Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eye of Shawenon

The historical bond between Columbia County, North Egremont and Prospect Lake
by guest author Gary Leveille

Several of the border towns between Columbia County and Berkshire County have an amazing historical connection. The people who have lived here, and the events that took place here, are of regional and national significance.

For over 35 years author and historian Gary Leveille has been compiling research and collecting information about the amazing connections between neighboring “Yankees and Yorkers.” The historical bond between Egremont/Alford/Mount Washington and Columbia County communities goes back to the mid-1700s

From the very beginning, villages on both sides of the Taghkanick mountain range were part of a controversial land dispute between Massachusetts and New York. For the first time, the author fully uncovers and explores the puzzling land acquisitions by “Dutch” New Yorkers from Mohican Native Americans known as Spoor’s Grant and the Shawenon Purchase.

Few realize that a major Indian trail meandered through the area. Or the interesting role that the Stockbridge Mohicans played in the settlement of this land by Dutch and English. Or that a military road through Berkshire and Columbia brought critical supplies to thousands of troops in the 18th and early 19th century. Or that North Egremont was invaded by British troops in Hillsdale some ten years before the American Revolution!

Colonel Knox marched through here with his artillery train in 1776—changing the course of U.S. history. But which way did he go? From pioneers and explorers to soldiers and statesmen, authors and artists to eccentrics and rogues, inventors and engineers to farmers and shopkeepers, our borderline towns offer an abundance of fascinating characters.  

North Egremont’s beautiful Prospect Lake—the Eye of Shawenon—was practically adopted by generations of Columbia County residents as the place to go for summertime fun! This sparkling jewel is packed with more history per gallon than most other lakes in the Berkshires. Relive the bygone days when picnickers first frolicked here, early Baptist baptisms took place, a gold medal for heroism was awarded, and an unsolved murder took place. 

The events and people of these Columbia/Berkshire border towns have changed the course of history. Look inside and see for yourself.

300 pages. Hundreds of vintage photos, maps and illustrations, ISBN 978-1-4507-8345-

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