A Tourist’s Guide to Southern Vermont

1. Introduction:

Easily accessible from lower New England, Southern Vermont is a rolling carpet of Green Mountain foothills and valleys that offer a extensive array of seasonal sports, yet maintain all of the state’s characteristics, including picture postcard villages, covered bridges, maple farms, and cheese producers.

2. Orientation:

Brattleboro, gateway to the area, is “home to an eclectic mix of native Vermonters and transplants from all over the country,” according to the “Greater Brattleboro” guide published by the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce. “This cosmopolitan town is southeastern Vermont’s undisputed economic, recreational, and cultural center.”

Accessed by Interstate 91, it is both the first major Vermont city north of the Massachusetts state line and the only one served by three exits-in this case, Exit 1 leads to Canal street, Exit 2 to Main Street and the historic downtown area, and Exit 3 to Route 5/Putney Road, which offers a commercial concentration of hotels and restaurants. The Comfort and Hampton Inns and the Holiday Inn Express, for example, are located here, while the art deco Latchis Hotel, complete with its own movie theater, is located downtown.

3. Brattleboro:

Situated at the confluence of the Connecticut and West rivers, Brattleboro was originally occupied by the Abenaki tribes, but protection against them took form as Fort Drummer, constructed by and named after, Governor William Drummer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1724.

Siding with the French in the French and Indian War, they migrated to Quebec the following year, at which time the structure was transformed into a trading post for the friendly few who remained behind. Nevertheless, peace, often fleeting during this period, dissolved between 1744 and 1748, prompting its troop re-occupation.

Becoming a New Hampshire grant, the area surrounding it, designated Brattleborough after Colonel William Brattle, Jr. of Boston, was chartered as Vermont’s first town the day after Christmas in 1753.

From the fort sprouted a settlement, giving rise to the area’s first store in 1771, first post office in 1784, and first Connecticut-spanning bridge in 1804. Becoming increasingly industrialized for the period due to the power provided by the Whetstone Brook’s waterfalls, it soon boosted paper, flour, and woolen textile mills, paper making machinery and carriage manufacturers, two machine shops, and four printers. It has been home to the Estey Organ Company for more than a century. The Massachusetts and Vermont Valley railroads subsequently facilitated commerce, trade, and travel with and to the rest of New England.

The current “Brattleboro” spelling was adopted in 1888.

Today, more than anything, the city is synonymous with art. Aside from its numerous venues, it uniquely features its Gallery Walk program, in which exhibits are displayed at some 50 locations throughout town on the first Friday of every month, some accompanied by live music and others by the artists themselves. Numbered, each display corresponds to the description, location, and route of the guide published monthly.

Maintaining the town’s raison d’être is the more permanent Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, located downtown, across from the Marlboro College Graduate School in the former Union Station and offering views of the river paralleling tracks outside and retaining the original ticket windows inside, behind which is the appropriately designated “Ticket Gallery.”

“Founded in 1972,” according to its own description, “the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art and a wide array of cultural events, including lectures, workshops, performances, film screenings, (and) family activities.”

“Close to Home: New Pastels by Ray Ruseckas,” one recent exhibit, offered, as its title suggests, an artistic perspective of the area.

“The hillsides, forests, and glades of the Connecticut River Valley,” said Mara Williams, museum curator, “are Ray Ruseckas’ stomping grounds and inspiration. Ruseckas renders the changing dynamics of land in seasons, deftly capturing fleeting atmospheric effects, as well as the rhythms and proportions of place… Through refined tonal shifts or contrast between light and dark, (he) produces an effect of psychological apprehension, a frission between what is seen and what is implied or felt.”

“Threaded Dances,” by Debra Bermingham, another recent exhibit, equally featured surreal effects.

“(Her) paintings are elusive and mysterious as a landscape enveloped in mist,” Williams wrote. “Images emerge slowly, sensually from delicately layered surfaces. Veils of blue-gray to pearl-white shroud empty or barely populated space. Glimpsing objects-a fragment of a vessel under full sail, a teapot, a moon-through the mist, we are unmoored from time and space.”

Other recent exhibits included “People, Places, and Things” by Jim Dine, “Art + Computer/Time” from the Anne and Michael Spater Digital Art Collection, and the three-dimensional, inflated sculpture “Expanded Forms” by Rodrigo Nava.

Art, at least in literary form, may be interpretable through architecture-in this case, of Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha home-Hindi for “jewel beyond price”-in nearby Dummerston. One of Vermont’s 17 National Historic Landmarks, it served as his home in 1892, because his bride was native to the area, and he wrote his famous “Captain’s Courageous” and “Jungle Book” novels here.

As a living house that can be rented for varying stays from the UK’s Landmark Trust, it features its original furniture, while the carriage house, which had once been Kipling’s barn, sports a living room fireplace and accommodates four.

Although it is not open for museum visits, one recent patron who had partaken of its “hotel” status, found that a decided advantage, writing in Naulakha’s guest book, “It is fascinating to visit the house of writers and artists, but all you usually get is an hour’s tour with an absolute prohibition ‘not to touch.’ How wonderful then to sit at his desk and soak up Mr. Kipling’s bath.”

Aside from art, Southern Vermont is often equated with its covered bridges and Brattleboro is no exception. Constructed in 1879 and located on Guilford Street off of Route 9, the 80-foot-long by 19-foot-wide Creamery Covered Bridge, for instance, spans the Whetstone Brook. Made of spruce lumber, with timber lattice trusses and either-end stone slab supporting abutments, it features a 5.5-foot wide, equally covered sidewalk that was added in the 1920s. It is the only such structure visible from Route 9 and the only one of Brattleboro’s symbolic structures to survive.

4. Grafton:

As a preserved village, Grafton, located north of Brattleboro, could serve as the quintessential image of Vermont and grace any postcard, with its church, crafts shops, galleries, museums, and historic inns lining Main Street (Route 121) and maple syrup taping and cheese making venues located just up the road.

With four general stores and a half dozen mills and schoolhouses during the mid-1800s, it was a hub for farmers, tradesmen, and travelers, producing shoes, sleighs, and butter churns. Retaining, a century and a half later, its blacksmith and cabinet making shops, it offers the visitor an opportunity to step back in time and sample true New England ambiance.

“Grafton’s uniqueness,” according to its own description, “comes from being a real town, not a museum-like recreation, with its citizens being its most valuable resource. It is a vibrant community still holding the traditional town meeting with participation from a wonderfully diverse population of 600 people.”

Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of color in the fall and covered with a blanket of white in the winter, it offers numerous recreational opportunities, but the latter season, particularly, “is a magic time in Vermont, making you believe that you are living in a holiday card. Cross-country ski, snowshoe, (or) stroll through the village. Then relax with a cup of hot chocolate,” it concludes about itself.

Cornerstone of the town is the Grafton Inn. Tracing its origins to the two-floor private home of Enos Lowell, who converted it to an inn to serve travelers seeking good food and lodging in 1801, it grew in size and prosperity with that of the village and counted several owners-from Hyman Burgess to the Phelps Brothers, who added a third floor after purchasing the property for $1,700 in 1865. That overall appearance remains to the present day.

Although it fulfilled its originally intended purpose of serving commercial travelers, several notable people have stayed there over the years, including Rudyard Kipling, Daniel Webster, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

After Depression era stagnation, disrepair, and competition from emerging modernized motels, it was acquired by the Windham Foundation in 1965 and elevated to more expected standards with plumbing, heating, hot-and-cold running water, and private bathrooms. Yet its 45 guest rooms retain their country character.

Its dining venues include the Old Tavern Restaurant and the Phelps Barn Pub.

Aside from the inn, there are several attractions in Grafton, including the Native Museum, the Grafton History Museum, and the Vermont Museum of Mining and Minerals.

Behind the inn is the Grafton Village Retail Store, which offers a wide selection of cheese, maple products, wine, and Vermont indicative souvenirs, but cheese is handmade a half mile up the road at the Grafton Village Cheese Company.

Established in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, it continues to produce handcrafted aged cheddar, a process visible through a glass window, although its production plant and a significantly sized retail store is located in Brattleboro. Behind the Grafton facility is a short covered bridge.

Another Vermont associated experience can be enjoyed at Plummer’s Sugar House. Owned by third generation syrup producers, it sports 4,000 maple trees, which are tapped between February and April. Informal tours are conducted and syrup can be purchased in its barn-like gift shop.

5. Molly Stark Trail:

Designated the Molly Stark Trail by the Vermont Legislature in 1936, the 48-mile, officially numbered Route 9 zigzags through the Southern Green Mountains, lowland valleys, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and historic villages from Brattleboro in the east to Bennington in the west. It was named after the wife of Brigadier General John Stark, who led the Colonial militia of Vermont and New Hampshire troops to victory in the 1777 Battle of Bennington, during which he proclaimed, “There they are boys! We beat them today or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight.”

In the event, she had no need to, but also never stepped foot on the scenic byway that bears her name and is associated with several others of Vermont fame, such as Ethan Allen, Grandma Moses, and Robert Frost.

It serves as the threshold to the Green Mountain National Forest. Established itself in 1932 to control rampant logging, flooding, and fires, its 399,151-acre New England and Acadian forest ecoregion is located in Bennington, Addison, Rutland, Windham, Windsor, and Washington counties.

Three nationally designated trails-Long Trail, Robert Moses National Recreation Trail, and portions of the Appalachian Trail-along with 900 miles of lesser-known paths afford a wide range of related sports activities, from hiking to bicycling, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling, in three Alpine and seven Nordic ski areas.

Abundant wildlife includes bears, moose, coyotes, white tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and numerous bird species.

The town of Wilmington marks both the Molly Stark Trail’s halfway point between Brattleboro and Bennington and the crossroads with northbound Route 100.

Chartered on April 29, 1751 by Benning Wentworth, Colonial Governor of New Hampshire, and named after Spencer Compton, First Earl of Wilmington, the town itself was virtually fed by what its surrounding land provided, including grass, oats, corn, vegetables, potatoes, and the spruce, hemlock, birch, beech, and maple trees that were transformed into lumber. Haystack Mountain offered skiing.

Town and population growth were sparked by a series of precipitating events, such as the introduction of river-located sawmills in the 1830s, the establishment of a rail link at the end of that century, and the dedication of the Molly Stark Trail in the 1930s.

Threading through town, Main Street (Route 9 and the trail itself) offers views of another quintessential Vermont village, with quilt, craft, and antique shops, restaurants, and church steeples.

“Wilmington,” according to the “Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Visitors’ Guide” published by the Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington itself, “contains superb examples of 18th and 19th century architecture in as many as eight distinct styles. From Late Colonial (1750-1788) to Colonial Revival (1880-1900), the architecture is so well-preserved, that the major part of the village has been placed on the Vermont Register of Historic Places.”

A right turn at the traffic light (coming from Brattleboro) on to Route 100 leads to the Old Red Mill Inn, “a wayside tavern, inn, and restaurant at the river’s edge,” as it bills itself.

Rustic in character, the inn, a converted sawmill dating back to 1828, retains much of its original construction and is itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its dining venues include Jerry’s Deck Bar and Grill, with outdoor seating overlooking the Deerfield River, and the Old Red Mill Restaurant, whose “hearty food and drink are specialties of the house,” it proclaims.

“Prime steaks and rib roasts, along with fresh New England seafood, are menu favorites, all preceded by crisp garden salads and warm, fresh-baked breads.”

6. Route 100:

A short drive on Route 100 leads to West Dover, gateway to the Mount Snow ski resort, as evidenced by the Alpine-themed Austrian Haus Lodge, one of the first buildings encountered.

Settled by Captain Abner Perry, of Holliston, Massachusetts, in 1779, and granted a charter signed by Governor Thomas Chittenden, head of the newly formed Vermont Republic, the following year, West Dover and its easterly Dover counterpart began as the township of Wardsborough. After a successful petition to divide it, however, it evolved into Wardsborough itself and Dover after the passage of an 1810 Legislative Assembly act.

Although the summer initially served as the season of attraction for vacationers drawn to area farms during the early-1900s, its winter opposite took center stage mid-century when Walter Schoenknecht, of East Haddam, Connecticut, acquired the Ruben Snow farm, transforming it into the present and popular Mount Snow Ski Resort.

