Charles F. (Charles Forbes) Warner.

Picturesque Berkshire, Pt. 1, north. Pt. 2, South online

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Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Forbes) WarnerPicturesque Berkshire, Pt. 1, north. Pt. 2, South → online text (page 7 of 30)
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through this priestess of the imagina-





UAYliTAGK UUMLMiiM'



TV-ILLIAMSTOWK FROM AK OLD PEIKT



five, the whole land had experienced
an anointing from the chrism of the
immortals, and to-day among all the
flood of books, no purer, fresher %
pictures of life and human nature can
be found than in her numerous novels,
and when she was fifty she wrote
a series of "Letters from Europe,"
which surpass in charm any of the
recent hurried, alleged descriptions,
contained in the rapid tours, which
consist mainly of arrivals and de-
partures at railway stations. She
may be called a woman who had
dared, and she held that the posses-
sion of a talent was sufficient warrant
for its use, and she is always seeing
new opportunities for women, and
perceiving ways in which their
status and condition can be amelio-
rated. Many of the accomplished
facts in their activities now, were



HASK HOPKINS




TACOWIC llfM





THF, ilAitii HOPKINS HOi'SE



cm P81 ][«usi



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




CONGREGATIONAL CHUECH



her dreams half a century ago. She is a bright star in the Berkshire galaxy, and
apropos of women and their doings, it is not amiss to mention that Miss Susan B.
Anthony is a native of Adams in Berkshire.

Up to 1864 there stood in the center of Pittsfield park a tree known far and wide as
" The Old Elm " — an original forest — tree that sent out no branch till it was ninety feet
high, and above that bore a rounded crown of greenery that carried its height up to 128







WATER STREET




/ -|"*'



ir



|{ (HI?




CLARK HALL




TWO OF THE THOMPSON' LABORATORIES



feet. Its loftiness and symmetry had so appealed to the men of the time,
that it had been spared in the general denudation of the land, and it had re-
mained a conspicuous object and a celebrated landmark up to 1790, when a
new meeting-house was to be built, and the same sort of vandal was living
then as now, who, to raise or depress a sidewalk a foot, will sacrifice one of
God's beautiful green trees that it has taken three centuries to produce. It
was proposed to cut down this tree, so that the front of the meeting-house
could occupy its place. Madame Lucretia Williams threw herself between
the axeman and the tree to save it, and defied him to go on although the axe
had already struck three blows. She was the wife of the principal magistrate
of the town, and the axeman was awed into desisting, till a further consulta-
tion could be held. The reprieve was improved by her husband to good





■x'a



HOMES EAST OF THE HILL



LOOKING TOWARD THE TOWN FROJI WATER STREET



58



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




'iiiiiiiiiiiiii! iiiiiifiiii^





:MILL HU5IES




NEAR THE STATION



purpose, for he made a proposition to give as much land from his acres south
of the tree for a public park, as the authorities would give by setting their
church back to the north. Successive strokes of lightning finally destroyed
the tree, but not till its foreseen destruction had been discounted by planting
a circle of elms about it, and so to a plucky woman is Pittsfield indebted for
its pretty green centerpiece.

We have recalled the old elm, because it was the rallying place for all
festive and important out-of-door occasions, and beneath its spreading branches
in i8io was held the first cattle show and agricultural fair, which was a







..J



> WINTERlLANDSCAPE



true farmer's holiday, recognizing that men must be entertained and amused at
times, as well as to have opportunities to claim well-won prizes. This became the
model and pattern for similar fairs throughout the land, and affords a striking example
of the thriving of a, cause that is championed by one of those enthusiasts reproachfully
called one-idea men, and hobby-riders. The belief that great good might be effected
by improving the breeds of domestic animals, had taken possession of Mr. Elkanah





A\ HOUSE Con the otjtskikts





ENTUANUEVro FLOKA'b GLEN



A EARM IN THE VALLEY



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE





..■ y-T.








59



LOOKING TOWAKD THE MOUNTAIN




A HAIM- DAY INDOOKK



Watson, an accomplished
and traveled man, of great
versatility and fertility of
mind, and for ten years it
so dominated him that he
says he "neglected his
private affairs," but during
that time, taught by the
errors and blunders of other
regions, he evolved the
cattle show and agricul-
tural fair into a stated festi-
val, which was copied in all
the length and breadth of
the land.

