Thursday, November 3, 2011

32 Acres for Sale on Moody Bridge Road

Kestrel Land Trust has announced an appeal to save 32 acres of beautiful agricultural land on Moody Bridge Road. The trust has to raise $50,000 by December 31 as a down-payment for a loan on the money. If they can't raise the funds, the land will be sold for development. The lots are already listed for sale, going for $400,000 each.

Help preserve this land forever!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hadley Vodka Wins Double Gold Medal in San Francisco

V-One Vodka was one of only six liquors to win a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition! The company is based in Hadley, though the vodka is distilled in Poland. Apparently some of the spelt is grown in Hadley, though--perhaps if the profits increase substantially, the owner, Paul Kozub, will consider growing more here to support local agriculture?

That'd be nice!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Back, at long last, with an important post!

It's been a few months since I posted something here. To all four of my devoted followers, I do apologize.

I have some good news (if you haven't heard it already): a book was published last year commemorating Hadley's 350th birthday. Marla Miller, a UMass history professor, edited the volume, which includes essays on a number of topics (this list is partly based on Amazon's distinctions): archaeology; social, political, and cultural history; musical history (specifically Roger Sessions, which arguably fits into cultural history); a discussion of 17th-century wardrobes (which also probably fits into cultural
and/or social history,); and an essay on what has become known as the "Goffe Bible." I'm going to read that last essay first and get back to you on it. I love anything to do with the Regicides.

I'm sure you can find this volume, published by the UMass press, in any local store, but in case you can't, it's here on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

McCray's Farmland to Be Preserved

While trawling through the Republican's archives for articles about local land conservation and related topics, I stumbled across this piece about conservation in South Hadley from June 2009.

McCray's farm has long been the last dairy farm in South Hadley (to put this in some perspective, only 50 years ago there were 10), and years ago they diversified their farming "portfolio" to include a miniature golf course, a creamery, a zoo, and seasonal hay rides.

The McCrays are trying to put 95 acres of their land into a state preservation program, to keep it as is (farmland) in perpetuity. It's about time that more land in this still somewhat rustic part of town got preserved. Much of the surrounding land has been developed in the past 15 to 20 years, mostly with hideous McMansions (who thinks these beastly things are attractive?), but it used to be stunning--picturesque fields rolling all the way to the river. (Across the river in Holyoke, there is still a sign on I-91 for a place to pull over for a "scenic view"--this is the land that McCray partly owns. Much of hasn't been scenic for years.)

Here's to hoping this plan goes through (if it hasn't already!).

Monday, November 30, 2009

16% of Hadley's Land is Preserved

I wanted to jump back a few months and highlight an article that ran in the Springfield Republican. The article covered an event commemorating the number of pastoral acres preserved in the town passing 2400. 16% is huge, and the number has increased slightly since then, as over 60 acres were added to a land trust in August.

Let's hope that as the economy picks up and momentum in the housing industry gets stronger, this drive towards preservation will continue.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Daily Hampshire Gazette Supports Hadley's inclusion on the WMF Watch

Yesterday's leading opinion piece from the editorial board of the Daily Hampshire Gazette was a wonderfully well-written piece about Hadley's inclusion on the World Monuments Fund's 2010 Watch list of endangered heritage sites.

I don't think I can produce the piece verbatim here because of copyright laws, but here are some excerpts:

Hadley has long been known for its productive farmland and perhaps less for its history, though it can make a few claims on the latter subject. For one, the town is the birthplace of Civil War general Joseph Hooker, whose Union forces were trounced at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. And two regicides from the English Civil War, William Goffe and Edward Whalley, hid in colonial Hadley in the 17th century, giving birth to the "Angel of Hadley" legend in which Goffe allegedly emerged from hiding to help save the settlement from an Indian attack in 1675.

But recently, news arrived that seemed to merge Hadley's farmland and its history. The World Monuments Fund, a private organization dedicated to saving landmarks around the world, included a section of Hadley on a list of 93 sites in 47 countries it believes need to be preserved. The New York-based group cited the "cultural landscape of Hadley, Mass." as a value that deserves protection...

...A program coordinator for the World Monuments Fund told the Gazette the organization wants to work with local land preservation groups to prevent the Great Meadow from being developed, "not to museum-ify it, but to find out how it can be preserved as farmland."

At first glance, the Great Meadow's inclusion in the group's list seems curious, seeing as many if not most of the landmarks listed date back hundreds, even thousands of years. For example, the list includes Peru's famous Incan ruins, Machu Picchu, as well as a medieval Spanish town, castle ruins in Uzbekistan over 1,300 years old and ancient petroglyphs in Pakistan...

...Though the history of European settlement in this country can't compete with the longevity of many places around the globe, that doesn't disqualify sites such as the Great Meadow from consideration as a place of historic and cultural value. If anything, the inclusion of the Hadley land on the World Monuments Fund list corroborates what many local land preservationists have said for years: It's vital to protect farmland and open space in the Valley...

...There does not appear to be any immediate threat to development in the Great Meadow, even though much of the land is zoned for it. We hope this kind of national recognition will aid local conservation groups such as the Kestrel Trust - which helped protect some of the Great Meadow - attract more resources for preserving additional acreage.

The Great Meadow and Machu Picchu on the same list? If that might help preserve a historic part of Hadley and, more importantly, some first-rate farmland, why not?

Thank you, Daily Hampshire Gazette!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Publicity from Watch-Listing!

A few updates:

Hadley's Great Meadow and the Route 47 Scenic Byway (together encompassing the part of the "cultural landscape" included on the WMF Watch) have received some good coverage recently due to their inclusion on the Watch.

Aside from the front-page story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a photo of Hadley made it onto a slideshow on BBC News's homepage (which, incidentally, was the #2 most read story at one point!). It was also included in National Geographic! Thousands and thousands more people around the world now know about Hadley.

Let's hope the attention continues to focus on Hadley so that more and more people in the US and abroad recognize the importance of saving the Great Meadow and the rest of the cultural landscape!