. Pop (twp) 4894 (1910), 5179 (1915). Hampshire Co. Settled 1720. Mfg. boxes, cotton, paper and wood pulp, brick and tile; tobacco-growing.
In the heart of the village on the right are the grounds and twenty-five buildings of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest college for women in America. In 1835 Mary Lyon decided to remove her seminary from Ipswich to the Connecticut valley. Several towns competed for the honor, which South Hadley won by raising $8000, a large sum for that day. Within the first fifty years Mount Holyoke sent out 178 missionaries. In the `Old White Church,' built in 1844, Mary Lyon's funeral was held. On the right are the new student alumnae hall, marked by towers and an arcade; Skinner recitation hall; the Field Memorial gateway; Mary Lyon Hall, containing chapel and administration offices, on the site of the old seminary building; the library and the Dwight Memorial art building on the site of the old Dwight homestead. Residence halls, science buildings, gymnasium, a central power house, and plant houses further from the street are visible through the trees. The campus of 150 acres includes wide lawns and gardens, a stream and two small lakes, and a forest-covered hill on which there is a woodland theater in which May Day and Commencement plays are given each year. At the center of the campus, in a lovely grove, is Mary Lyon's grave, back of which, on a slope, is a large open-air auditorium.
On the left of the street, opposite Mary Lyon Hall, is the Gaylord Memorial Library, also Pearsons Hall, a college dormitory, and the President's house. A number of the oldest houses in the village are marked by eighteenth century dates above their doors. The oldest (1732), at the north end of the Common, was built as the first meeting house, but was later made into a dwelling house. A portion of the first parsonage (1733) survives as a wing of the Eastman homestead, a fine old house now owned by Joseph A. Skinner, of the Skinner silk mills in Holyoke, as is another most attractive Colonial house known as The Sycamores (1788), now rented to the college, for students. These two and Mr. Skinner's large modern residence occupy a long stretch on the left of Wood-bridge St., a half mile beyond the church. Opposite The Sycamores, and just around the corner on Silver St., is the Lovell house (1742), built for the Rev. John Woodbridge.
Note. From the Common the road to the right with trolley, State Highway most of the way, leads upgrade through `The Notch' between Bear Mountain and Norwottock of the Holyoke range direct to Amherst (9.5).
The road to the left leads to the river. From its second fork, the main route to Hadley leads right, goes through the Pass of Thermopylae between the mountain and the river, skirting the wild trap rock cliff known as `Titan's Pier.' A road diverging from this, good macadam, 20 feet wide and three quarters of a mile long, with a maximum grade of t0 per cent, leads to the summit house on Mt. Holyoke (955 ft). It may also be reached from the half way house by the incline railway, which in its 600 feet of incline rises 365 feet. It has been called "the gem of Massachusetts mountains," and the celebrated view from its summit is probably the richest in New England. This mass of trap rock, which rises 830 feet above the Connecticut, is part of the system of Triassic trap ridges stretching northward from West Rock at New Haven (p 93). The Mt. Holyoke House occupies the site of a hotel built in 1821. The view stretches down the Connecticut past Springfield and Hartford to East and West Rocks at New Haven, a distance of seventy miles. Thirty-five miles away to the east is Mt. Wachusett, and fifty miles to the northeast is Monadnock, with Amherst in the foreground. To the north is Hadley, and beyond, Mt. Toby and Sugarloaf, capped in the distance by the blue peaks of the Green Mountains. Northampton and Mt. Tom with the Berkshires and Greylock on the horizon lie to the west.
The village of Hockanum in Hadley township, at the base of Mt. Holyoke, was the scene of some of the most interesting incidents of J. G. Holland's "Kathrina." Clifton Johnson, who has so successfully combined the writing of many books about New England scenes and people with artistic photography and editing school books, lives here.
20.5 HADLEY. Alt 189 ft. Pop 1999 (1910), 2666 (1915). Hampshire Co. Settled 1659. Indian name Norwottuck. Mfg. brooms; tobacco and onion growing.
Hadley lies in a great bend of the Connecticut opposite Northampton. It is a fine old town, famous for its "Street," 300 feet wide, running north and. south across the peninsula. On its deep alluvial soil the elms grow to their greatest magnificence. Today in this little agricultural town the old New England stock is rapidly dwindling and there has been a great influx of Poles. Formerly Hadley had a prosperous broom industry. Broom-corn cultivation and broom-making were begun here about 1790, and in the middle of the nineteenth century immense fields of broom-corn gave winter employment to its whole male population in the making of brooms. Now but one small factory remains, which obtains its broom-corn from Oklahoma. Tobacco-raising is still important, and with the Polish immigration onion culture has developed.
Hadley is a favorite place of dissipation for the Smith College girls. Here they come on `Bacon Bats' and the Hadley cider mill in season is a favorite place of pilgrimage, so that the natives refer to them as "The tin pail brigade."