As the population of
Berkshire increased, great-
er efforts were constantly
making to improve the
means of communication
with the outside world, for
their isolation was the
everlasting fly in the oint-
ment of the Berkshire peo-
ple ; but the hills could not
be abolished, they must be




A W001>LAND 8TKEAJ1




of enginei ring as to be visited
and studied by foreign rail-
road builders. Overcoming
the first steep grade of eighty-
five feet to the mile, had
demonstrated that "impossi-,



ble" was barred out of the railroad dictionary,
and that no matter how formidaljle the moun-
tain, its conquest resolved itself into engineering
skill and an adequate amount of fuel. Compared
with the ascent of Pike's Peak and the White




IK IIOUSE-CLEASIXG TIME



\/ .



BERLIN PASS AND DODD S CONE, FROM BEE HILL



surmounted, and there are some people living to-day who can recall the boundless jubila-
tions when, on the 27th of December, 1841, the first railway train passed across the
county to Albany, coming through the " deep cut " at Washington, then such a marvel




A lUNTING tXlM-l;ITI<..N



6o



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




ST. PATRICK'S CATHOLIC CHURCH

mouiiiains, tliis seems very insignificant, but remember it was the first
heavy grade conquered — As Tennyson says,

" All can raise the flowers now
For all have got the seed."

Berkshire was now fully " joined on " to the new time and the modern
era, but she still had another mighty first thing to create, in a marvel
of man's power — in the boring of the Hoosac Tunnel, a glorious
achievement, whether viewed from the standpoint of a triumph over
natural obstacles, or that of the faith and indomitable perseverance
of the men who finally saw their dream realized.




OLD PLACE ON THE HOPPER ROAD TO SOUTH WILLIAMSTOWN




a route for a canal from Bt^ton to some
point in New York, and their report had been
made in 1826. The engineer — Col. Loammi
Baldwin, one of the most famous men of
his day — finally fixed upon the exact route
afterwards occupied by the Hoosac Tunnel,
and proposed, to make a canal-tunnel as the
least formidable solution of the problem. He
made careful' and detailed estimates of the



THE HIGH SCHOOL



The completion of the Albany and Schenectady railroad in
September, 1 83 1 , with great pomp and ceremony, am id unbound ed
commercial rejoicings and the assured success of the Erie canal,
sent an envious, bitter pang to the souls of Massachusetts states-
men, because, as Charles Francis Adams says, "These ad-
vances in New York had given anew and portentous significance
to the Berkshire hills, causing them to throw a dark shadow
over the future of Massachusetts. They seemed stationed on
the western border of the state, an inseparable barrier, against
which the eastward tide of commerce struck, and then with a
deflected course flowed quietly in the direction of New York.
Either in some way that barrier must be overcome or the material
prosperity of the state would be seriously threatened."

Previous to this, a commission had been appointed to survey







GOODRICH BALL



this by at least ten years, and had the benefit of the knowledge
and experience gained in its construction, to help in pushing
forward their own work. The experimental work on this was
begun in 185 1, but not till twenty-four years after did the first
car pass through it. The difiiculties overcome as new problems
presented themselves would require a volume instead of a sketch,
and the history of its finances alone would make an exciting
chapter. Private capital fought shy of it, and there were long
seasons when all work on it ceased, and all the world remembers
Dr. Holmes' prophecy that when the first car should pass through
it, people might don their ascension robes. When the war came,
paralyzing great public projects, the wiseacres shook their heads,
and said " that's the end of the Hoosac Tunnel," but the Berkshire



'. ,*« • -i* * c




«i:^:



HATE SOME?



cost of tunneling, and showed that the
highest possible cost would be $^.2$ per
cubic yard, and placed the sum total of
expense at ^5930,832, while the actual
cost of the railway tunnel when com-
pleted, with all the aids that the most
accomplished scientists and engineers
could lend, was JS20 per cubic yard, and
at a total cost of more than $10,000,000 ! J
It must not be forgotten that the
longer and more conspicuous Mont Cenis
and St. Gothard tunnels in Europe were
later in conception and execution than




8H001



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE



6i




WINDSOR JAMS — I



men of whom it had taken possession, were
not to be daunted and succeeded in tunnel-
ing into the state treasury, and there was
nothing for it, as the pessimists sadly said,
but to "send good money after bad," and
the state finally completed the work and on
February 9, 1875, the first train of cars passed

^through its four and one-half miles, bear-
ing some gray-headed men, the dream of
whose middle life had at last material-
ized. When begun, hand-drilling was used,
and gunpowder was the only explosive
known. The successive discovery of dyna-
mite, and the power of compressed air, and
the invention of the diamond drill facilitated

gthe last half of the work immensely, and
now as the traveler makes his comfortable
trip through it, 1,028 feet under the moun-
tain at its deepest point, he emerges into a
very different world from that addressed by
the writer in the Boston Courier, at the time
the canal-tunnel was projected, who, having
made a careful calculation, isaid it would

"take fifty-two years and nineteen days to
complete it, for, as C. F. Adams says, "it
seems scarcely possible that any human life
can have spanned the well-nigh incredible
gap that separates the America of 1878 from
that of 1830." It was the faith and indomi-
table perseverance of Berkshire men who
carried to completion the first great railway-
tunnel of the world.

