March 2, 2011

Getting Back to Knox in Great Barrington

Apologies for the delay in posting to anyone following the progress of this project. Although my interest and passion for history and the accomplishments of Henry Knox have not waned, I have been guilty of pushing it down my to-do list much to my personal dismay. But, I’m back and more motivated than ever, so please stay tuned.

A common saying about the weather here and elsewhere is “If you don’t like, wait a minute it’ll change.” So was the case as I made my why to Great Barrington in search of Henry Knox. In less than an hour the weather had gone from flirting with spring to a near white out and settling somewhere in between.

The third marker in the Massachusetts leg of The Knox Trail stand near the sidewalk at the intersection of Route 23 east and Route 7 in Great Barrington. It is at the edge of a small green centered by a gazebo type structure with a stone bench under its cover. This part of Great Barrington is known as Belcher’s Square, so named for Gill Belcher, who in 1772 was arrested for counterfeiting the currency. Belcher’s home stood at the base of what was known as Bung Hill, a steep rocky hill rising a couple hundred feet above Route 7. Today a gas station stands in that approximate location.

Behind the green where the Knox marker stands is Corashire Antiques, which was a welcome refuge from the winter wind. Mr. John Dinan, who owns Corashire, told me that he certainly knew of “the cannons [Knox] brought through here” and added as others have that there seems to be continuing controversy over the exact route. Mr. Dinan told me he occasionally sees people inspecting the marker and in fact “some people where looking at it and taking pictures yesterday.” He added that the gazebo marked a stop on the Berkshire Street Railway that used to run trolley type cars throughout Berkshire County. Mr. Dinan said, “I think this part was known as the Huckleberry Line” and directed me to a photo of the cars in downtown Great Barrington in the current edition of Shoppers Guide. That photo will be part of a program Wednesday, March 17th in Great Barrington presented by the Historical Society celebrating Great Barrington’s 250th anniversary.

I was a little sad to leave the comfort of the antiques shop, with its creaky floors and beautiful old furniture, for the blustery winter scene outside. I thoroughly thank Mr. Dinan for his time, promised to look into the railroad stop as he suggested and took my leave. Bracing against the wind I cranked up the heat in the car and headed east towards Monterey.

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