Demand soon turned the handful of lodges into the many of today, along with the coincident shops, restaurants, and motels necessary to support the influx of sports enthusiasts.

Literally paving the way to it all, Route 100 replaced the original dirt artery, which was plied by sleighs in its early days. Aside from automobiles, even the small Deerfield Valley Airport brings in winter tourists.

As a base town, West Dover’s purpose becomes increasingly apparent as you approach the Mount Snow entrance, revealing buildings such as the Inn at Sawmill Farm, the West Dover Inn, the Snow Mountain Market, and the Lodge.

“West Dover (itself),” according to the “Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Visitors’ Guide,” “stands as one of Vermont’s most splendid examples of a homogenous historic district. Consisting of just 20 buildings dating from 1805 to 1885, the entire district is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

“The village showcases a number of well-preserved buildings. The West Dover Congregational Church, (for instance), was built as a meeting house ‘in the modern style’ of 1858 with money raised by selling pews at auctions. The adjacent Dover Town Office was originally the District #6 schoolhouse, erected in 1857. Across the street, the Harris House, one of the oldest in the village, is now home to the Dover Historical Society.”

Tantamount to any Vermont village is an historic inn-in this case, it takes West Dover Inn form.

“Nestled within the serene Deerfield Valley of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest,” according to its own description, “and only two miles from the base of Mount Snow, our home continues an important American tradition of friendly hospitality begun over 150 years ago.

“Originally built in 1846 as a stage coach stop and tavern, the West Dover inn has been lovingly restored and now provides 12 quiet, luxury accommodations, as well as modern and memorable dining in the 1846 Tavern and Restaurant.”

Its menu features pub fare and house specialties, such as rib eye steak, salmon, roasted duck, and pasta.

Mount Snow, the area’s major attraction, is reached by its Northern and Southern Access roads off of Route 100. Considered the most accessible Green Mountain ski resort and located only nine miles from Wilmington, it encompasses 588 acres subdivided into the four mountain areas of Main Mountain, North Face, Sunbrook, and Carinthia, rising from a 1,900-foot base elevation to a 3,600-foot summit one. Its vertical drop is 1,700 feet.

Twenty lifts provide a 30,370-person hourly capacity.

During the summer and fall, the Bluebird Express offers scenic, six-person bubble lift rides to the summit, where views from the Bullwheel Restaurant encompass Little Equinox, Equinox, Mother Myriak, Dorset, Little Stratton, Stratton, and Glebe mountains, which collectively appear as if they were undulating, green-carpeted waves interspersed with icy blue, mirror-resembling lakes. Cloud obstructions stamp the expanse with black patches.

“Mount Snow,” according to its self-description, “offers long cruisers, black diamonds, and technical tree terrain. The ski area is home to eight free-style terrain parks and a super-pipe. (It) offers 12 lifts to access the varying terrain… Advanced skiers and riders will enjoy the 12 trails and two lifts on the North Face. On sunny days, the South Face of the mountain called Sunbrook features ten trails serviced by two lifts with great open-trail skiing and riding.”

Accommodations include the slopeside Grand Summit Resort Hotel and Snow Lake Lodge, a less expensive alternative on its namesaked lake. Complimentary shuttles take skiers to the mountain in season.

7. Bennington:

Bennington, on the western end of the Molly Stark Trail, is particularly rich in sights.

Awarded a town grant after it was chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth in 1749, it experienced initial growth when soil and hands, of the original 20 settlers, transformed the area from ground to town, by means of hand-hewn logs and hand-ground corn, while mechanization took form as grain mills on the east side of the Walloomsac River and sawmills on the west, facilitating the population swell, to 1,500, only four years after the settlement was established.

Nail cutting forges, foundries, blast furnaces, blacksmiths, and tanneries augmented this expansion.

Today, a drive past the town on Route 9/Molly Stark Trail leads to several important attractions. The Bennington Museum is the first of them.

Incorporated in 1852 as the Bennington Historical Association, which itself was founded to commemorate the pivotal battle that raged a few miles across the New York state line, it is one of Vermont’s few accredited museums, whose missions is to “showcase and model the creativity of Vermont in all its forms and throughout its history, as well as serve as a venue for visual and performing arts that enrich our community and our world.”

Even the building that houses it is of historical importance. Constructed of native stone and originally serving as the first St. Francis De Salas catholic church between 1855 and 1892, it was acquired by the Bennington Historical Museum in 1928. Subsequent expansions and intermittent name changes resulted in the present Bennington Museum, the largest art and history repository in Southern Vermont with diverse collections from the early-18th century period to modern times. It features the most extensive public collection of paintings by American folk artist Grandma Moses.

Thirteen continuous and changing exhibitions have included “Gilded Age Vermont Reflects the Industrial Boom,” “Bennington Modernism,” “Works on Paper,” and “Regional Artist Gallery.”

The town, in many ways, was defined by the brief Bennington Battle that can be interpreted at the next attraction, the Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, only a short drive away on Route 9.

Numerous, diverse reasons and circumstances have lit the spark of war throughout history. Supplies, or at least the pressing need for them, precipitated this one.

By the end of July 1777, the British invasion of New York, intended for the purpose of regaining control and led by General John Burgoyne, had reached Fort Edward, east of Glens Falls. But the flow of necessary staples from Canada that would ensure the movement’s advance through the Mohawk Valley and down to New York City, including draft animals, wagons, and beef, had been reduced to a trickle.

Because intelligence advised Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum that Bennington-located storehouses were ill-protected, he elected to redirect his garrison to Vermont and New Hampshire instead. But Vermont’s Council of Safety, receiving word of his pending onslaught, solicited aid from Vermont troops under Seth Warner and some 1,500 New Hampshire men under John Stark.

Threshold to the confrontation was a hill overlooking the Walloomsac River, five miles from Bennington and not in Vermont, to which Stark sent defensive forces on August 16, 1777, two days after the British had reached it.

Although initial musket fire prompted the immediate surrender of Indians, Canadians, and Tories, the British themselves held their ground and a two-hour clash with the Americans, which Stark later described as “one continuous clap of thunder,” resulted in the capture of the hill and the death of Baum. When the last puff of gun power dissipated, 200 British had perished and 700 had been captured, as opposed to the 40 Americans killed and the 30 wounded.

The Bennington Battle monument, located at the supply storage site and the state’s tallest structure, had its origins in 1873, when the Vermont General Assembly established the Bennington Battle Monument Association, itself an extension of the Bennington Historical Society, with $112,000 for land and the actual structure raised by private citizens, the three states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and Congress.

Designed by Boston architect John Phillipp Rinn and dedicated in 1891, the resulting monolith, constructed of blue-gray magnesian limestone quarried from Hudson Falls, New York, rises 306 feet, 4.5 inches from a 37-square-foot base and is elevator accessible to an observation level, whose 20 11-foot slotted openings afford views of three states. Guided tours up the 421 steps are also periodically offered.

Tickets are purchasable from the gift shop, which occupies the precise site of the original storehouse, goal and catalyst of the battle, while a smaller monument honors Seth Warner, commander of the Green Mountain Boys who helped defeat the British during the second engagement.

Another important Bennington sight is the nearby Old First Church.

Influenced by the “great awakening” in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, local separatists first gathered on its site on December 3, 1762 in a rudimentary pine structure on what is today the green in front of the church and the village’s center.

Constructed in 1805 by architect Lavius Filmore, cousin of the nation’s 13th president, the church itself, of Colonial architecture, features full pine tree trunks hand-planned into columns, wooden block exterior corner decorations that resemble the stone ones used by their European counterparts, and both lower and upper pews, the latter for visitors and young parishioners.

After a 1937 renovation, which restored the box pews and the high pulpit, poet Robert Frost read “The Black Cottage” during the rededication ceremony, although a second, more extensive project, undertaken between 1994 and 1999, added the exterior’s present white and gray coat of paint. The interior was also replastered and attention was given to the marble steps, the basement beams, the roof, and the bell tower.

Although Frost was not himself a member, he purchased two family burial plots in the adjacent cemetery, where he is interred, along with 75 Revolutionary War patriots.

Art can be appreciated in Bennington in the Bennington Center for the Arts, located a short distance from the Old First Church and built by local philanthropist Bruce Laumeister and his wife, Elizabeth Small, in 1994, initially to display pieces from their own collection. Since, it otherwise achieves its goal of bringing world-class art to residents and visitors of New England.

Paintings and bronzes of and by Native Americans, along with Navajo rugs, pots, and kachina dolls, have yielded, from its earliest days, to an increasing number of notable exhibits in the expanding, multiple-gallery venue, including those from the Society of Animal Artists, the Plein Air Painters of America, the American Watercolor Society, the New England Watercolor Society, the Allied Artists of America, the American Academy of Women Artists, the Pastel Society of America, and Arts for the Parks. It is the only East Coast museum to have hosted the California Art Club.

Connected to the center is the brightly red painted Covered Bridges Museum, which was completed in 2003 and is the world’s first such venue dedicated to their preservation, understanding, and interpretation. They are, in essence, Vermont itself.

Exhibits focus on their design, engineering, construction, and history, and are augmented by films, computer work stations that enable the visitor to explore their building techniques, and a working model railroad layout depicting area covered bridges.

Connecting riverbanks and offering suspended passage for pedestrians, bicycles, horses, carriages, and motorized vehicles, they provide, according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a “brief darkness leading from the light to light.”

The real thing, as everywhere in Vermont, is not far from the museum. A northerly drive on Route 7, followed by left turns on to Northside Drive (which itself becomes 67A West) and Silk Road, leads to the 88-foot-long Silk Bridge, which spans the Walloomsac River.

After another left turn on to Murphy Road and a two-mile drive, the Paper Mill Village Bridge appears, a town lattice truss design, although it is a 2000 replacement for the original built by Charles F. Sears in 1889.

Finally, the Henry Bridge, located 1.3 miles further ahead of the intersection of Murphy and River roads, is another reconstruction, built in 1989 to replace the original hailing from 1840.

8. Shraftsbury:

A glimpse into a poet’s life can be experienced in the Robert Frost Stone House Museum, built in 1769 of stone and timer and located on a seven-acre parcel of land in South Shraftsbury (Route 7’s Exit 2).

A literary landmark, it was the home Frost lived in from 1920 to 1929 and in which he penned poems for his first Pulitzer Prize winning book, “New Hampshire,” including “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” ironically written at his dining room table on a hot June 1922 morning after he had been awake all night, working on a different project. An entire room is devoted to this effort.

“The ‘Stopping by Woods’ room,” according to the museum’s guide, “is (entirely) devoted to this poem-the story of how it was written, a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript, a controversial comma, presentation of meter and rhyme, what the critics said about the poem, and what Frost said about it. An example of extreme poetic craftsmanship, this beloved poem is one of the central poetic achievements of American literature.”

Because the surroundings remain virtually unchanged since Frost lived there-from the birch and apple trees, fields, woods, stone walls, and the timbered barn to the red pine trees he himself planted-the visitor can absorb his inspiration.

Source by Robert Waldvogel

The Friends of Tony Veranis

If edgy and nourish crime is your thing, then the short and violent lives of Boston boxer Anthony "Tony" Veranis and his friends just might fill the bill. Veranis was a tough Dorchester, Massachusetts kid who was born in 1938 to first generation Italian immigrants from Sardinia. Tony was in and out of trouble for most of his short life, as he alternated between professional boxing and low-level crime. He had "Tony" tattooed on the fingers of one hand and "Luck" tattooed on the other, but he did not have much of the latter.

Labeled a "persistent delinquent," Tony was incarcerated in 1950 at Lyman Correctional School for Boys in Westborough, 30 miles west of Boston. It was the first reform school in the United States and it was where he was anonymously involved in the Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency (UJD) study conducted by Harvard University professors in an effort to discover the causes of juvenile delinquency and assess the overall effectiveness of correctional treatment in controlling criminal careers. If the study led to any positive results, Tony was clearly not included in the academic largess.

