Saturday, May 25, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bernard A. Drew

Bernard A. Drew, his wife, Donna, and daughters have lived in Great Barrington since 1977. He is a newspaper editor and columnist and the author of local Berkshire histories including books about Great Barrington, Monument Mountain, Lake Buel, Beartown, the Knox Trail and, nearing completion, 18th and 19th century waterpowered industry on the Housatonic River. He likes to explore the woods and find the unexpected in plain sight.

written articles

BERNARD DREW: Beartown men bled in Kansas in 1856

The Phillips brothers left their home in what is now Beartown State Forest, and moved to Kansas, where they were caught up in that territory’s fierce battle over whether it would become a free or a slave state.

BERNARD DREW: Site of new affordable housing had some interesting owners

The future site of Windrush Commons has previously been owned by an inventor, a newspaper publisher, a farmer, and the owner of a prize-winning race horse — and that's just one man.

The colorful history of the Great Scarlet Bridge

New abutment stone was quarried locally. The builder began to put truss members in place that September, competing installation in October. Teams immediately began to cross it. The total cost came to $10,286.23. That’s $188,620.48 in today’s spending. It appeared to be a job well done. Then the wobbles began.

A 19th-century cold case in West Stockbridge

The message, it seems, is when we die, some will mourn us, many will not; it’s better to somehow leave our name and good works behind.

Part II: The perilous lives of Great Barrington’s 49th Regiment volunteers — Frederick Deland and the bungling bank robbers

The crooks spied on the bank’s chief teller from the recesses of an isolated ravine northerly of Russell House on Castle Hill Avenue. After weeks of plotting, the out-of-town thugs staged a daring robbery in May 1875.

MEMORIAL DAY: The perilous lives of Great Barrington’s 49th Regiment volunteers

One would think the rigors of a “Forlorn Hope” assault on a Confederate fortification in Port Hudson, La., in 1863 would be enough violence for one Union soldier’s lifetime.

Who isn’t related to William Cullen Bryant?

What a lineage! This is only part of the extended family.

In the wheelhouse of the Russell I

Hilary Russell weaves the tugboat history into a telling of his personal quest to learn more about his family

A conversation with Lonnie Bunch, now head of the Smithsonian Institution

He plans to deal with the issues of slavery and racism head-on, yet in a creative and, for whites, comfortable manner.

The Rubber Bridge must bounce back

That Day came up with such a bold housing plan is remarkable; that he did so in concert with the priest is further amazing, allowing as he did the opportunity for the parish to sell building lots to help fund its church construction.

A tale of two twin town halls: Great Barrington and New Milford

You know, don’t you, that Roger Sherman Hall 48 miles south in New Milford, Connecticut., is identical to Great Barrington's Town Hall? 

Bygone car dealership buildings find new uses

There are still 10 of these purpose-built showrooms in adaptive reuse in Great Barrington. They now house a variety of businesses.

History markers in curious places: A quiz for Berkshire explorers

Why are we honoring a massacre? On the other hand, how many monuments are there to Native American maltreatment? It’s a rare admission of how fiercely we wrestled New England from its indigenous people.

Armchair travel along old toll roads

While few of us will miss the tollbooths on the Mass Pike, it’s fascinating to learn that some two-centuries-old tollhouses are still intact in the greater Berkshires.

Architect Hugh Hardy, who restored the Mahaiwe Theatre, dies at 84 in Manhattan

Architect Hugh Hardy’s Berkshire roots ran deep. When redemption for the Mahaiwe was in the offing, a better architect couldn’t be imagined than Hugh Hardy. As a child, he had attended movies at the Mahaiwe during summers.

‘Fake’ News: ‘Ye Merry Christmas in Ye Olden Time’

… Ye Holidays are just upon ye Towne and ye Boyes, of wh I counte mine owne selfe as I have beene payntinge ye Towne a gorgeous Crymson and have whooped it uppe...
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