Cyrus W. Field — the man who carried to
its triumphant completion, in the face of




WINDSOR JAMS — II




ALLENVILLE



tremendous odds, the first Atlantic cable, was born in Stockbridge. The story of " How
Cyrus laid the cable," is familiar to every schoolboy, but not so obvious is it how he was
appointed to the work by that providence of God which knows when and where to find
its instruments in each generation — and puts a passion of enthusiasm into selected souls,
that can know no rest till that which they have been set to do is accomplished. At
thirty-five years of age Cyrus Field had accumulated a fortune, and achieved a high
position in the business world — there was nothing in his outward life to prevent him from
sitting at ease and at peace, beneath his own vine and fig-tree, to the serene end of a long
life, but the idea that a telegraphic nerve of communication between the continents might
be laid beneath the Atlantic took possession of his spirit, and thenceforth there was for
him no further rest, for the busy thirteen years that intervened between the first meetings
of a handful of capitalists around a table in his library, to study globes and charts, and
hear the answers to letters addressed to Morse, who thought it quite possible to send a
message through thousands of miles of wire, and from the geographer of the bottom of
the ocean — Maury — who said there was a plateau of land highly adapted to being the
resting-place of a cable, between Newfoundland and Ireland, but he cautiously added
that he "did not pretend to consider the possibility of finding a time calm enough, the
sea smooth enough, a wire long enough and a ship big enough, to lay this tremendous
coil across the ocean." Less than Jioo,ooo were at first subscribed by the capitalists for
a work that in the end cost many millions, and the fearful difficulties to be surmounted




A COUNTRY BRIDGE




UlKKFIl TIME



62



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




A WIMKK JtUAifW^l



C •^4i^WL.ito-:-;.vl(*'^^'' - i>.'.:-r^- ta-f*i: _ ■ ■at&!tii.:£;'_k-;-i^ju..^x.



hAowv> — -aAX Ul liULLUW



I



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




were mercifully hidden
from the eyes of its pro-
jector.

The first wood pulp
and the first paper made
from it was made in Lee
about thirty years ago by
Charles H. Plumb, and
its usfe since then has
cheapened the dissemina-
tion of knowledge won-
derfully.

Williams college was
the first one in America
to have an astronomical
observatory as an adjunct
of its instruction, and
from this college was sent
out the first college natural
history expedition. It
went to Nova Scotia, and
the results were gathered
up and published by Prof.
Albert Hopkins, its organizer and inspirer. But not all the glories of Berkshire are
natural and intellectual. She has had her share in those works of philanthropy and piety
that will make the nineteenth illustrious among the centuries.



63

■1



THE OLDEST INHABITANT




SAVOYj'HOLLOW






I HILL^l<KN■^ MNDAY



ANIOLD FARMHOUSE NEAR SAVOl' CENTRE

In Pittsfield in 1874 was founded the first college-hospital in the United
States, which looked for support to current contributions, derived from all
denominations with an impartiality as complete as that of disease itself. It
was called the House of Mercy, and began its work in a rented house. The
entire administration of its affairs has been conducted by women, but so
carefully and successfully, that it has won the confidence of moneyed men
and women, so that now it rejoices in a considerable endowment, and has a
congeries of six buildings, all beautifully adapted to its work. It has been
copied in many parts of the land.




SAVOV CF.NTKE




x.:KEKX MOI NTAIN Ilo^>'^■ — **lJO\VKKll'y



.WOY lIOl.l.OW




PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE



The first attempt to in-
struct, Christianize, and
transform the American
Indian into an intelligent
and conscientious citizen
was made in the year 1734,
in Stockbridge, by Sargeant
and Woodbridge — mis-
sionaries, — acting under
the auspices of the Board
of Commissioners for In-
dian Affairs in Boston, who
held funds contributed in
England for the promotion
of the gospel in foreign
parts. The whole experi-
ment is full of instruction,
showing the measureless
sacrifices our ancestors
were willing to undergo to
save souls, and its final out-
come points to the inevita-




AN OLD ItESIDENT



ble conclusion that on this continent
the Indian is but "provisional," and
destined to fade and disappear. But a
far more potent influence was to flow
from this supreme estimate of the value
of the human soul, and the belief in the
power of efforts to uplift and save it.
In 1807 there were held in the shadow of
the immortalized "Haystack" those
open-air prayer meetings and confer-
ences that resulted in sending the first
foreign missionaries from Williams col-
lege, — but those conferences were also the germ of what afterwards developed
into the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which certainly
has kindled a network of points of light over most parts of the known and




ON THE ROAD TO FLORIDA

accessible world ; so that when we review the glorious origins in Berk-
shire, we say " Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their

words to the end of the world."