While at Lyman, Tony joined the school's boxing team, and after being spotted by the savvy and acclaimed Boston fight trainer Clem Crowley, he began fighting as an amateur. Tony's amateur career culinated when he won the Massachusetts State Amateur Welterweight Title in 1956. That same year, at age 18, Veranis turned professional in Portland, Maine under the alias "Mickey White" and won his first pro bout with a fifth round TKO over one Al Pepin. Tony then launched an astounding run of victories, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tony often sparred with Joe "The Baron" Barboza, Eddie "Bulldog" Connors, Jimmy Connors (Eddie's brother), Rocco "Rocky" DiSiglio, George Holden, and Americo "Rico" Sacramone. Southie's Tommy Sullivan also found his way into this mix. The thing about these guys was that in addition to being well known Boston area boxers, each was brutally murdered between 1966 and 1976.

Joe Barboza (1932-1976)

"The Baron" was his boxing moniker and he ran up a modest record of 8-5 before taking on a far more lucrative and violent line of work. It was once rumored that a sparring mate had done a number on Joe, and The Baron responded by grabbing a gun out of his locker and chasing the pug out of the gym and down the street.
Joe would later assume other nicknames like "The Animal" and "The Wild Thing," as he became one of the most feared and wicked hit men of his era. He dreamed of becoming the first Portuguese-American inducted into La Cosa Nostra, but never was because he was not of Italian extraction. Fact is, LCR members called him derogatory names-but always, of course, behind his back.

Employed by the Patriarca crime family of Providence, Rhode Island, Barboza, while operating out of East Boston, allegedly murdered between seven and 26 victims, depending on different sources, but given his methodologies and the amount of fear he generated it's safe to err on the higher side.

Occasionally, Barboza flipped and would become the "Joe Valachi" (aka snitch) of the New England Mafia. The circumstances leading up to that eventuality are grist for a lengthy and intriguing tale featuring, among other sordid elements, corruption, deception, triple-crosses, murder, false imprimementment, and the worse scandal in FBI history. Suffice it to say that his testimony helped change the criminal landscape in Boston. For his reward, there was nothing a grateful FBI would not do, so Joe became the first man in the Witness Protection Program and was sent to Santa Rosa, California, but he soon reverted to form and killed one Clay Wilson for which he served only five years. Upon his release and using the name Joe Donali, he was resettle to San Francisco, but the LCN rarely kills or gives up, and Joe was soon killed by four shotgun blasts in 1976. The hit was reputedly carried out by the bespectacled Mafia captain, Joseph "JR" Russo.

Joe Barboza was a complex individual who violent life story begged for a book to be written-and it was by crime author Hank Messick. Titled Barboza, it is difficult, if not impossible to find, but is as compelling a true crime story as you could imagine-and if you're a boxing fan, all the better.

Tommy Sullivan (1922-1957)

Irish Tommy, as he was known in South Boston, may have been the best boxer of the bunch as he finished with a 21-2-0-1 mark. Tommy went undefeated in his first 17 pro outings until he lost to Al Priest (25-1) in 1946 and then again in 1947 when Priest was 33-2. Among Sullivan's victims were Eddie Boden (18-0-1), Coley Welch (90-16-5) and "Mad Anthony" Jones (41-13-4) who Tommy stopped twice. Fighting before monster crowds of up to 13,000 customers, Sullivan engaged in a number of "" savage brawls "that are still talked about by Boston area aficionados.They include his brutal beats of John Henry Eskew and George Kochan. back after he had been dropped and snatched victory from actor defeat with a "hurricane attack" in the style of later warriors Danny "Little Red" Lopez and Arturo Gatti. Boston fans loved him for the excitement he brought to the ring.

In January 1949, his reliably brief professional boxing career inexplicitely ended and he began working as a longshoreman at Boston Harbor. While at the docks, he stuck up friendly relations with fellow-longshoremen Thomas J. Ballou Jr. (barroom brawler extraordinaire) and the more infamous Barboza. According to author Howie Carr, Ballou had an unusual style of fighting. It seems he always carried a grappling hook and a $ 100 bill. If Ballou wanted to attack someone, he'd throw the $ 100 dollar bill on the ground. The unsuspecting and greedy adversary would bend over to grab it, and then Tommy would plunge the grappling hook into the guy's back.

Tommy resented gang leader George McLaughlin of Charlestown who had attempted to extort money from one of Tommy's close friends. For the record, the famous Boston Irish Gang War started in 1961 and lasted until 1967. It was cooked between the McLaughlin Gang of Charlestown and the Winter Hill Gang of Somerville led by James "Buddy" McLean, but that's another long and violent story for another day.

Sullivan made the strategic error of getting into a vicious barroom brawl with Edward "Punchy" McLaughlin and proceeded to give McLaughlin, also an ex-boxer, a wicked bead that could not possibly have been duplicated in Hollywood. Beginning in a bar and then moving outside into the street, the two went at each other on reasonably even terms until McLaughlin finally could take no more punishment and roled under a parked car to escape. But Sullivan, the enraged Southie native, wanted more and he lived up one end of the car and propped one of the wheels up on the curve allowing him to get at McLaughlin so that he could continue the beatdown. The throng of onlookers, including Barboza, was amazed at this feat of adrenalized strength that would have made a Hollywood stuntman blink.

Deadly payback was swift in coming. Two weeks later, Tommy was called to the side of a car that was idling in the street near his East Fifth Street home and he was promptly shot five times. Seven years later in1965, Sullivan's brawling foe, McLaughlin, shot nine times at a West Roxbury bus stop. Some suspected Barboza as the triggerman for this execution.

Although he was never put under serious scrutiny for criminal activity, many viewed Tommy inside the context of where there is smoke, there supposedly must be fire

Rocco DiSiglio (1939-1966)

This former Newton welterweight with a modest record was found shot to death in 1966. Before he turned professional, he trained and / or spared with Veranis, Barboza, Eddie Connors, Sacramone, George Holden, Tom Sullivan, and the legendary Joe DeNucci. He was also a criminal associate of Barboza and Joe would later lead police to the site of Rocky's corpse in Danvers. It was believed that Rocky was murdered by the mob for sticking up their dice and card games, most of which were overseen by Gennaro Angiulo, the feared gambling czar for the Patriarca crime family.

In retaliation for his brazen, maverick, and foolhardy action, DiSiglio was set up in a Machiavellian-like scheme and historically shot to death in the driver's seat of his Thunderbird by the same men with what he had robbed the card games. He was hit three times at close range with one bullet reportedly teasing off part of his face and another going through his head and out an eye socket. His two killers were later killed at different times as more loose ends were tied. The entire affair had about it the foul stench of the North End's Angiulo, and further enraged Rocky's friend, Joe Barboza, who soon would turn stool pigeon against the LCR.

Meanwhile, still another of Tony Veranis's friends had died a violent death at a young age.

George Holden (1948-1973)

George, known as "Medford Irisher," mostly out of Portland, Maine as a heavyweight and chalked up a less-than-glorious record of 14-26-3. He went 9-3-3 in his first 15, but then the losses came in bunches and he would lose nine of his last 10. In his last bout against Jimmy McDermott (51-15-3), Holden disgraced himself by showing up drunk for which he was definitely suspended. He never again again.
Like DiSiglio, little is known about Holden's personal life except that he was a low level operative in organized crime. Holden trained with the usual suspects and met a similar fate. On August 23, 1973, his body was found washed up along the mucky shoreline of the Mystic River in Charlestown, Mass. He had been executed gangland style with a gunshot to the head. George was 25 years old. His killers were never found. Holden's murder was the 82nd homicide in the city of Boston in 1973.
Eddie Connors (1933-1975)

As a youth, Connors was a regular at the L Street Curley Gym and Bathhouse located in South Boston (ie Southie) where future gang leaders Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, James "Whitey" Bulger, and Frank "Cadillac Frank" Salemme hung out .

Eddie, nicknamed "Bulldog," was a respected heavy-handed middleweight who cooked like a bulldog during the '50s and ran up a slate of 22-7-1 with 18 KOs against tough opposition. His last three fights-all loses by decision-were against Willie Green (27-4), Joe DeNucci (20-2 coming in), and former world champion Tony DeMarco (55-11-1). He also held the very capable George Monroe (39-13-3) to a draw. His brother James Connors (not to be confused with Jimmy Connors who thought out of New Bedford from 1957 to 1963 and who was trained by Clem Crowley) cooked between 1959 and 1961 and retired with a 13-0-1 record.

Eddie would later use his boxing experience to handle drunk and disorderly customers in his notorious Bulldog Tavern in the edgy Savin Hill area of ​​Dorchester where he acted as both bartender and fearsome bouncer, and which he also used as his criminal headquarters for illegal gambling, drug dealing, loan sharking, and planned armed robberies with his associates.

Later, because Connors was bragging too much about a murder he had helped orchestrate (of one James "Spike" O'Toole), the Bulldog had become a dangerous loose end. As such, he was set up for an ambush in Dorchester. When Eddie arrived at a service station on Morrissey Blvd. On June 12, 1975, to make a pre-arranged phone call, a young Whitey Bulger, John "The Basin Street Butcher" Martorano, and Stephen Flemmi were waiting armed to the teeth. Connors was nearly cut in half in the phone booth by the hail of heavy artillery and the loose end was tied. Curiously, the deadly Martorano was the one who had machine gunned O'Toole in 1973.

Americo Sacramone (1937-1976)

When he finished his brief boxing career with a 5-1 record, Rico, from Everett, entered the racks as member of Boston's Winter Hill Gang. After being wounded in the hit on Buddy McLean in 1965, Rico went back to prison on a parole violation. In 1976, he was gunned down this time for good by parties unknown.
During his boxing days, Sacramone would often spar with the great Joe DeNucci (54-15-4), who later became the longstanding State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Tommy Tibbs (1934-1975)

While probably not a friend of Tony Veranis, Tommy (60-74-4) did fight George Monroe three times in 1953-and just about everyone else including Willie Pep what he beat in 1958-and since then Monroe brought it back to a draw against Eddie Connors in 1955, at least the possibility of a dotted line connection exists. Monroe was from Worcester and Tibbs made his residence in Boston. However, where Tommy warrants an honorable mention is the fact that he was shot and killed in a dispute in a Roxbury bar in 1975-one of the seminal years of living dangerously in Boston.

Back to Tony (1938-1966)

Meanwhile, after beating Al Pepin in his pro debut, Veranis continued his attention-grabbing run as a professional. He was described as "one tough SOB; a Wildman who was brave in the ring." Other said he was well-trained and "a great prospect and that his boxing style was one of a slugger."

In 1957, Tony fought an astonishing 26 times (the majority at the Rollway Arena in Revere). Tony's best win may have been on December 3, 1957, when he stopped-and retired-the talented Bobby Murphy (19-3-1). Bobby, a former USA New England welterweight titleholder, had impressive wins over Vic Cardell (65-25-7), Fitzie Pruden (50-21), Rocky Sullivan (66-43-12) and Jackie O'Brien (65-17) -9), as well as a draw with top contender Chico Vejar (63-5-1). A win over Murphy mean something.

Tony's last fight in 1957 was against rugged Barry Allison on December 17 against whom he deserved to an admirable draw. Allison (40-19-2) was at the center of New England boxing during the 1950s but was never able to reach world championship level though many think he should have gotten the nod against Johnny Saxon in 1958. As for Tony, he slaughtered Silby Ford in a bloody encounter in February 1958, one that had blood-splattered ringsiders aghast as Silby's teeth and mouthpiece were knocked out. This moved Tony's record to 25-0-2 before dropping back-to-back fights to Allison in a rematch for Allison's USA New England middleweight title and to undefeated Joe Devlin at the Boston Garden.

Tony's loss to Allison was one in which he took a terrible beating and one that undeniably rendered him damaged goods going into the Devlin bout-not taking anything away from the Crafty Joe who himself retired undefeated. These two fights occurred within a 16-day span in March 1958. After his brutal knockout defeat to Devlin in which he was decked in every round, he was taken to Boston City Hospital in bad shape and remained in a coma before recovering some three month later. But his boxing days were over.

