PUZZLE (advanced)


      The turnpike from Boston to Albany crossed the Housatonic River near Merriman's grist mill, and passed up the hill, over the Flat (Maple St.) to Peru and Boston. The old toll gate window is still in the home of William Gemmell and the twon well where families on the Flat got their pure cold water, may yet be seen at the Gemmell home between the main house and the ell.

      Ichabod Post, toll gate operator in the late 1700's was also a tanner and shoemaker. When the toll gate house was taken down , timbers were used to build, abut 1812 the present house, now occupied by the Gemmell family. The present home of Mrs. May Sayres, was built about 1812 and contained the Post Office and general store kept by Monroe and Obadiah Emmons. Over the store was Emmons Hall, which was used for gala occasions. West of the store was Mack's Tavern, built by John Talcott Mack before 1800. Two tailors, a hatter, and a cobbler also had shops on the Flat. Barber's visits were periodic.

      The Boston and Albany Railroad sent its first train from Boston to Albany on December 27, 1841. Being wood fueled , and a steep grade at Hinsdale, engines stopped at the Hinsdale depot to be replenished. The Hinsdale Hotel in the center served as a refreshment spot for the passengers and train crew while the train was being stoked, according to legend. The Berkshire Street Railway ran its first trolley car to Hinsdale from Pitsfield in 1903. It ceased local operation in 1919. The Hinsdale-Dalton bus line was opened in October 1919, by the late Charles W. Cobb.

      Hinsdale has two large lakes, Plunkett, built about 1842 and Ashmere, built about 1872, both resevoirs having been built for water power for Hinsdale and Dalton mills. Ashmere Lake was named by William Cullen Bryant, who was impressed by its poetic beauty while driving in his buggy from Hinsdale to his home in Cumminton. Bryant stated that the mere (marsh) was surrounded by ash trees so gave it the name "Ashmere."

      When Paul Revere made his famous ride from Boston to Concord and Lexington in 1775, a less sung hero, a post rider for the government, started from Watertown, near Boston, on his historic ride to Philadelphia,carrying the message. "The British Are Coming." through Massachusetts and Connecticut, into New York City, and on to Philadelphia, rode this patriot, stopping only to change horses and to have his message copied and read. This man, Isreal Bissell, at the close of the Revolution, moved to Middlefield, where he married. He moved then to Hinsdale, to the southwest part of town. He is now buried in the old part of the Maple Street Cemetery. His message is in the archives of the Historical Society in Philadelphia.

      Maple street Cemetery is the town burying plot, with graves dating to pre--Revolutionary days. St. Patrick's Cemetery lies largely in Dalton, made on land bought from Patrick Daily, uncle of the late Thomas Kelly, former Hinsdale Selectmen. Previous to buying this plot St. Patrick's dead were buried in Mount Maria Cemetery, which was located off Lyman Road on a hill back of the resent home the Choiniere family (the old Lyman home). Most of the bodies we removed from Mount Maria to the new cemetery in 1869 though a few families chose to have their dead remain in the old lots. Other cemeteries include a very old one on the East Washington Road, near the Wahington line. This has been almost hidden by shrubs and trees, and has tall stones datng back to the 1770 period of settlement. It has been unused for many years, and as an aniversary project was partialy cleared of brush this spring by Boy Scouts. The South Cemetery on the Washington road is cared for each year by the boy Scouts. One soldier's grave is in a private cemetery, the North Cemetery, in the northwest part of town.