Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rt. 47 to Sunderland

Lots of Places to Stop Along the Way

Jim and Judy stop for produce. Looks like someone snuck off to get some ice cream! We see you over there, Mister!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walkabout: Mt. Tom State Reservation

The Rise and Fall of Eyrie House, Holyoke, Mass.

1861 - Hiram Farnum & Wm Street leased 10 acres on the summit of Mt. Nonotuck, they built a 22 x 26' Hotel, the first two years of the lease were free, then $50.00 a month.
1861 July 4 - Opened & dedicated Eyrie House (Eagles Nest). Room & Board $1.00/day or $5.00 a week.
1861 August - Mr. Farum takes leave of the operation. Mr. Street becomes sole owner of Eyrie House.

1863 June 23 - Holyoke Cornet Band entertains a crowd of 200. Many similar concerts all year.
1864 May 23 - Hotel and grounds well received. Large crowds daily.
1866 June 2 - New Menagerie along summit paths enjoyed by all.

1868 June 16 - Average of 50 patrons a day enjoy the Hotels hospitality and fare.
1870 May 31 - Picnic Grove crowded to capacity. 125 people most days.
1872 June - Many Patrons return yearly for a week or two of pure mountain air

1875 May - First talk of inclined Railway to summit. Survey underway.
1876 June 3 - Steam Pump used to pump water up mountain to Hotel.
1877 June 30 - Construction started on Pavilion & Stable. Pavilion to hold 400 guests.

1878 June 1 - Enlargement of Hotel complete, now 40 x 49', more than 25 guest rooms.
1880 June 1 - Failure of Roller Skating in pavilion due to poor quality skates.
1881 June 1 - Another enlargement of Hotel, now 40 x 60'. 30 plus guest rooms.

1882 June 1 - Dining room seats 80, full menu 50 cents. Board now $8.00 per week.
1883 June 1 - All Promenades complete. Wires were strung and a telephone installed.
1885 May 30 - New Carriage Road to summit completed. Telephone removed (Too costly).

1887 May 30 - Many new animals added to Menagerie. Bear, Monkey & Alligator, etc.
1889 May 25 - Hotel & Grounds still enjoying large crowds. Clam bakes a real hit.
1891 June 6 - Enlarge patron Stable, now holds 40 horses. Windmill now pumping water to summit.

1893 May - Work on the new Hotel and inclined Railway begins (Now the rock ruins we have today).
1895 June 5 - Business fair, work on the new inclined Railway to Mt. Tom Junction continuing.
1897 - Business starting to drop off. New Mountain House on Mt. Tom the new public attraction.

1899 - Only annual Patrons and Picnics kept the Eyrie House going.
1901 Apr. 13 - Hotel, Pavilion & Stable burn to the ground, all is lost. Caused by negligence in cremation of several horses which had recently died.

1904 - The Mt. Tom Reservation Commissioners offered Mr. Street $5,000 for his property. Mr. Street wanted $25,000. Neither side would budge, so the Commissioners issued their check and took the property by eminent domain. Mr. Street never accepted the settlement, so the money was deposited in a bank in Mr. Street's name, where it remained till his death in 1918 at age 78.
Over the years, Mr. Street made 23 land purchases and accumulated approx. 100 acres of land near Mt. Nonotuck summit.

-- Text from sign on path leading to Eyrie House.
Photos by PCJ staffer Bob Genest