March 24, 2011

O' where, O' where could my little Knox be?

Otis, the forgotten marker. It seems odd to me that this particular marker should be regularly overlooked. It is conspicuously placed on a small grassy knoll carved out of the woods on the north side of Route 23, about 3 miles east of Otis center. In both directions there are signs announcing "Historical Marker Ahead." Yet, on the two best websites for Knox Trail locations it has been either misidentified or overlooked. The New York State Museum site, from a year 2000 "history Month" project, has the marker correctly identified on the map, yet the description is half Otis-half Blanford and the photo is all Blanford. The other site is The Historical Marker Database. On this site Otis is missing completely.

On my first trip to Otis to take photos of the marker I, myself, drove by it. When I turned around I noticed the "Historical Marker" sign. On that occasion, as I was preparing to trudge through the 360 feet of snow we had on the ground, I was approached by Titus Logsdon, who's business is nearby. Mr. Logsdon had mistaken me for a geocacher. It seems the he had hidden a cache near the monument. My knowledge of geocaching is that someone hides a cache, usually a container of items of little or no monetary value, and posts the GPS coordinates online. Others then use the coordinates to locate the cache, collecting one of the "prizes", maybe leaving one of their own and logging the find online. I suppose it's harder to miss the Otis marker if you have the latitude and longitude.

On a more recent excursion I stopped at Katie's, a general store in East Otis. Another lunching spot from the past, Katie's "aisles" are single lane only, as the store is packed with at least one of everything since the nearest supermarket is 20 miles away in Great Barrington. During the summer months the short order window outside is a local favorite. I was briefly excited when I asked the clerk about Henry Knox and she insisted that the woman seated to her left, tallying the day's deposit, was interested in that and "knew all about it." My excitement was short lived. The deposit tallier summarily informed me that she in fact knew nothing about "it". The large gentleman in overalls standing next to her asked again who it what I was asking about; I explained my interest and he nodded no while saying "yup." The Knox Trail Inn, more bar than inn, stands next door and the folks at Katie's wished me luck, if I wanted to know about that place, since ownership had passed to "out-of-towners." Interesting that a place where, in my memory, non-locals could walk in at dinner and get the "hairy-eyeball" from patrons who'd been seated since lunch would be owned by one of "them." But, I digress.

On my way out I grabbed a copy of the latest newsletter of the local snowmobiling club. The Knox Trail Sno-Riders publishes four installments of it's newsletter, appropriately titled "The Knox News", during the winter season. 

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