H. M. Plunkett.

A WILDERNESS of sweets ; for Nature here

Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will

. Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweets,

Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.

Mi/ton.



THE GRASS-GROWN ROADWAY





A HOME ABOVE SAVOT CENTltE



THK (>I:KVL0<:K llANiil-: I'UnM riA\"(tY CENTKE






SaVOY CEKTUE, lUOM THE WEST



ON THE ROAD NOKTIf OF SAVOY HOLLOW



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE



65



A STORY WITH AN APPLICATION



In Irving's "Salmagundi," "town "is defined as "an accidental assemblage
of a church, a tavern and a blacksmith shop." Such towns occupied many a





THE "NEW STATE" CHURCH



THE ROAD TO THE VALLEY



But if an old man, Berkshire born, would see
how old is the new, and how new is the old, let
him follow my example and foot it across Wind-
sor on a summer day. He must not hurry, but
take time to absorb the scene. He should even



hill-top in Berkshire early in
the present centurj', while the
great lines of travel were still
by stage across these moun-
tain ranges. The " Meet'n-
Haouse " was the general
rallying point and hub of the
township, the tavern was the
traveler's home, and, on rainy
days in summer, the black-
smith shop was board of
trade, club, lyceum, gymna-
sium and morning paper, all
in one. All that is changed.
The ruddy glow of the forge
and the cheerful "come-
pound, go-penny '' that rang
from the blacksmith's anvil
are merely a memory; the
tavern has faded to a tradi-
tion, and the church to a
lonely and emaciated kinder-
garten.

Perhaps " Savoy Holler "
answered to Geoffrey Cray-
on's definition of a town,
down to as late a date as
any other place in Berk-
shire. The " Gixen .Alountain





ON THE KOAD AFTER SUNSET



climb the old church belfry, to widen
his view, when he reaches "the
Hill." If Solomon could have
stepped out of his walls of cedar and
ebony, and have looked on this land-
scape, with its eternal newness of
near-by fields, abloom with clover
and daisies ; with Potter mountain
and his fellow Taconics lying like a
resting caravan between Hancock
and " Lanesberry ; " and blue Grey-
lock to the northwest, sleeping away
" the still lapse of ages," the author
of the song of songs could not have



House," atleast,
(lately destroyed
by fire,) held on
bravely to all the
good old tradi-
tionary ways of
a country tavern.
A few - years
since, after an
absence at the
West of some
thirty years, I
passed through
the silent street
of Savoy, and
saw, leaning

against one of the cool, long-legged columns of the Mountain house veranda,
the well-remembered figure of good, kindly Calvin Bowker, the proprietor. He
seemed to be in a deep brown study, and I remembered that when I passed
through the place thirty years before, he stood in the very same spot, in the same
attitude, and in the same brown study ! My first impulse was to touch him, to
see whether he was a living landlord, or a petrifaction. The mould of quiet
years had gathered on him, but he was alive, and no doubt was living over, in
his day-dreams, the time when the elder Bowker kept the old red hostelry across
the road and a little farther to the west, and the boy Calvin tended bar and knew
just how many fingers of Medford rum or cider brandy each customer required.




SUGARHOUSE




ASKING THE WAY



66



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE



( 4 r •■ .-t -




out, 'n' whilst I was lookin' 'em up, I gut kinder lost in the woods, 'n' wan-
dered 'round 'n' 'round a long spell. Finally I come to what I fust thought
was Kingdom Come, for nobody talked about anything but souls. They told
me it was the place where they furnished souls for such unfortunate people
as missed gettin' one in the uzhle way. They kep' ther stock in a thunderin'
big buildin' with shelves all 'round. The lower shelves, where the big souls
was kep', was several feet wide, 'n' they gut narerer 'n' narerer, till, 'way to the
top, where they put the little contracted souls, they wasn't more 'n two inches
wide. I watched the crowd, comin' and goin', 'n'pricin' souls. Them on the



A COW LANE



felt that he was in a stale
and wearisome world. And
yet, as I walked down a dis-
continued and grass-grown
road toward Cheshire, there
was such an intense melan-
choly and loneliness over it
all, that the rollicking song
of a bobolink seemed like
a comic song among the
tombs.