West Street, a mile long and a hundred yards wide, with a Green down the center and double rows of fine old elms, has been called "the handsomest street by nature in New England." There are many Colonial houses on this street, and several of the doorways are decorated with `the high-boy scroll.' On the corner of Russell St. close to the present village inn is the site of Parson John Russell's house, where the Regicides were hidstands a portion of Colonel Elisha Porter's house, where Burgoyne spent the night while on the way to Boston after his surrender. Burgoyne was in such good spirits at the hospitality he received that he gave his handsome sword, surrendered and then restored to him at Saratoga, to his host, by whose descendants it is still preserved.
Between the R.R. and the river on the east side of the `Street' is the Eleazer Porter house (1713), the oldest in the town, with an interesting high-boy scroll over the door. A few paces further north is another Porter house, where in 1866 Miss Charlotte Porter established her boarding school for girls, but which for the last thirty-four years has been continued at Springfield. Nearly opposite, and shaded by a magnificent elm, is the site, marked by a tablet, of the house in which `Fighting Joe' Hooker, the famous general in the Mexican and Civil Wars, was born in 1814.
On Middle St. next the town hall, is the Old Meeting House,dating from 1808, a simple masterpiece of Colonial architecture. The weathercock, imported from London for an earlier church, has looked down from its lofty perch upon Hadley since 1753. Julia Taft Bayne, cousin of Ex-president Taft, and wife of a former pastor of the church, has thus voiced the feeling of this old weathercock:
"On Hadley steeple proud I sit,
The old Ben Smith Tavern stands at the corner of Middle St. and Bay Road, the "Olde Bay Path" of Colonial days. This tavern on the post road between Boston and Albany was a very popular hostelry in the eighteenth century.
Major John Pynchon purchased this territory from three Indian sachems, whose names are worthy of preservation,—Chickwallop, Umpanchala; and Quonquont. The price paid, 706 feet of wampum, was the highest rate that had been paid the Indians for their real estate up to that time. The first settlers were "Strict Congregationalists" from Hartford and Wethersfield who migrated because of church difficulties. Some of these recalling their English home of Hadleigh so named the town.
Hopkins Academy, established here in 1664, was perhaps the earliest school founded by private benefaction in New England. Edward Hopkins, a London merchant converted to Puritanism, came to America in 1638 and long resided at Hartford, where he amassed wealth in the West India trade. Dying in London in 1657 he left his fortune "to give some encouragement in their foreign plantations for the breeding up of hopeful youths in a way of learning, both at the grammar school and college, for the public service of the country in future times." One of the trustees of the fund became a resident of Hadley, which resulted in the academy being established here. The school founded at New Haven on the same bequest still continues its moribund existence, and a portion of the funds given to Harvard College still provide the "Deturs."
When in 1664 New Haven became too hot for the Regicides (p 93), a refuge was prepared for them in this remote frontier town. Goffe and Whalley arrived by night and were secreted in the house of Mr. Russell. Except for one appearance and the visits of a few confidential friends, Whalley so lived here for ten years till his death, and Goffe for at least five years longer. The only appearance of the latter as the `Angel of Hadley' was most dramatic. The frontier settlement was protected by a palisade, though subject to frequent Indian attacks. In September, 1675, the inhabitants were keeping a fast, when the Indians, taking advantage of their devotion, fell upon them. In the suddenness of the assault all was confusion. All seemed lost when an unknown man of advanced years, in ancient garb, with flowing white hair, suddenly appeared, and in commanding tones directed the defence. His authoritative words of command instantly restored confidence. With pike and musket the invaders were driven in headlong flight. When order was restored, the `Angel of Hadley' had disappeared. Nor did scarce any man know that it was General Goffe, who from his hiding had seen the Indians approach, that gracious Providence had interposed for their rescue.
Note. Two miles north is North Hadley, near the river, on the road to which one passes the-birthplace and cherished home of Bishop F. D. Huntington (1819-1904), now the property of a grandson.
The State Highway runs from Northampton eastward through Hadley, direct to
24.5 AMHERST. Alt 241 ft, R.R. Sta. Pop 5112 (1910), 5558 (1915). Hampshire Co. Settled 1727. Mfg. boxes, brick, straw hats, mercerized silk; dyeing and finishing textiles.
Amherst is a quiet academic town in the midst of some of the most pleasing scenery of the whole valley. It is beautifully situated on a plateau about 200 feet above the Connecticut, in a setting of wooded mountains. To the north are Mt. Toby and Sugarloaf, to the east the Pelham Hills, to the south the Holyoke range, and to the west the river and the distant Berkshire and Hampshire hills. The name of the town is synonymous with the college to the outer world, but in addition to being an educational center there is some manufacturing. There are two concerns, employing about 500 hands, engaged in the manufacture of the type of straw hat worn extensively in the South and West. The material used is imported, chiefly from China and South America. The region about is one of the finest fruit-growing portions of New England, and there are great orchards, such as those of the Bay Road Fruit Company. Shade-grown tobacco is another important product, and onions, grown by the Polanders on the share system, yield large profits.
