Adams Overlook: A Town Tied to the Mountain

Adams Overlook: A Town Tied to the Mountain (HM1LME)

Location: Adams, MA 01220 Berkshire County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 38.093', W 73° 9.894'

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Mount Greylock State Reservation

Adams Overlook: A Town Tied to the Mountain
Mount Greylock State Reservation
Adams Overlook faces east, looking over the town of Adams to the Hoosac Range, a branch of the Berkshire Mountains. Named after Revolutionary War hero John Adams, the town long depended on Greylock's streams, which powered its textile and lumber mills. Equally important to Adams was Greylock's timber, cut to make charcoal, another power source. Today, with the mills closed, the town again relies on the mountain - a scenic landmark and recreational source.
Limestone and Farmland
Durable schist bedrock comprises the backbone of the mountain. Around it is softer marble and limestone, which eroded away, creating the valleys and foothills we see today. Nearly pure marble from the Adams quarry (above) is used in food, nutritional supplements, pharmaceutical and personal care products. The eroded marble also enriches the soil, creating farmland that since colonial times has supported livestock such as these Merino sheep (below).
View to Adams
Berkshire Mills
The Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company mill complex (above) in the center of Adams employed thousands of workers between its founding in 1889 and its closure in 1958. In this 1916 photograph (right) taken at Berkshire Mills by noted U.S. photographer Lewis Hine, a 14-year old girl spins cloth at her work station, winding the thread onto spools and bobbins like those shown below.
From Devastation to Conservation
In the mid-19th century, writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville both viewed Greylock as an emblem of nature's majesty - Melville dedicated his novel Pierre (1857) to the mountain. But as artists extolled its beauty, others were alarmed by its rapid deforestation (above, a postcard from 1910). The protection of Greylock, which gave us the reforested landscape we see today, was one of the first crusades - and first victories - of the new conservation movement.
Thoreau and Greylock
Among the first writers to visit Greylock as Henry David Thoreau, who slept on the summit - and woke to find himself alone, above "an ocean of mist, which . . . shut out every vestige of the earth" below. The celestial beauty of the sight helped spur Thoreau's belief in nature's profound ethical and spiritual value, a view that he laid out in works such as Walden (1854) and The Maine Woods (1864).
"It was such a country as we might see in dreams, with all the delights of paradise. There were immense snowy pastures, apparently smooth-shaven and firm, and shady vales between the vaporous mountains . . . . It was a favor for which to be forever silent to be shown this vision." - Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849
Placed ByMassachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 at 6:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 650460 N 4721902
Decimal Degrees42.63488333, -73.16490000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 38.093', W 73° 9.894'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 38' 5.58" N, 73° 9' 53.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)413
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Appalachian Trail, Adams MA 01220, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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