Western Gateway Heritage State Park (North Adams, MA)

Date Of Visit: June 22, 2017

Location: 115 State St, North Adams, MA

Hours: Mon – Fri 11:00 – 4:00

Sat & Sun 12:00 – 4:00

Cost: Free

Parking: There is ample parking in the main parking lot (for about 430 cars) and additional parking can be found farther down the street

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: history of the western MA area, historical items

Website: Western Gateway State Heritage Park

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Tucked behind the busy streets of North Adams in an otherwise nondescript office building complex stands a museum highlighting the hidden history of the North Adams area.  It was truly a hidden surprise.    Just be aware if you do visit, you have to walk a short distance into the commercial space area to find the museum.  In fact, the museum/visitor center is so hidden that I accidentally walked into some office building in the front of the parking lot.  The man working there was understanding and said it “happens all of the time” and he promptly gave us the directions to the museum which he must have memorized backwards and forwards by now.

More of a visitor center than an actual museum (and certainly not a park), the Heritage State Park museum chronicles the history and development of the Hoosac Tunnel, a 4.75 active railroad that runs through the Hoosac Range, a mountainous region of Vermont as well as other historical events of the area.

Much of the visitor center is dedicated to the Hoosac Tunnel which was built 1851 and 1875 (and you thought construction projects took a long time these days).  The museum had many. exhibits on display that range from what the area looked like before the construction began to documenting what was involved in the construction of the tunnel.  As an fyi, the lighting was very dim and I think they frown upon using your flash.  So, some of the photos came out a little dark.

The museum also has some of the tools, equipment and vehicles used to create the tunnel and transport goods.

One hundred and ninety five people were killed during the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel which has added to its lore.  The section of the visitor center that deals with the mining history of the area, with its dim lighting adds to this spooky history.  There are also examples of rocks that prevalent in the area where the Hoosac Tunnel was built and had to be blasted or removed during the construction of the tunnel.

There is one section pf the visitor center that befuddled me a bit.  Apparently, there have been reported UFO and alien sightings in the area.  Apparently, Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires are a hot bed for extraterrestrial activity.  However, many of the documents and exhibits had to deal with Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico.  I know.  My sentiments exactly.

The last section of the visitor center has travel guides, books and exhibits with information about the area.

As I walked to my car from the visitor center, I noticed Prada, a 5 year old Siberian and wolf mix, being walked near the Heritage State Park.  She was nice enough to pose for a few photos for me.

 

Today’s featured link is Wishes And Horses blog.  Wishes and Horses recently posted a blog post about the Hoosac Tunnel.

About New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England! View all posts by New England Nomad

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