After boxing, Tony reportedly suffered from severe migraine headaches, nausea, temporary mood swings, and blackouts-maladies that were apparently not aimed and pointed to brain damage. When combined with heavy drinking and depression, this lethal mix could only spell major trouble for an ex-boxer. Tony was arrested for an unidentified crime on December 23, 1963, and sent to prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

While incarcerated he supposedly became an altar boy to serve at prison mass, prompting the prison chaplain Father John Fitzgerald to say, "He wanted to get straightened out, and I think he did. He constantly stopped in to see me … after he got out, and everything appeared to be all right. Some described him as a friendly and quiet guy who was the victim of circumstances beyond his control, but other saw him as a small-time hoodlum and mean drinker with a bad personality change who was more brawn than brain. Street lore and my own in-depth research clearly support the later depiction.

Tony soon found himself in debt to South Boston loan sharks and being overdue to such types was barely conducive to one's well being since examples had to be made. Tommy DePrisco, a Barboza associate, attempted to collect from Tony in a South Boston bar but was embarrassed, maybe even punched, and forced to leave as this was Tony's hangout. The Following night, John "The Basin Street Butcher" Martorano was at Billy O's tavern in Dorchester when Veranis braced him and reportedly slurred, "I'm Tony Veranis, you know who I am. ] I kicked him outta Southie with his tail between his legs, fuck him and fuck you, too. "

As Tony allegedly reached for his gun, the taller Butcher beat him to the punch and fired down into Tony's skull twice-blowing what was left of his already damaged brains all over the place. His body was dumped in the Blue Hills wooded area off Route 28 near where Milton and Dedham meet. He had $ 2.83 in his pocket. This was the end result when two former altar boys met up at the wrong time in the wrong place. One was 27, the other 26. Tony may have been tougher with his fists, but the Butcher was faster with his gun.

John Martorano: Last Man Standing

Many claimed credit for the hit on Tony Veranis and a few even suggested that Barboza was involved, but the most reliable accounting is that Martorano (also known as "The Executioner" among other aliases) was responsible. Early on, Martorano, who also was an altar boy, a good athlete, and well-educated in private schools, showed a marked prollivity for conflict resolution. He eventually became the chief enforcer for the Whitey Bulger gang running up an astounding tally of 20 confirmed hits (all carried out in a cold, detached, so-called "professional" manner).

One of John's familial Old World core values ​​was that of loyalty, and when he later learned that Bulger and Flemmi were FBI informants who leaked useful information, some of it even accusatory against John, he became enraged. The fact is, he flipped out and then proceeded to flip on the flippers, becoming a key government witness and in the process exposing the links between the Bulger gang and the FBI's Boston office. In return for his "cooperation" and confession to 20 murders, he served only 12 years and received $ 20,000 gate money upon his release. Said US Attorney Donald Stern, "The only thing worse than this deal was not doing this deal."

Of the murderers, Martorano incredibly and calmly stated, "I always felt like I was doing the right thing.

Today, while the mother of all rats, Whitey Bulger, spends the rest of his life in prison, John Martorano and Kevin Weeks (another deadly Bulger enforcer and righeous snitch who wrote the compelling "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob, "are free to walk the streets of Quincy, Dorchester, and South Boston having done their time and having made their transactions. protected.

Red Shea

There was another ex-boxer, but he chose another, more difficult path. His name was John "Red" Shea and he traded an exceptionally promising boxing career for a more lucrative life as an important operative and enforcer for the Bulger gang. But the thing about Red was that when he was finally caught, he did not flip, but held fast to the Irish code of silence. The 47-year-old Red served out his 12 years in prison without ratting out and is now considered a rare man of honor in the Boston area. He went on to write the hot selling Rat Bastards: The Life and Times of South Boston's Most Honorable Irish Mobster. Red is now enjoying his freedom and the secrets of his life of crime most likely will be taken to the grave with him. His second book, A Kid from Southie has now been published amid solid reviews.

Joe DeNucci and Clem Crowley went on to live extremely respected and even celebrated lives, as did Joe Devlin, New Bedford's Jimmy Connors, and Barry Allison. However, Eddie Connors, Rocky DiSiglio, Rico Sacramone, Joe Barboza, George Holden, and Tommy Sullivan-all fighters in the Boston area who were connected to one another in one way or another-were each murdered at a young age.

Source by Theodore Sares

Love You More Written By Lisa Gardner

One of the best mystery stories I have read in some time-and, I read a lot of books! "Love You More" comes down to that very statement when a Massachusetts State Trooper, Tessa Leoni, has made that decision between her young daughter, her husband, and a long-time friend from the State Troopers, and must make that decision in a matter of moments. The story is told through her, Tessa Leoni, when her husband is found murdered in their home, their daughter, Sophie, gone with no signs as to where she was, and a strange crime scene full of blood. Boston Sergeant Detective DD Warren was on the job for this one thanks to a phone call from an ex-boyfriend, Massachusetts State Police Detective Bobby Dodge. When it was decided that the state police and the Boston police work together on this one, they started opening doors to all sorts of questions, possibilities, actions-good and bad, and former and present associates of the Leoni family. DD was in charge of the investigation.

DD had a boyfriend, Alex, who she was quite serious with and visa-versa but with this huge crime case they did not get to see each other much. This case put DD and Bobby in close contact. They were used to working together from past years and jelled together well. The theory and the evidence showed that Tessa had killed her husband and daughter and hid her daughter somewhere. She insured she did not kill her daughter. Tessa's husband was a merchant seaman and would ship out eight weeks at a time, then return home for several weeks until the next orders came. Sometimes Brian's temper would make him unload on anyone around him including Tessa. But love creates strange bedfellows as it did when Tessa agree to Brian's marriage proposal.

Tessa told the investigators that she had killed Brian and then left the scene to search for her daughter. Tessa was battered and bruised and had lost much blood but she was still alert enough to know what she was saying and what she had done but she would not give any information other than she had killed her husband. Even though DD was the main detective on the case she worked closely and well with other investigative officers from Boston and the state force. All they wanted was the truth-except for anyone that might have been involved in the murder and missing girl. They wanted anything but the truth.

DD and Bobby did not know how much to believe of what Tessa was saying or admitting to or how much of the evidence was in fact the truth or changed to make things appear as they were not. They tracked down all they could find from friends, present and former, neighbors, locations thought pertinent, and even to other law enforcement officers with past associations to Tessa. The story moves very well with great twists and turns, most of which you will not see coming. Lisa Gardner has a winner again in this book. I highly recommend it and I will not give nay of the plots away so you are surprised as you read through them.

Source by Cy Hilterman

Opioid Crisis Increases Cases of Elder Abuse in US

Of all the perils stemming from opioid epidemic in the United States, the abuse of the elderly population by addicts has left everyone stunned. The opioid crisis has led to an unprecedented abuse of adults at home by adult children who are addicts. According to a recent report published in the Boston Globe , there is a 37 percent surge in cases of elder abuse in Massachusetts over the past five years.

The trend shows that adult children who indulge in substance use, mostly move in with their elderly grandparents. The gullible elders became easy prey for these addicts because some of them receive social security checks and other pension checks.

Adult children who become addicts are in constant need of resources to fund their addiction and these financially stable adults become their soft targets. They are then financially, physically and emotionally abused by the addicts.

Money and valuables often go missing

Drugs and pills are expensive and to maintain a steady flow, addicts need enough money. Often these addicts are also without any work because addiction renders them incapable of continuing in their job. So they resort to stealing stuff from home – money, jewelry, other valuables, whatever they could lay their hands on. Numerous cases of theft of jewelry, money and other valuables have been reported by the police.

Physical abuse

Cases of physical assault also can not be ruled out. Police, firefighters and emergency medical service crews have become extremely vigilant to track such incidents. According to the Boston Globe report, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan has asked the first responders to look for unusual bruising on wrists and forearms of olderly as these could have signs of a scuffle with their addict grandchildren. The fear is that addicts may try to get these stuff through duress. Ryan has also asked them to look if there is sufficient food in the refrigerator and other signs of abuse in the house as diligent search of the house may disclose other dark secrets and trails of rampant abuse. The problem is not only in Massachusetts, it is sweeping the entire US

How to contain growing violence at home

The first step is to raise the awareness level of the general population and insure the elderly of their safety. Quick response numbers and helpline should be made available so that one can reach for help at the touch of a button. Parents of these young addicts also have a key role to play and provide security to their own parents from the potentially violent grandchildren.

Available treatment options

The inevitable solution to all these maladies is proper treatment that too as soon as possible. Addiction is more of a disease than a crime. Here, it is a duty to bring every addict to the level of treatment and eliminate the scourge from the society.

Source by Barbara Odozi

Free Things to Do in Boston

Boston is a historic city, with beautiful colonial buildings and a strong connection to the founding of the United States of America. Boston is known for having friendly locales, awesome bars, a host of attractions and exotic restaurants that are not-to-be-missed. It is also famous for having some of the best pizza places in the country. Boston is a city that's a favorite among travelers. People from every corner of the world make US Airways reservations or book their flights with numerous other airlines flying to the city, for a wonderful vacation.

Boston is a great place for travelers with a tight budget as the city offers a number of free activities, events and other attractions. Here is a list of my favorite free things to do in Boston. Find the best last minute travel deals online for a great vacation.

The Freedom Trail – A 2.5 mile, red-lined trail that takes travelers to sixteen different historically significant sites; each one is an incredible treasure. Visitors who go for this walking tour get a chance to discover the city's monuments in an interesting way. These historical structures include Bunker Hill Monument, Park Street Church, Old Corner Bookstore, Granary Burying Ground, Massachusetts State House, Site of the Boston Massacre and Faneuil Hall.

Going for a tour of the Freedom Trail is the perfect way to learn about the courageous heroes who shaped this nation. You can also discover the rich history of the American Revolution; many of its important events took place in or around the city. Make Spirit Airlines reservations to avail lucrative flight deals; and walk around soaking-up the rich history of Boston.

Catch a Concert at the Hatch Shell – Boston's Charles River Esplanade, a gorgeous park, offers a dreamy setting for free summer concerts and shows. It is one of the best places to visit in Boston as you can have a stroll by the serene Charles River and attend a lively concert at the Hatch Shell. It is one of the places where you can have a great time on 4th July, catching a performance by the renovated Boston Pops Orchestra. After the show, you can rent a boat and sail down the river enjoying the breathtaking vistas.

Castle Island – This beautiful island is situated in South Boston. It is renamed for the old fort located on its concessions. Grab any Spirit Airline deals or hop-on a US Airways flight and visit Castle Island to discover its harbor and scintillating beaches; which are very popular among the locals. With vast green spaces, picnic tables and a great view of the ocean, Castle Island is a great place for visitors traveling with their kids. Visitors can also have a great time exploring Fort Independence by going for a free tour. While planning a visit to the island, keep-in-mind that this place is a bit crowded during the weekends.

Source by Zoey Alena

A Tourist Guide to the Berkshires

1. Introduction:

Characterized by rolling hills and peaks, and dissected by river valleys, the Berkshires, considered southern extensions of Vermont's Green Mountains, traverse Western Massachusetts and Connecticut, diminishing in elevation and profile from both north to south and west to east. Named by Sir Francis Bernard to honor his home county in England, they institute both a highland geologic and cultural region, appealing considering tourism during the summer months.

2. History:

Wind, weather, and erosional chiseling of once towering mountains that formed the Housatonic, Green, and Hoosic River valleys after retreat of the last ice age some 25,000 years ago created the current hills and low-elevation peaks.

Mohican Indians, who had defected from the Hudson River Iroquois settlements during the mid-1600s, served as the Berkshire area's first documented settlers and were considered instrumental in teaching white men basic survival skills, such as land clearing for crop cultivation and maple tree tapping for syrup collecting.

Energy-harnessing industries, attracted by the area's numerous rivers, used abundantly available raw materials, including sand, granite, limestone, and marble from quarries and iron and clay in mines, to produce lumber, grain, paper, and textiles, in the process attracting the work force and their families needed to run their mills and plants.

Instrumental in the transfer of these products and materials, the Hoosac Tunnel, facilitating the state's first northern rail route, linked Boston on the eastern seaboard with the Midwest.

Generating considerable interest in the region, many notable 19th- and 20th-century authors and visual artists included area settings and themes in their works.