I missed, most of all, as
I passed the "town," the
blacksmith shop, where a
rustic Socrates in the old
days was wont to scatter
bits of a quaint philosophy,
as sparks flew from the
ringing anvil. Certain art-
ful ones who used to con-
gregate there, h ad a peculiar
way of freeing their minds
in cases of bitter personal
hostility, without actual





A COLD DAY



collision. This way was, for each of two enemies
to invent some cutting fable, vision or revelation
about the other, which he would rehearse to the
rainy-day group around the forge, in the other's
presence and hearing. I will give a single illus-
tration. Two Windsor farmers, X and

Z , who had long been too hostile to speak

to each other, had improved their opportunities
alternately, in the above mentioned way, at
periods of days or months apart. I will give
one of these deliverances which I happened to
hear. It was' in haying time, a quiet rain was
falling steadily, and a considerable company of
men and boys was gathered, as usual, mostly
barefoot and in shirtsleeves. There were forks
to be mended, tubs to be hooped, heel wedges
and bow-pins to be made, and a wrestling match

to be settled. X and Z were both there,

and both knew that the sturdy smith would allow

no blows or loud abuse. X , a big, brawny

fellow, with a reputation for being "close as the
bark of a tree," sat on the end of the water box,
flahbling a little nervously in the blackened
water. It was Z — -'s "turn," and the company
was mildly expectant. The blacksmith, as he
lighted his pipe with a red-hot nail rod, opened

the way by asking Z what made him look

so solemn .■■

" Wal, I'll tell ye," said Z , " I hed the rot

darnedest dream las' night thet ever a feller
dremp. I dremp that some of the yerlins gut




MitlM. TH I. Rlnl MAIN




TUE SLOPES IN MIUSliMMER



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE



67




u-i;ii, r>iMi)>




PASTURES AND FORESTS



wide shelves come awful high, but the folks that gut 'etn walked out like kings 'n'
queens, with faces shinin', heads up, 'n' hands open. Them that gut the little ones
sneaked out as if they'd stole somethin'. Bime by, who should I see comin' in but

X . You can all guess what he called for, 'n' you'd guess right, too. He wanted the

biggest soul in the store, 'n' wanted it quick. But when he found he couldn't beat 'em



down on the price, he kep' on tryin' cheaper 'n' cheaper ones, till he gut to
the very top shelf. Them, the clerk told him, was fo'pence (6X cents) apiece.

'An' is them the cheapest you've gut?' says X . Then the clerk ast the

boss if they was any souls made for less than fo'pence. ' No,' says the boss,

' but ther's a few two-cent gizzards up stairs, if anybody wants.' X

said he'd look at 'em. So the clerk brought one down, 'n' it turned out to be

jest a fit. Soon's X gut it into him, he gut right down on his belly 'n'

crawled out o' the store ; 'n' the clerk slammed the door after him so hard
that it waked me up, 'n' behold, it was all a dream ! 'N' now I'm lookin' for
some Joseph to interpret the 'tarnal thing ! " But this was a story with too
plain an application, and of course X had his inning on the next rainy day.

E. R. B.




A HILLSIDE







,' «




A LOOK BACK AT FLORIDA



A UILLIOF BARNYAKD



68



PICTURESQUE BERKSHIRE




LOOKING INTO THE VALLEY FBOIC THE OLD STAGE BOAD




the greatest thinkers, writers and preachers in the denomination,
Rev. Washington Gladden and Rev. Theodore T. Mungcr.

Several other churches are close by. Of these I would mention
the very handsome granite structure of the Episcopal, and the
charming modern architecture and fine color of the brown brick
Universalist church. The building last mentioned was still incom-
plete when I was last in the town. Just across the street a parish
house was being erected by one of the church societies, and this
afternoon they were dedicating it. Nothing but the ground floor
was laid. Near the front stood a lonesome piano and at the back
a large tent where, through the door, I could see a booth of figures.
Near the street was a little group of people and one man among
them was urging the others to come in to refreshments. I stopped
to ask a question and was immediately invited to become one of
the company. I confessed to being a stranger in town, but the
man said that made no difference. He seemed to be making literal
application of that portion of Scripture which commanded to



Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Forbes) WarnerPicturesque Berkshire, Pt. 1, north. Pt. 2, South → online text (page 7 of 30)