Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yesterday I went to the North Adams' Historical Society Museum and the Hoosac Tunnel Museum, both located in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park in North Adams, MA.

At the Historical Society Museum Marie Rose, a lifetime resident of North Adams, gave me a tour. She volunteers at the Historical Society and Mass MoCA (I also saw her at Bang on a Can). Born in 1938, she has seen the town change over the years. She was an employee of Sprague Electric, formally located in what is now Mass MoCA. The Historical Society was full of objects and images of North Adams history, plus some things like southwest Indian pottery, baskets and dolls, an exhibit on bees, and a rock, insect and small rodent collection. There also was a black-light room dedicated to the disk that Sprague Electric sent the moon. I enjoyed the museum, I enjoyed experiencing it with Marie Rose, but also it made me really sad.

The Hoosac Tunnel Museum helped put in perspective the history of the Hoosac Tunnel and how and why it came to be. The tunnel is a little under 5 miles long and runs through the Hoosac Mountain from Florida, MA to North Adams, MA. There was a video from WGBH made in 1990 that tied everything together nicely. Above is an etching of workers wearing rain slickers while tunneling in the Hoosac Mountain. The mountain is a very wet mountain especially in the western part. When workers would blow up the rocks many times gallons of water would pour out from the rocks, sometimes people would drown. The mountain has 5 different types of rock. The western rocks are softer and moister.

The Western Gateway Heritage State Park is a sweet little park. It is has the Freight Yard Pub, Berkshire Creative Arts (community art center), and a quilt shop. I think it is the smallest state park in Massachusetts, possibly New England.

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