Today, the Berkshires are synonymous with nature, country inns, historic sights, art, theater, film, and music.

3. Orientation:

Other than regional gateways, such as Pittsfield Municipal Airport-which are primarily served by private and corporate aircraft-there are no Berkshire-served scheduled airline facilities, the three closest airports being those in Albany, New York (52 road miles), Hartford, Connecticut (103 miles), and Boston, Massachusetts (143 miles).

Consisting of 32 towns, the region, which can be subdivided into northern, central, and southern sections, requires an hour-and-a-half to a two-hour drive, without stopping, to travel. Accessed by Route 7 in the west and Route 8 for a portion slightly to the east of it, its picturesque, seemingly time-suspended, quintessential New England towns, framed by inns, white church steeples, art galleries, and crafts and antiques shops, are often dissected by either redesignated or rerouted arteries, including Route 2 in North Adams, Route 7 in Pittsfield, Route 102 / Main Street in Stockbridge, and Route 7 / Main Street in Great Barrington.

4. Northern Berkshires:

North Adams:
North Adams, as its name indicates, is the principal town in the Northern Berkshires. Once the bustling hub of textiles and shoes during the 19th-century, it has since set its sights on education and culture with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts. Much of its history can be traced at the Western Gateway Heritage State Park.

Western Gateway Heritage State Park:
Occupying the site of the former Boston and Main Railroad's freight yard, the park, consisting of several restored buildings that once housed cargo and shippable commodities, have been converted into shops, dining venues, and a museum surrounding a cobblestone courtyard, now all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum, toed as "celebrating the building of the Hoosac Tunnel and the age of the Iron Horse," depicts North Adams life at the turn of the 19th-century and the impact both the tunnel and the railroad industry introduced on it and northern Berkshire County.

Laying under a vast and shallow sea some 450 million years ago, according to the museum, the North Adams area extended, in coast line, as far west as Ohio and its greater depths lurked east of Boston. Its Hoosac, Berkshire, Taconic, and Appalachian mountains, themselves formed 225 million years later when the pressure created by North American and African continental plate collisions on the old coastal seabeds pushed underwater rock back, resulting in the folded and over-thrust New England mountain ranges present today.

After the plates had separated and the Atlantic Ocean had opened, the current landscape of peaks, valleys, and plains took form, while the consequent glacial period, characterized by waves of advancement and retreat, carried huge boulders southward, in the process tearing and grinding the mountains into lower-rising projections.

As the climate warmed, ice, melting from and released by the glaciers, formed vast rivers, their rock, clay, and sand deposits extremely filling filling valleys. Water accumulations, now unable to escape, collected into ice sheet edge lakes.

Isolated, the Hoosac Valley was only accessible by steep and treacherous mountain passes, which required days to traverse, and attacks by the French and their allies were not uncommon, yet its advantages conversely proved significant: trees and stones provided raw material for building, the soil was fertile and facilitated crop growing, the powerful rivers served as energy sources, sand provided the foundation for glass making, and iron was converted into tools.

Although Fort Massachusetts, erected in 1741 and the westernmost one created by the colonial government in Boston to defend its land, was attacked by Indians, it served to mark the location of the future town of North Adams. Replaced by a second structure, it enjoyed a more enduring fate after the 1763 Treaty of Ghent was signed, including French and Indian withdrawal.

British soldiers founded early Hoosac settlers, who engaged in farming, milling, and woodworking, and it was renamed Adams to honor Boston patriot Samuel Adams after the Revolutionary War.

Growth, prompted by Hoosac River generating power, spawned some dozen small mills, which were able to produce lumber and ground grain, until the burgeoning population necessitated the 1878 creation of a second, separate settlement-that of North Adams.

No greater impact on the area, however, was that created with the 1875 opening of the 4.75-mile-long Hoosac Tunnel. An engineering marvel for its day and the longest such railroad passage in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, it was bored by means of manual labor and rudimentary picks, hammers, and nitroglycerin explosives.

Linking the eastern industrial centers with the west via the state's only northern rail route, it transformed North Adams into a railroad town.

The Western Heritage Gateway State Park's Visitor Center Museum features displays, films, an HO-gauge model railroad layout, and interactive exhibits about the tunnel in retired box cars.

Mount Greylock State Reservation:
Mountains, defending the Northern Berkshires, offer additional sightseeing opportunities, particularly in the form of nearby Mount Greylock.

Created between 300 and 600 million years ago when an ancient seabed produced the metamorphic gray-colored Greylock schist and white quartzite that would become its eternal building books, it rose to a mountainous peak when the continental collisions characteristic of the taconic orogeny exerted pressure of such magnitude that rocks folded into 20,000-foot projections. Completing their millennia-long sculpting, weather and erosion produced their current height and profile.

Now part of the 11-mile-long, 4.5-mile-wide north-south range located between the Green Mountains in the north, the Hoosac Mountains in the east, the Taconic Mountains in the west, and the Berkshires in the south and east , it serves as the centerpiece of the Mount Greylock State Reservation.

Its main roadway is part of the longer, 16.3-mile Mount Greylock Scenic Byway and incorporates an 11.5-mile section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Named either after the gray cloud, or lock, which surrounds its peak in the winter or the Native American Indian chief, Gray Lock, it was admitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1898 for the purpose of preserving the natural environment for public enjoyment. It is both the state's first wilderness park and contains its highest peak.

Managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation — Division of State Parks and Recreation, the 12,500-acre reservation, reflecting some 70 miles of trails, was transformed into negotiable routes and roads by the 107th Company of the President Roosevelt-created Civilian Conservation Corps to provide Depression era employment, improve the environment, and create public recreational facilities.

Between 1933 and 1939, they cut trees, improved roads, erected buildings, and built stone retaining walls and culverts, most of which are still existent.

Inspiring, like many natural Berkshire attractions, literary expressions by now-famous authors – such as William Cullen Bryant and Oliver Wendell Holmes – the mountain drew them to its summit. Ascending in an ox cart in 1838, for instance, Nathaniel Hawthorne noted, "Every new aspect of the mountains (referring to the Hoosac, Taconic, and Catskill ranges visible to him) or view from a different position creates a surprise in the mind. "

Henry David Thoreau followed in 1844, climbing alone, while Herman Melville made the journey with a party of 11 in 1851.

Mount Greylock State Reservation is accessible from Route 7, which itself passes through Lanesborough, before leading to entry turn-off and, after a short drive, the Visitor Center. Staffed by park rangers, it features exhibits and films and overlooks field and forest intermeshing habitat indigenous to song birds, wild turkeys, white tailed deer, and black bear. Both hiking trails and the 7.5-mile-long summit road extend from it.

Lofty slopes, glimpsed during the ascent, shelter ancient forest patches that serve as both plant and animal habitats, and several overlooked facets views of them.

Rounds Rock at mile 3.0, for example, offers hardwood forest scenic views and enable the visitor to inspect small boreal spruce bogs and blueberry barrens, while Jones Nose, only.7 miles further up the road, conversely overlooks open meadows and small shrubs ideal for butterfly watching.

The CCC Dynamite Trail at mile 5.6, named after the 107th Company's explosive storage area, leads to ferns, streams, and wildflowers.

The New Ashford Overlook, located.3 miles beyond and offering views of the Green River Valley, Stony Ledge, and the town of Williamstown, offers an interesting glimpse into the ultimate flow of water. That originating in Hopper Brook, for instance, next ambles to the Green, Hoosic, and Hudson rivers before reaching its final outflow into the Atlantic Ocean in New York City.

Because the upper elevations are characterized by longer winters, precipitation predominance, and lower temperatures, conditions resemble those found in Canadian boreal forests, their fierce winds stunting and gnarling trees as they battle the elements for survival and their ice crystals, like a multitude of miniature knives, cutting into their barks and branches.

The Hopper, a glacial cirque located on the steep western slope, is the southernmost such feature in New England and has thus been designated a National Natural Landmark.

Canadian boreal forest-approximating growth, visible from the Appalachian Trail at mile 6.7, results in a dominance of red spruce and balsam fir at and above the 3,000-foot elevation level, along with mountain ash and yellow birch, while the twisted profiles of maple and beech trees express their winter battles for survival. As its name suggests, the area is part of the 2,172-mile path that stretches from Maine to Georgia.

The 3,491-foot Adams Overlook summit, at mile 7.5, requires modest-fee parking, but it, along with all areas above 3,100 feet, has been designated a National Historic District by the US Department of Interior for the purpose of honoring and preserving the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Like waves shaded green by filtering clouds, the Hoosac and Berkshire hills, along with the Green Mountains in Vermont and the Taconic and Catskill peaks in New York, becoming an ever-changing color palette. Stark and shadowed, sometimes bathed by the sun and floodlit by the moon, they assume an almost ethereal appearance, viewed from a summit considered an island in the clouds, which itself has been shaped by and is there before frozen in time.

There are several mountaintop structures, including the 92-foot Veterans War Memorial tower, dedicated by the State of Massachusetts to its war victims in 1933, and Bascom Lodge, a rustic, post-and-beam building designed by Pittsfield architect Joseph McArthur Vance between 1936 and 1937 to blend into the landscape with its use of Greylock schist stone and red spruce and oak wood features. Named after John Bascom, an early Mount Greylock Reservation commissioner who advocated construction fine summer houses, it contains stone fireplaces and wood beamed ceilings, and has been welcoming hikers, skiers, and sunrise seekers since it was completed. Meals are available in its restaurant and overnight accommodations can be reserved.

Its architecture is reflected by that of the nearby Thunderbolt Ski Shelter, which was built during the same period.

5. Central Berkshires:


As the hub of Berkshire County, Pittsfield became the first neighborhood west of Boston to be designated a Cultural District by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Since renamed the Upstreet Cultural District, it offers a rich array of visual and performing arts venues, including the annual, outdoor Artscapes exhibition, the Barrington Stage Company, the Town Players of Pittsfield, the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and the Gilded Age, 780-seat Colonial Theater, which is part of the Berkshire Theater Group and has since been proclaimed a "national treasure" by Hillary Clinton.

Additional information can be obtained from the Pittsfield Visitors Center, located on North Street and Columbus Avenue, in the modern Intermodal Transportation Center, converging point for taxis, buses, and trains.


Aside from its arts concentration, interest in the area was peaked by a later-famous resident, author Herman Melville, who lived in the now-visitable Arrowhead farmhouse in which another peak-that of Mount Greylock-served as the inspiration for his famous novel , Moby Dick.

Born in New York City in 1819, Melville first visited the Pittsfield house, then owned by his uncle, 13 years later, farming, hiking, and making annual trips to it until he permanently moved there with his family in 1850. But the road to that destination would prove circuitous and global as any would-be author, which calling he had yet to answer, required material and experiences gathered along the way.

Sporadically and ill educated, he initially tested the waters through menial positions before he sailed them-literally-embarking on a three-year voyage on the Acushnet, a whaling ship. Briefly shedding the sea for land in the Marquesas Islands, he once again set sail for Hawaii on a series of boats and finally joined the Navy on whose United States he returned to New York, now homesick and in need of a more sedentary lifestyle.

A journey's destination is sometimes not noticeable until it has been competed-in this case, that destination became the pages he filled with the fruits his journey bore, resulting in five published novels.

Although these captured sea adventures proved fluid, the monetary rewards from their sales amounted to little more than a trickle.

Returning to the location of his childhood visits, Melville took his family to Pittsfield in the summer of 1850 for a hiatus from New York's heat and noise, and compulsively purchased the farm he allegedly named "Arrowhead: after the native artifacts he unearthed while plowing his fields.

With the sea in his blood, it never failed to flow on land, particularly in his second floor library / study, which served as a refuge from the other chaotic house he shared with his mother, sisters, and, of course, his own family .

Tickets for house tours are available in the Visitor Center / gift shop behind it.

Although the area provided ample inspiration and material, woven, like threads, through his literary expressions, the farmhouse itself-and, specifically, the dining room-served as the basis of a narrative entitled, "I and My Chimney," which focused on the efforts of a wife to replace it with a grand hallway. Words from that story have since been painted on it, as testament to his own wife's struggles to do so, but as his own successful triumph over them. Neverheless, the tale includes the most complete description of the house.

The likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Oliver Wendell Holmes were entertained in the north parlor, which features a second, smaller fireplace and a table complete with a tea set.

Although Melville's wife wrote all of her correspondence in the second floor bed chamber, it was the study across from it in which Herman himself realized his literary stature, particularly while staring at the window-framed view of Mount Greylock.

Since its landlocked location, it served to mentally transport him to the sea. "I have a sort of sea feeling here in the country …," he wrote in December of 1850. "My room sees a ship's cabin, and at night, when I wake up and hear the winds shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, and I had better go on the roof and rig the chimney. "

His nautical imagery did not end there, however. Indeed, inspired by the mountain's imposing view during the winter, which snow-covered profile reminded him of a great white sperm whale's back breaking the ocean's surface, he created the now-famous classic novel, Moby Dick, which he originally intended to call, simply, The Whale.

The impulsiveness exercised to acquire the house, which apparently bypassed logic, provided the catalyst to his creativity, as the 13 years he spent at Arrowhead enabled him to soar as high in fame as the mountain which inspired it, prompting him to write four novels, almost all of his short stories, and begin a volume of poetry there.

The Mount:

Arrowhead was not the only famous residence from which prize-wining words flowed. Straddling the Pittsfield-Lenox line is The Mount, the autobiographical home of author Edith Wharton, which "… showcases her architectural and landscape design theories," according to the museum.

"Born into the privileged world of old New York, where, for women, social expectations eclipsed intellectual ambitions," it continued, "(she was) essentially self-educated (like Herman Melville) and was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the first … to receive an honorary doctorate of letters from Yale. "

Completing more than 40 books in 40 years, including best sellers such as The House of Mirth in 1905 and the New England classic, Ethan Frome, in 1911, she achieved literary fame.

Constructed itself in 1902 based upon the principles discussed in her 1897 work, The Decoration of Houses-which was co-authored by architect Ogden Codman, Jr.-The Mount is considered an autobiographical expression of her architectural and landscape design theories, and is today a National Historic landmark, only five percent of such designs awarded to women-related achievements.

Enamored with the Berkshires, she expressed her emotions to Codman in a letter when she wrote, "The truth is, I am in love with the place-climate, scenery, life, and all."

As had occurred with Herman Melville and Arrowhead, Edith Wharton drew inspiration from the Mount, whose effects were woven through her works. While Melville absorbed the view of Mount Greylock, she did the same with Laurel Lake and Laurel Pond.

Also like Arrowhead, conducted tours can be taken from the Wharton home, which she considered a personal house and not a grand mansion. "We have to make things beautiful," she wrote in The Decoration of Houses. "They do not grow so of themselves."

Transferring her innermost emotions into words here, she experienced considerable change, turmoil, and personal growth, despite the fact that her occupation of the house only spanned a decade, to 1911.

Characters, settings, plots, and dialogue that formed the basis of her best-selling books were captured on paper in her second floor bedroom, across the hall from her boudoir. Surrounded by her dogs, she wrote in the morning, using a board propped up by her knees, and folded completed, handwritten pages on the floor for later collection and typing by her maid.

The gardens, envisioned as a series of outdoor rooms and consisting of an Italian walled section, a French flower garden, an allee of linden trees, and a terraced lawn, extended her philosophy beyond inner space, enabling her to create a world of gracious beauty with which she could invigorate her creative spirit.

The Terrace Café, overlooking this natural beauty, is located on the house's main level, while the Pins and Pegs gift shop is on the ground floor.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum:

Although the Central Berkshire area is noted for the historic homes of now-famous authors, such as Herman Melville and Edith Wharton, a sightseeing deviation can be enjoyed at the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in Lenox.

Founded in 1984 as a tourist train, it takes up residence in the Lenox Station, which was one of three such area facilities, along with those of Lenox Dale and New Lenox, constructed in the mid-1850s for the Stockbridge and Pittsfield Railroad. Originally located at Housatonic and Capital streets, and previously used by the Housatonic and New York, New Haven, and Hartford rockets, it was claimed by fire on January 24, 1902 and replaced with a rustic fieldstone and stucco structure the following summer.

As other transportation modalities, particularly the automobile, replaced the railroads, its stations were often abandoned or employed for other purposes-in this case, a construction company purchased the building in October of 1968 and used it as a motor repair shop and storage facility, ultimately donating it to the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in 1985. After extensive renovation, it was accepted on the National Register of Historic Places six years later.

Although loss of track usage rights forced it to cancel its ten-mile scenic tourist excursions to Stockbridge, its station building, which features exhibits, a model railroad layout, and a gift shop, can be viewed and a brief rail yard ride, made by an engine and caboose, enables the visitor to climb aboard and inspect is rolling stock.

A 50-ton General Electric diesel-electric industrial switcher, built in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1957 and donated by the United Illuminating Company of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1986 is standardly used for the sprint between the station and the yard.

Eight Pullman Standard coaches, constructed between 1911 and 1925, provided steam engine-propelled suburban service from Hoboken to northern New Jersey points, when they were operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, despite 1920s conversions for multiple unit controls permitted electric service to be endeaken after this time.

Retired in 1984 from New Jersey Transit service, prior to which they had also been used by the Erie Lackawanna and Conrail, they were greeted by the Berkshire Scenic Railway.

Caboose C-591, which is also boardable, was constructed in 1942 by the Pullman Standard Company in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was operated as an NE-5 class car by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad and, later, by Penn Central and Conrail. Considered "home" for several days, it housed a freight train conductor and rear-end brakeman, who sat in its cupola to watch for burning axles and other anomalies, cooking on its coal stove and sleeping in its two bunks. A sink and toilet completed its accommodation.


A few miles south of Lenox is Stockbridge, another Central Berkshire town immortalized by a famous artist-in this case, Norman Rockwell.

Incorporated in 1739, Stockbridge itself took root as an Indian mission settlement, then developed into a wealthy summer residence during the Gilded Age, and finally became the picturesque New England snapshot Rockwell endearingly captured on canvas and in publications that it is today.

Many of the views and images he saw can still be glimpsed. The 19th-century Village Green, for example, is the site of the 1824 Congregational Church, while summer mansions built by wealthy industrialists line Main street as you travel west on it. The Stockbridge Library, one of the state's oldest, was constructed in 1864, and its left wing constituents its original structure.

One of the Berkshire Theater Group's two campuses is located here, the other being in Pittsfield. Home to the Berkshire Theater Festival, it offers performances at three Stockbridge venues: the 408-seat Fitzpatrick Main Stage, the 122-seat Unicorn Theater, and the recently introduced, outdoor Neil Ellenoff Stage.

Hawthorne Cottage, which is slightly north of town, is the home in which Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The House of the Seven Gables between 1850 and 1851.

Red Lion Inn:

One of Stockbridge's oldest buildings and currently a landmark, the Red Lion Inn, located on the corner of Route 7 and Route 102 / Main Street, traces its roots to the small tavern Silas Pepoon established under the sign of the Red Lion in 1773. Progressively enlarged in 1848, when it was known as Stockbridge House, and 36 years later, when a raised roof facilitated the addition of a third floor, it was able to boast a guest room total of 100.

Rebuilt in 1897 after fire consumed the original structure renamed Ye Red Lion Inn the previous year, it opened its doors in the winter for the first time in 1955.

Today, this white-painted, porch-lined landmark offers 125 antique-filled rooms and nine village guest houses; serves American and traditional New England fare in its Main Dining Room, Widow Bingham's Tavern and the Lion's Den, and at a seasonal Outdoor Courtyard; and boasts live entertainment and Berkshire-made products in its gift shop.

"In a lovely Berkshire Hills town that was once a village," it totes itself, "on a street that was once a stagecoach road, the gracious, historic Red Lion Inn bids you a warm welcome."

Norman Rockwell Museum:

The Red Lion Inn, along with numerous other Stockbridge and area streets and structures, can be seen frozen in time at the world class Norman Rockwell Museum.

Born, like many Berkshire-synonymous artists, in New York City-in this case, in 1894-Rockwell himself, always aware that his life's destination was art, thought to pave an early path to it, attending the New York School of Art, the National Academy of Design, and the Art Students League. Commencing his career as a freelance illustrator, he initially submitted his work to youth-oriented publications, such as Boys' Life, and later to those catering to more mature readers, including Life, Literary Digest, Country Gentleman, and the one for which he was most famous, The Saturday Evening Post, which he claimed as the "greatest show window in America." His work historically graced 321 other covers over a 47-year period.

Moving from Arlington, Vermont, to Stockbridge in 1993, he spent the last 25 years of his life there, all but one of which was in his downtown studio, which was subjectively relocated to the present 36-acre museum site overlooking the Housatonic River Valley .

"Founded in 1969," according to the facility, "with the help of Norman and Molly Rockwell, the Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of Rockwell's work and contributions to society, popular culture, and social commentary. The museum, which is accredited by the American Association of Museums, is the most popular year-round cultural attraction in the Berkshires. "

Its modern gallery, designed by architect Robert AM Stern, contains "the world's largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art (encompassing 998 original paintings and drawings), including beloved works for the Saturday Evening Post, the iconic Four Freedoms, and inspiring later work, which explored social issues of the day. "

Named the official state artist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2008, Rockwell succinctly expressed his painting and illustrating philosophy when he said, "Without thinking too much about it in particular terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. "

Perhaps his most famous work, in the museum's first Norman Rockwell Collection gallery, is "Home for Christmas," the 1967 oil on canvas which takes the viewer on a Christmas Eve walk on Stockbridge's Main Street past the Red Lion Inn, the public library, and mansions.

A recent temporary exhibition, "The Unknown Hopper: Edward Hopper as Illustrator," offered a study of the mostly unknown, 20-year illustrative career of this realist master.

"In every artist's development the germ of the later work is always found in the earlier …," he said. "What he was once, he always is, with slight modification. Changing fashions in methods or subject matter may alter him little or not at all."

Rockwell's studio, Linwood Cottage, features his furnishings, library, and original art materials, while the museum grounds are enhanced with outdoor sculptures crafted by his son, Peter.

6. Southern Berkshires:

Great Barrington:

Great Barrington, with its restaurant-, crafts store-, and antique shop-lined Main Street, and name-recognizable area hotels, such as the Holiday Inn Express and Marriott's Fairfield Inn, serves as the tourist center and thus unofficial hub of the Southern Berkshires. It nevertheless offers an array of performing arts venues, with the Berkshire Opera Company, the Barrington Stage Company, and the Aston Magna Festival.

Monument Mountain:

The Southern Berkshires' principle natural attraction is Monument Mountain, which trails are accessible from Route 7.

Never failing, like other such regional sights, to attract later-famous authors – who themselves were inspired to include it in their writings – it was first captured in 1815 when William Cullen Bryant penned a story about a Mohican woman who leaped to her death from its Squaw Peak in the simplistically entitled "Monument Mountain."

Inter-literati verses flowed as easily as the champagne that oiled them 35 years later when Herman Melville met and climbed with Nathaniel Hawthorne, their inspirations sparked by the thunder and lightning intermittently igniting the sky between sips.

Today, three trails lead through the 503-acre open reservation-the 1.51-mile Indian Monument, the 0.83-mile Hickey, and the 0.62-mile Squaw Peak trails, the latter of which connects with the former two and leads to the 1,642-foot summit, affording views of the Housatonic River Valley, the Southern Berkshires, Mount Greylock in the north, and the Catskills in the west.

Source by Robert Waldvogel

15 August 1945: USS Concord Fires Last Shot of WWII – 15 August 2015 Marks the 70th Anniversary

Other war ships claimed to have fired the last shot of World War II, but that distinction goes to the USS Concord CL-10, a four-stack light cruiser named for the Massachusetts town where the first ordered shot of the American Revolution- "the shot heard 'round the world "-was fired.

"I had no idea I was present for this historic event," Thaddeus Buczko of Salem, Massachusetts, told me in a recent interview, "until I read about it many years later in a veterans' magazine." At the time, 19-year-old Buczko was serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Bearss (pronounced "barce"). The Bearss was one of the destroyers that tasked Task Force 92 serving in the Northern Pacific Ocean, along with the light cruisers Concord, Richmond, and Trenton.