The grounds of Amherst College lie on the hill at the south-ern end of the village Common. Walker Hall is the administrative building, north of which are the Fayerweather Laboratory and the Morris Pratt Memorial Dormitory. Barrett Hall, to the east, formerly Barrett Gymnasium (1860), was the first college gymnasium in the country. Johnson Chapel (1827) and the College Church stand on opposite sides of the campus, the Pratt Gymnasium and Natatorium and the Biological and Geological Laboratories on the south border.
The biology museum contains a part of Audubon's celebrated collection of birds. In the geology museum is the Hitchcock Ichnological Collection of some twenty thousand reptilian tracks in stone, and casts of living and extinct species. In Appleton Cabinet is the anthropological collection, rich in Indian relics. The Mather Art Museum occupies the third floor of Williston Hall, directly north of North College.
At the south end of Pleasant St., the main thoroughfare of the town, are the President's house, the Library and College Hall; the latter, once the village church, is now the main assembly hall of the college. North and South College, built in 1828 and 1820, are the oldest buildings. About five minutes' walk from the campus are the Observatory, Pratt Field, and Pratt Skating Rink. The Fraternity Houses, most of which are on or near the campus, are an important part of the college dormitory system, and some of the new ones are fine examples of modern New England Colonial architecture. The Psi Upsilon House, facing the Common at the corner of Northampton Road, is one of the most attractive.
The town centers about the Common, and there are a number of interesting old houses. The Strong house (1744), under its giant buttonwood, is now the headquarters of the Amherst Historical Society, and the interior preserves much of its oldtime appearance. On South Pleasant St. is the old How-land house, better known as the home of Edward Hitchcock, the famous geologist, at one time President of Amherst College. Nearby is the birthplace of Helen Hunt Jackson. On the Old Bay Road in the south part of the town is the Bridge-man Tavern, famous in the days of the stage coaches. Eugene Field and his brother Roswell made this their playground when attending Miss Howland s private school close by. North of the Agricultural College is the old Dickinson estate.
The Massachusetts Agricultural College, incorporated 1363, is about a mile north of the Common. The buildings are on the edge of a sloping meadow with fine views of the mountains to the south and west. Among the buildings are Stone Chapel; Draper Hall, the college commons; the Flint Laboratory, one of the best equipped dairy buildings in the United States; French Hall, devoted to floriculture and market-gardening; Stockbridge Hall, devoted to agriculture; and the modern concrete barns, cattle sheds, etc., of the experimental farm. Under the enterprising direction of President Kenyon L. Butterfield the college is attempting to serve the whole State in the promotion of improved methods of developing the soil and its productions. Frequent demonstrations are given which are attractive to farmers and stock growers.
The town was named in honor of General Jeffrey Amherst (1717—97), English commander of the expedition against Louisburg, and under whom many of the early settlers fought. In 1746 the town voted "to give John Nash forty shillings to sound ye kunk for this year." This was the substitute for a church bell until '1793, when a bell which weighed 932 pounds took its place. In Revolutionary days the town seems to have been evenly divided in sentiment, but on one occasion when Mr. Parsons, the minister, was obliged to read a proclamation, issued by the newly created State of Massachusetts, ending with "God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," he added, "but I say, `God save the King."' Whereupon Nat Dickinson sprang up in his pew and shouted, "And I say you are a damned rascal." Noah Webster lived here from 1812 to 1822, while working on his Dictionary, and Silas Wright, statesman, and Governor of New York, was born here.
The route leads straight through Pleasant St., passing the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and follows the State Highway to North Amherst (27.0).
Note. The left fork leads to the Connecticut and the
West Bank Route through the township and village of Sunderland (5.0). The neighborhood was called by the early settlers "Plumtrees" from the wild plums which then abounded. Here is the old Hubbard Tavern (1763), which still retains much of the quaint aspect of former times. To the north is Mt. Toby (moo ft), a mass of conglomerate rock, on the slopes of which are several cascades and a remark-able cavern 150 feet long. The bridge leads over the river to Deerfield.
The main route takes the right fork, following the course of the R.R. in the valley east of Mt. Toby to
35.5 MONTAGUE. Alt 228 ft. Pop 6866 (1910), 7925 (1915). Franklin Co. Inc. 1754. Mfg. brick and sporting goods. Montague was named for the ccmmander of the "Mermaid" at the taking of Cape Breton. It was called "Montague City" after the construction of the canal of the Upper Locks Company in 1753, when it was hoped that a little city would quickly develop.
At the crossroads turn sharp right over a little bridge and then sharp left beside R.R.
40.0 MILLERS FALLS (R. 15, p 414).