Friday, May 24, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Gary Leveille

Gary Leveille is presently buried beneath piles of vintage photographs as the Great Barrington Historical Society's volunteer archivist. He has over 35 years' experience as a writer, editor, humorist, researcher, photographer, author, publisher and newspaper columnist. Gary served as a senior editor and editorial project supervisor for Hasbro Games in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is also the author of several books about the Southern Berkshires.

written articles

THEN & NOW: The former Whistle Stop Coffee Shop and Grill in Ashley Falls

When the Route 7 bypass was built circa 1960, small businesses in Ashley Falls suffered, and the Whistle Stop Coffee Shop and Grill closed.

THEN & NOW: The Berkshire Street Railway trolley car system

The trolley line had snowplows to clear the rails before most towns had highway plow trucks.

THEN & NOW: The Glendale Middle Road Bridge

It took four years to rebuild the span with a new concrete bridge when it collapsed in 1974. Locals complained about the lengthy repair time, but it seems that four to five years for bridge replacement is now commonplace in Massachusetts.

THEN & NOW: The filming location of the 1968 cult classic ‘Pretty Poison’

Released in 1968, "Pretty Poison" was panned by several critics, but praised by others. Now considered a cult classic, the film noir is an intense “smorgasbord” of psychological horror, romance, and dark comedy.

THEN & NOW: The New Harlem Bar & Grill

The buildng was briefly operated as an auction house in the late 1970s before being torn down. Today, the site is an empty lot.

THEN & NOW: Weary Willy’s Haven of Refuge

The boulder served as a campsite for an itinerant tramp who rode the rails. The name “Weary Willy” originated after the Civil War, as a term used to describe poor vagabonds.

THEN & NOW: Betros Market

George Betros Sr. moved to the United States from Lebanon, and in the early 1900s opened a market in the village of Housatonic. Several...

THEN & NOW: Ski Butternut in Great Barrington

Ski Butternut will be celebrating its 60th anniversary with a party on Saturday, January 20 starting at 2 p.m. The free event will include live music, a torchlight parade, and fireworks.

THEN & NOW: The East and Berkshire County Plumbing Supply on Stockbridge Road

The expanded building later housed an antiques flea market, an early version of Berkshire Community College South Campus, and other auto dealerships.

THEN & NOW: The Little Brown Church in Sandisfield

The church was erected in 1879 in the Gothic Revival style. Like many small rural churches, membership eventually dwindled, and closure threatened. But in recent years, a miracle has manifested.

GARY LEVEILLE: Eighth Annual Satirical Holiday House Tour

While roasting their chestnuts on an open fire, and with COVID still nipping at your nose, the Southern Berkshire Hysterical Society’s “Bored of Directors” bravely brings you an all-new online free frolic of some unusual homes and habitations in our area.

THEN & NOW: Great Barrington’s ‘GB’ Park

The well-known “GB” shaped hedge was installed by Ward’s Nursery and Jack Seelig, shown in the photograph above.

THEN & NOW: The Housatonic River Bridge in Stockbridge

This location is probably the oldest major bridge crossing in town, originally a river ford, and then the site of the “Great Bridge” mentioned in early Colonial town records.

THEN & NOW: The old North Egremont schoolhouse

Class was dismissed for the last time in June 1981, when teacher Shirley Peck Montgomery said goodbye to her first graders and the school was closed.

THEN & NOW: Dalzell Axle Works in South Egremont

In 1845 David Dalzell purchased a small wagon-making business and turned it into a world-renowned axle company, selling to such major carriage manufacturers as Studebaker.
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