By 15 August 1945, Nazi Germany had surrendered to the Allied Forces in Europe (8 May), and atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki, Japan (9 August). Did Buczko and his shipmates have a sense that the war was ending? "No," Buczko says. "We heard that the Germans had submitted, but we were all the way over in the Pacific. We were still at war. to happen next. We were still under orders. "

On 15 August 1945, Task Force 92 bombarded shipping and shore installations in the Japanese Kuril Islands. The Concord was tasked with opening fire on Shasukotan Island, firing "salvo after salvo" with her six-inch "twin guns" and the five-inch guns of the Task Force's destroyers, including the Bearss , according to the account by Fred A. Lumb that Thaddeus Buczko read years later.

Lumb continues: "At last Capt. CA Rumble, commanding the Concord and the little task group, cave the ceasefire order. in forward fire control, saw to it that one more round was fired by the Concord. "Because the last shot had mis-fired just before the ceasefire went into effect, the ship had to receive special permission from the Task Force Commander to fire one last time rather than retrieve the ammunition manually. That was the last shot of the war.

Ensign Robert P. Crossley of the Concord described what happened next: "News of Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Surrender terms … was received aboard the Concord by radio as she steamed toward the Aleutians following the Navy's final offensive strike against Japanese territory .. The shot heard 'round the world from the Musket of the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington on April 19, 1775 had re-echoed with even greater fury and meaning as this proud bearer of the minuteman tradition fired the final naval gun salvo of World War II, a few seconds after 8:06 pm (Japan time). "

Fred Lumb concludes: "Within the hour, Ens. Robert Crossley was in the coding room, just off the radio shack, typing Concord's claim to having fired the last American shot of the war." The Navy soon verified their claim.

The crew aboard the Bearss received the news of Japan's surrender by loud speaker, with very few details. Buczko recalls, "Even when we were informed that the Japanese had surrendered, we surprised if the Japanese ships and pilots out there knew it.

As for hearing the war was over? "We were all just matter-of-fact," Buczko says. We were very tired. There was no elation, no jubilation, like you hear about everyone in the States. "In the Aleutian Islands, the Bearss and the Concord repaired damage to the ships, re-supplied, re-armed, and prepared for orders. boarding parties. "We knew we were going in," Buczko explains, "but we did not know when or how."

On 2 September 1945, the Japanese and Americans signed the official surrender document aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

In the Aleutian Islands, orders came for the Bearss and the Hood, another destroyer in the Task Force, to rendezvous with a Japanese ship carrying the emissaries who would sign US Naval Emergency Occupation Order No. 1. The Order would turn over the Ominato Guard District Area to the United States, specifically: "That portion of the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido between Latitudes Forty Degrees and Thirty minutes and Forty-two Degrees North and between Longitudes 139 degrees and 142 degrees East is bareby declared the Ominato Guard District Emergency Occupation Zone. "

The Bearss and Hood rendezvoused with the Japanese delegation's ship in the Tsugaru Straits, "a fifteen-mile-wide body of water separating the northern coast of Honshu and the Island of Hokkaido," Quartermaster Edwin E. Douglass wrote in his account of the day .

QM Douglass continues: "The Japanese crew had painted a white cross on their ship's funnel, the emblem of surrender. us assurance her intentions were strictly peaceful loving. " Even so, while one of the Hood's small boats went out to transport the emissions to the Bearss, the Bearss and the Hood circled the Japanese ship, guns trained on their potential target. The Bearss also took on US Marines and media personnel. While everyone boarded the Bearss , Buczko was top-side manning two 36 "search lights, observing it all, but having" no idea of ​​what was going on, "he remembers.

The Japanese ship guided the Bears and the Hood through the heavily mined Tsugaru Straights into Matsu Bay for occupation duty. "When we plunged in," Buczko recalls, "I remember observing Japanese people abandoning the city in haste for the mountains, carry their belongings or using anything with wheels. I think there were in fear of the occupation forces."

The United States and Japan signed Emergency Occupation Order No. 1 on 9 September 1945 aboard the USS Panamint , the flagship of Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander, North Pacific Force and Area. Among the Order's instructions, the Japanese would provide:

  • Lists of all Japanese "land, air, and anti-craft units, showing locations and strength in officers and men"
  • Lists of all aircraft (military, naval, and civil), naval vessels, and merchant ships, their type, condition, and locations
  • Detailed information, including maps, of "all mines, minefields and other obstacles to movement by land, sea or air"
  • "Locations and descriptions of all military installations and establishments … together with plans and drawings of all such regulations, installations and establishments"
  • "Locations of all camps and other places of detention of all United Nations prisoners of war"

Further stipulations concerned minesweeping, and the provision of transportation, labor, materials, and facilities as directed by Admiral Fletcher.

In his introductory remarks to the Occupation Order, Admiral Fletcher expressed his hope that the occupation would proceed without "any incident that would only increase the sufferings of the Japanese people."

Concluding his personal account of the signing, QM Douglass wrote: "Another drastic and useless war had ended, another lesson had been learned testifying that man wraps himself in a blanket of ideas and luxuries, then with a match sets the world on fire, finding he was destroying him as well with the seeking of leadership and fame. "

The officers and crew of the Bearss held a flag raising ceremony at the Ominato Base. QM Douglass observed, "The ancient empire today stands to benefit the flags of the United Nations." A destroyer and her crew received a 'well done' as the stars and stripes were raised over Ominato, proving that nations combined would be oppress all who intend to destroy the human race. "

Heading Home and Conclusions

After a period of occupation duty, the USS Concord sailed for Boston to participate in Navy Day on 27 October 1945. According to the Navy, she was the first Navy cruiser named for a Massachusetts city or town to visit the Commonwealth since the surrender of Japan . Some 18,000 people lined up in Boston to board the ship and view the turret of the "twin six" that fired the last shot of the war. (The gun and mount are now on view at the Naval Museum in Washington, DC) Visitors also saw a bronze replica of the famous Concord Minuteman Statue, a memento of the first "shot heard 'round the world" of the Revolutionary War and the ship's "mascot."

The Concord received one Battle Star for her service in the Kuril Islands Operation. After visiting Boston, she returned to her home port of Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 12 December 1945 and sold 21 January 1947.

Following her occupation duty, the USS Bears sailed for Hakodate, Hokkaido, to Yokosuka in Tokyo Bay, and then returned to the States via the destroyer base in Hawaii to San Diego, California. From there, the Bearss passed through the Panama Canal and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, on 23 December 1945. She had participated in eight sea strikes with no cruelties. The Bearss was brought back into service in 1951, decommissioned in 1963, and historically sold for scrap.

After a 30-day leave, allowing him to return home to Salem for Christmas of 1945, Thaddeus Buczko (today, age 89) was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Midway until he retired from active duty.

He went on to receive a BA from Norwich University (with honors) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. While pursuing his law degree at Boston University, in June 1949 Buczko was commissioned by the US Army to serve as a Reserve Officer with the 304th Armored Calvary Regiment. He was recalled to active duty in 1952, during the Korean War, where he served as a Unit Tank Commander with the 3rd Armored Division and as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate for the Division. After the war, Buczko served with Civil Affairs units (military government). He commanded the 357th Civil Affairs Area B Headquarters. He also served as Chief of Staff of the 94th Army Reserve Command, which was supervised of more than 12,000 citizen-soldier reservists in over 100 reserve units in New England. In 1979, Buczko retired at the rank of Colonel after 30 years of service in the Army. For his service, he received the Legion of Merit medal.

Thaddeus Buczko has served as a Salem City Councilor, Massachusetts State Representative, Post Master of Salem (appointed by President John F. Kennedy), Massachusetts State Auditor, and First Justice of the Essex County Probate and Family Court. He is credited with bringing Pope John Paul II to Boston in 1979. He continues to stay in Salem.

Source by Bonnie Hurd Smith

Hand-Colored Photographs by Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers

Although Wallace Nutting was widely recognized as the country’s leading producer of hand-colored photographs during the early 20th century, he was by no means the only photographer selling this style of picture. Throughout the country literally hundreds of regional photographers were selling hand-colored photographs from their home regions or travels. The subject matter of these photographers was very comparable to Nutting’s, including Interior, Exterior, Foreign, and Miscellaneous Unusual scenes. The key determinants of value include the collectability of the particular photographer, subject matter, size, and of course condition. Keep in mind that only the rarest pictures, in the best condition, will bring top prices. Discoloration and/or damage to the picture or matting can reduce value significantly.

Major Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers: Several photographers operated large businesses and, although not as large or well-known as Nutting, they sold a substantial volume of pictures which can still be readily found today. The vast majority of their work was photographed in their home regions and sold primarily to local residents or visiting tourists. And it should come as little surprise that 3 of the major Wallace Nutting-Like photographers… David Davidson, Fred Thompson, and Charles Sawyer…each had ties to Nutting.

  • David Davidson: Second to Nutting in overall production, Davidson worked primarily in the Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts area. While a student at Brown University around 1900, Davidson learned the art of hand-colored photography directly from Nutting, who happened to be the Minister at Davidson’s Providence RI church. After Nutting moved to Southbury in 1905, Davidson graduated from Brown and started a successful photography business in Providence which he operated until his death in 1967.
  • Charles Sawyer: A father & son team, Charles H. Sawyer and Harold B. Sawyer, operated the very successful Sawyer Art Company from 1903-1970’s. Beginning in Farmington ME, the Sawyer Art Company moved to Concord NH in 1920 to be nearer their primary market of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Charles Sawyer briefly worked for Nutting in 1902-03 while living in southern Maine. Sawyer’s production volume ranks #3 behind Nutting and Davidson.
  • Fred Thompson: Frederick H. Thompson and Frederick M. Thompson were another father and son team that operated the Thompson Art Company (TACO) from 1908-1923, working primarily in the Portland, ME area. We know that Thompson and Nutting had collaborated because Thompson widely marketed an Interior scene he had taken in Nutting’s Southbury home. The production volume of the Thompson Art Company ranks #4 behind Nutting, Davidson, and Sawyer.
  • Charles Higgins: Working out of Bath Maine, some of Higgins finest pictures rivaled Nutting’s best. No firm connection has been found between Higgins and Nutting.

Minor Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers: Hundreds of other smaller local and regional photographers attempted to market hand-colored pictures comparable to Wallace Nutting’s during the 1900-1930’s time period. Although quite attractive, most were not as appealing to the general public as Wallace Nutting pictures. However, as the price of Wallace Nutting pictures has escalated, the work of these lesser-known Wallace Nutting-Like photographers have become increasingly collectible.

A partial listing of some of these minor Wallace Nutting-Like Photographers include: Babcock; J.Carleton Bicknell; Blair; Ralph Blood (Portland, ME); Bragg; Brehmer; Brooks; Burrowes; Busch; Royal Carlock; Pedro Cacciola; Croft; Currier; Depue Bros; Derek; Dowly; Eddy; May Farini (hand-colored Colonial lithographs); Geo. Forest; Gandara; H. Marshall Gardner (Nantucket, Bermuda, Florida); Gibson; Gideon; Gunn; Bessie Pease Gutmann (hand-colored Colonial Lithographs); Edward Guy; Harris; C. Hazen; Knoffe; F. Jay Haynes (Yellowstone Park); Margaret Hennesey; Hodges; Homer; Krabel; Kattleman; La Bushe; Lake; Lamson (Portland ME); M. Lightstrum; Machering; Rossiler; Mackinae; Merrill; Meyers; William Moehring; Moran; Murrey; Lyman Nelson; J. Robinson Neville (New England); Patterson; Owen Perry; Phelps; Phinney; Reynolds; F. Robbins; Royce; Fred’k Scheetz (Phila, PA); Shelton; Harry L. Standley (Colorado); Stott; Summers; Esther Svenson; Florence Thompson; Thomas Thompson; M.A. Trott; Sanford Tull; Underhill; Villar; Ward; Wilmot; Edith Wilson; Wright.

