1700-1780 History Available

John has put the next installments of a Mill River History up for your review and comments.  Here are Part 6A: Introduction and Part 6B: Dams, Mills, Floods and the Fishery. 

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2015 Plans for MRGI

Happy New Year!

We three co-moderators at the Mill River Greenway Initiative — Gaby, Neal, and John — wish you all the very best for what we expect to be a really exciting 2015. So let’s get to our plans for this coming year.

  1. Having completed a successful series of riverwalks in 2014, we plan to do it all again in 2015 and will have a schedule available in March.
  2. The Leeds Greenway Committee of the Leeds Civic Association will lead the way by publishing the 2nd in our series of self-guided tours when they publish a Leeds riverwalk with the help of Smith College students.
  3. The Bay State Greenway Committee of the Bay State Neighborhood Association will continue its work on options for a path along the river and for National Historic Site status for the Clement St. Bridge.
  4. Burgy’s official Mill River Greenway Committee will continue its trailblazing work linking the Leeds section of the rail trail out to South Main Street in Haydenville and, eventually, across the Brassworks area and all the way to Williamsburg town center.
  5. We’re helping to organize public and private landowners including Smith College, Grow Food Northampton, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, and the City of Northampton, to work together in combating the spread of invasive plant species all along the river.
  6. We are beginning a new initiative to feature art and music on the Mill River through a program called ArtShed, the brainchild of Williamsburg resident and MRGI member Todd Lynch, who is a landscape designer and artist. This will be a series of juried art, music, and installation competitions open to artists/musicians/designers/architects at selected sites along the Mill River. A MRGI committee will be planning these events and seeking funding for presentation in spring 2016.
  7. With the lead help of MRGI member Alexander Papouchis, we will launch a program to develop curricular materials for K-12 about the natural and cultural history of the Mill River.
  8. We plan to have a multi-media presentation on the Mill River ready to provide at public occasions by June of 2015.
  9. UMass history professor David Glassberg will have students in his public history seminar prepare presentations on the Mill River for Northampton and Williamsburg audiences. The seminar will focus on interpretive materials for Mill River locations.
  10. MRGI members will be working on materials for an information kiosk that the City of Northampton will install at the new Florence Fields recreation site.

We look forward to working many of you in 2015. Please let us know if you are interested in contributing to any of the above projects! We are all volunteers are welcome your energy, ideas, and support. It looks like it’ll be a year full of fun.

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Todd Lynch’s Flotsam Weirs Video

Hey, folks, here’s Burgy’s own Todd Lynch in his video about the inimitable Flotsam Weirs at the junction of the Mill’s West and East Branches.  Check it out.  We’ll also put a link on the website under Art and Music.

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Bike Path Riding Conditions Website

Hey, folks, this just in from Nick Horton & Co. from Friends of Northampton Trails & Greenways — a website to check the condition of the bike path this winter!  The week of January 5 bodes ill, but what a great addition to the community!

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Mill River History — End of the 17th-Century Section

John has posted the last of Section 5 on the early European settlement to the end of the 17th century.  Stay tuned for the 18th —   Oh, how slowly does the hand of history move!

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Additions to Mill River History

Well, folks, John has finally gotten around to revising and adding to his Mill River history.  Parts 5A and 5B are now available here and here.  We’ll post more shortly.  Enjoy the bedtime reading, and please comment, suggest, or make corrections to this ongoing project.  Thanks.

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Leeds Walk Reprise! Saturday, November 8

We’re thrilled to announce that the Leeds Mill River Greenway Committee will be reprising their fascinating stroll through this historic mill village on Saturday, November 8 from 10-12.  There are very few spots left, so please reserve your place by emailing info@millrivergreenway.org

Heidi Stevens, Jason Johnson, Sue Carbin, and Penny Geis will lead the Leeds walk, telling tales of the great 1874 Flood and other stories.

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Williamsburg Reservoir Dam Walk 11/1/14

We’re excited about our upcoming river walk in Williamsburg, which will take us up to the old dam itself.

The walk will take place this Saturday, November 1 from 9:30am to 12:30pm.  For our regulars, please note the longer time frame this month to accommodate a packed agenda!

Please park in the Anne T. Dunphy School parking lot and walk to meet up on the front lawn of the Meekins Library, facing Florence Savings Bank.  We’ll be joined by local Landscape Artist/Architect Todd Lynch, who’ll introduce his Flotsam Weirs installation at the confluence of the west and east branches of the Mill River.

From there we’ll carpool in as few cars as possible up to Judd Lane, the trail head for the old dam.  Our guide for the dam walk will be the esteemed Eric Weber from Williamsburg Historical Society.

Back to the center of town by 12:30pm.  As always please let me know if you will NOT be able to make it to make room for other folks off the waiting list.

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Directions to Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

At summer’s end, we’re looking back on a wonderful series of walks and some great news that we’ll be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, what remains?  Well, here are directions to Todd Lynch’s fantastic “Flotsam Weirs,” which you might have seen in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  Take time to visit it, especially now that the leaves are falling.  (The bird’s nest, by the way, was placed there by an unnamed visitor.  You’re welcome to add your flotsam to the weirs.  Until soon, your co-moderators Gaby, Neal, and John.

Directions to Todd Lynch's Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

Directions to Todd Lynch’s Flotsam Weirs in Williamsburg

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Welcome Back to a Busy September

Welcome back from a cool, wet, lovely summer.  We’ve got a busy fall planned for the Mill River, starting with 3 (count ‘em — three) walks in September alone.  Here’s what’s coming your way:

Saturday, September 6, Riverwalk in Leeds, a wonderful historic village in Northampton, near the Northampton/Williamsburg town line, which dates back to the 18th century.  Heidi Stevens and Jason Johnson, founders of the Mill River Greenway Committee of the Leeds Civic Association, will lead us on a tour that will focus on the heyday of Leeds during the first three-quarters of the 19th century, with stops at the Old Nonotuck Woolen Mill and 3 other mill sites, the old post office and train depot, the Dimock mansion, the Hotel Bridge, and the memorial to the 1874 Flood that devastated Leeds.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please write us at info@millrivergreenway.org if you’d like too participate or to get on the waiting list.  If there is sufficient interest, Heidi and Jason will organize a repeat of this walk later in the fall.

Saturday, September 13th Todd Lynch’s Art Installation, “Flotsam Weirs,” in Williamsburg.  See below, posts on Aug. 5 and 6, for details.  You do not need to sign up for this walk to participate.

Saturday, September 20th, Florence II Riverwalk — Crimson & Clover Farm to Meadow St. Bridge.
        This walk from Crimson & Clover Farm on Spring St. to the Meadow St. Bridge combines historic and ecological information.  Laurie Sanders will talk about Mill River ecology as we travel along the river corridor, and Elizabeth Sharpe (In the Shadow of the Dam) will discuss the dramatic results of the 1874 Flood, which ended at what is now the farm and recreational fields in Florence.  There are very few places left for this walk, so please  please write us at info@millrivergreenway.org if you’d like to participate or to get on the waiting list.

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