The same guidelines that apply to Nutting pictures typically apply to Nutting-Like pictures as well:

  • Exterior Scenes are the most common.
  • Some photographers sold colonial Interior scenes as well.
  • Subject Matter, Condition, and Size are all important determinants of value.

References Books:

  • The Collectors Guide to Early 20th Century Hand-Painted Photography, by Michael Ivankovich, 250 pgs, illustrated with pricing information.
  • The Hand-Painted Photographs of Charles Henry Sawyer, by Carol Begley Gray, Michael Ivankovich & John Peters, 60 pgs, illustrated with pricing information.

The Wallace Nutting Collector’s Club: Established in 1973, the Wallace Nutting Collectors Club holds annual conventions, usually in the northeastern portion of the country. Since there are no collectors clubs specifically dedicated to the works of any of the other photographers, collectors generally gravitate to the Wallace Nutting Collectors Club for information on early 20th century hand-colored photography.

Source by Michael Ivankovich

Trespasser by Paul Doiron – Mystery-Thriller Book Review – Asian Murder, ATV Adventure, and Amore

Twenty-five-year-old Mike Bowditch is a passionate Maine state game warden. It's been seven months since the ordale with his father, Jack Bowditch at Rum Pond (considering reading Doiron's award-nominated debut novel, The Poacher's Son as a preface to Trespasser ).

Bowditch responds to a dispatcher's call to investigate a deer / car collision on Parker Point Road. He arrives to find a damaged, red, rental sedan, and deer bloodstains in the middle of the road, but no driver, no deer.

What happened to the driver and the deer? Who anonymously alerted the authorities from the pay phone at Smitty's garage two miles away about the accident?

The rental car agreement found in the glove compartment indicative the current driver as Ashley Kim, 23, from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

State trooper, Curt Hutchins arrives at the scene soon after Bowditch. He assures him that he'll continue pursuit of Kim, now that it's a state police matter. Bowditch is skeptical. Something's not right and Bowditch knows it.

Bowditch is compelled to do his own investigation of Ashley Kim's disappearance. He joins the help of town clerk, MaryBeth Fickett and legendary, retired warden pilot, Charley Stevens. Stevens befriended Bowditch during his search for his father.

Fickett discovers that Hans Westergaard owns a summer home not far from the accident site. Westergaard is also from Cambridge, Massachusetts and a Harvard Business School professor. The Kim / Westergaard connection is too close to ignore. Bowditch calls Westergaard's wife, Jill, and learners that Kim was her husband's research assistant. She informs him too, that Hans left for a conference the day before and has not been heard from since.

Bowditch and Stevens explore the massive, oceanfront Westergaard home where they discover the mutilated corpse of Ashley Kim. The killer had carved the word SLUT on her body. With no sign of Westergaard, early suspensions focus on a romantic relationship between the two gone sour.

Seven years ago, Earland Jefferts, an affable, handsome, former lobsterman, was convicted of murdering twenty-year old, Nikki Donatelli. The crime occurred on a hot July night after drinking and seduction at the Harpoon Bar. Interestingly, Bowditch learns that Donatelli's body also had the word SLUT carved into her body.

The J-Team, led by Jeffert's aunt, Lou Bates, is determined to win him a new trial; convinced the prosecution did a botched job of presenting the evidence. They approach Bowditch about joining their mission. He initially Declines. But, given the similarities between the Kim / Donatelli murderers, he finds himself drawn into investigating Jeffert's conviction.

Danica Marshall is the Assistant Attorney General who helped prosecute Earland Jefferts. Often referred to as "courthouse sex symbol," and "Black Widow," she warns Bowditch to stop investigating Ashley Kim's death, and revisiting the details of Jeffert's conviction.

The Square Deal Diner is the town's gossip hub. Upon entering, Bowditch has been the topic of conversation, both during his father's disappearance and Ashley Kim's murder.

Adventure accentuates Trespasser, as Bowditch engages in a death-defying ATV chase on an ice-filled, snow-driven night to lure local Calvin Barter. Bowditch is sure he's the culprit who ATV tracks have been ruining neighbor, Hank Varnum's property: "I shifted into a lower gear and gassed it, aiming for as much momentum as possible and hoping to hell my wheels did not lose traction on the icy surface. "

Bowditch met his live-in girlfriend, Sarah, during college. After her affluent upbringing, she was attracted to his raw, love for the outdoors. "She recognized something feral underneath my clean-cut exterior, and like many good girls from proper families, she was aroused by the scourge of danger."

His affinity for danger, both during the search for his father and now in the Ashley Kim murder investigation, have take its toll on their relationship. Her tolerance for his availability, both physically and emotionally, has peaked, especially now that she's secretly pregnant.

Well-written fiction mirrors reality, often presenting insightful dialogue. One of the best lines in Trespasser worth contemplating is "You never really know someone until they're no longer in your life."

If you enjoy reading crime fiction, you'll appreciate Doiron's newish voice. It's one that's sure to become more recognizable over time.

The 2012 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, October 4-7. To learn more about this gathering of some of the world's best crime fiction writers, visit: http://bouchercon2012.com/

Source by Timothy Zaun

Tribute to a Coach

He always seemed just a bit ticked off.

Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn’t.

Whatever was going on inside him, he commanded respect. Fear, it seems, trumps all the other motivators…and I think it’s fair to say that we were all just a bit intimidated by Coach Gerard Leone.

For one example, even today, even after his recent passing from cancer at the age of 72, I’m reluctant to call him “Jerry” as he once warned us never to do after our football careers were over. That’s because I’ve seen him furious before…and don’t totally trust the line between life and death as being anything that could effectively restrain him.

Coach Leone was Franklin, Massachusetts’ most successful high school coach. At least he was to the best of my knowledge. I don’t know of any other FHS coach who could boast a 32 game winning streak. It was impressively long in an extremely competitive high school football league. Historically long, in fact — at the time, it set a Massachusetts’ schoolboy record. One of the Attleboros — either the Red Rocketeers or Blue Bombardiers — eventually broke it, I think.

He left FHS a while after the streak, but returned to win an in-state Super Bowl for Franklin in 1983, showing that he hadn’t lost his touch. Too bad they didn’t have those Super Bowls when we played.

The guy was tough, and it was no act. He grew up in the Whiskey Point section of Brookline…not some sleepy Massachusetts suburb somewhere. I remember approaching him one fall day after one of the math classes he taught. We were in an empty classroom, and he was dressed in a coat and tie, looking perfectly civilized. Not having any inkling of what I was about to do, I proceeded to ask him for the day off under the mistaken belief that having a softball-sized boil on my knee qualified me to skip practice. Unfortunately he saw this as just another lame excuse and blew up. “You can’t afford to skip practice today,” he informed me in his ominous “I’m perturbed” tone, “but if you do, go ahead and skip the rest of the season too.”

It was a real turning point for me.

There didn’t seem to be any good reason to stay on the team. Practice was rough enough as it was but now here was the coach literally inviting me to quit…something that would have been all too easy to do that day. I was getting treated unfairly. That much was clear. The guy had to be nuts. That’s what I thought, at least.

Fortunately for me, I went ahead and practiced that day. I didn’t quit. I wasn’t “all in” for a week or so, but I didn’t quit.

That junior year (1968) was a rough one for us — and the country. First Martin Luther King was assassinated in April then Robert Kennedy was murdered in June; there were race riots and war protests; Vietnam’s number of KIAs, WIAs, MIAs and POWs kept mounting; and, maybe as another dark omen (albeit of lesser magnitude), one of America’s most beloved sports heroes ever, Mickey Mantle, played his final season. The nation’s atmosphere was dark and doubtful.

We lost every game except the last two that dismal year; we tied the next to the last contest then beat neighboring King Philip in a Thanksgiving Day thriller to stay mercifully out of the cellar.

I remember being injured much of the season (a sprained ankle that masked a fracture) and slogging from one miserable loss to another. But none of us quit. And Coach Leone didn’t baby us, either. He didn’t say, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” He would never have uttered such nonsense. He just made us realize that if we really wanted to win, we were going to have to want it a lot more and work a whole lot harder than the other guys — a lesson that, as it turns out, happens to apply to every important goal in life.

And he wouldn’t let us dog it just because we were down and out. I think it was during that tough 1968 season when, near the end of a practice, during sprints, I caught a blur out of the corner of my eye. I turned: It looked like bigfoot getting blown up by an MX missile. Actually it was Coach Leone blasting across the field, tackling a lumbering lineman who was halfway through a sprint, a teammate much bigger than he was who must have thought he could get away with running those sprints at less than top speed. It was a beautiful tackle, I had to admit.

To me, it was trademark Coach Leone stuff.

At any rate, the incident only helped motivate us to work harder. The next season, with that 1968 character-building behind us, we picked up where we left off. The year looked more hopeful — man landed on the moon in July — and I was lucky enough to be elected one of the captains, validating my decision not to quit. As usual, Coach Leone’s practices were legendary — some players decided not to go on.

We cruised through the first game with Case (I still don’t know where that place is). Unfortunately the next game, Ipswich, was one that should never have been scheduled. At least that early in the season. As good as we were — and we were good — Ipswich was that much better at that moment in time. I can still see their star back galloping away from me.

Someone said they saw Coach Leone crying afterward. I don’t know.

I do know that the practice following that devastating loss was “memorable.” Pure savagery. Gladiator training school stuff. The coaches were not happy. I remember the poor helmet-framed face of my good friend, Mike Gilmore — just before planting my cleats squarely into it (into his facemask, actually). But he survived. We all survived. And no one called the ACLU.

Or the ASPCA.

The rest of the season could have been scripted in Hollywood. We simply didn’t lose again. A week later, we faced a tough North Attleboro team and our character was again tested…this time we were up to it. We mustered two goal-line stands on our way to an 8-0 win and — five wins later — to the championship Thanksgiving Day re-match between Franklin and King Philip, both of us undefeated, the previous year’s two worst teams, accounting for the first seven victories in that historic 32 game winning streak as well as the first of those three consecutive championships.

We got the ball rolling.

I actually saw Coach Leone smiling that victorious Thanksgiving day. Several times, in fact.

He had this spooky knack of knowing whether or not you were “giving 100 percent.” He simply wouldn’t settle for less, often using the Three Stooges’ expression, belly-bumping, to describe a mediocre effort. As the great UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, famously put it, “Don’t confuse activity for accomplishment” — something Coach Leone wholeheartedly believed.

And Coach could get us psyched up. At least he could get me psyched up before a game. I remember being in an altered state on Saturday mornings before we played (that’s right…we played on Saturdays not Friday nights). It was intense. I wouldn’t talk or do anything but stare out the door waiting for my ride to the school to show up. I had my favorite psych songs, of course, but there were no Walkmans or Ipods around to play them. Just albums.

Even so, I didn’t need music to get motivated.

He wasn’t one for excessive praise, either, and that was just fine. People get praised for too little these days. According to today’s standards, just about everyone deserves to be a hero. But a mere nod of his head could feel like a million bucks. And he had a good (if not somewhat concealed) sense of humor. I remember, after football season, competing in the quarter mile in track and accidentally bumping the runner ahead of me off his pace. Now, traditionally, track and field is a non-contact, non-violent sport. In this instance, however, my roller-derby version of the quarter mile just busted Coach up: I remember how hard he laughed.

He wasn’t perfect. None of us can lay claim to that. And he and Scott Hayden have had to deal with a monstrous tragedy after Scott’s life-changing spinal cord injury on the football field. Scott still heroically deals with it. But the thing is, when Coach Leone is remembered, it will probably be for the great contributions he’s made to the lives of hundreds of guys.

I’m certain I’m a far better man for not quitting his football team on that fall day in that empty Franklin High classroom in 1968. I wonder about it sometimes. Certainly quitting would have been easy to do that day…but what would it have done to me later in life? “Coach made me tougher,” Mike Gilmore admitted after I told him of his passing. “He gave me confidence.”

Coach Leone’s brand of no-excuse competition made all the members of his teams tougher and better prepared for life. I can’t imagine facing life any other way.

Thanks, Coach.

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that we were all just a bit intimidated by Coach Leone…but, more importantly, we loved the man and wouldn’t have wanted him any other way.

Source by Peter Giordano