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My early mornings ride,in the pioneer valley
Posted to Open Discussion Forum on 1/15/2017 12 Replies

Good morning one and all. This morning i had an early appointment for an MRI for my problem knee. My ride to the hospital was quite enjoyable and i shall try to describe it in word.

This morning was bright clear and crisp. For mid January,with the air at 17* as i left my house.The sun was just poking over the trees. And my journey took me to the small mill town of Ware,Mass. And yes Ware is another of those small towns built on the banks of A river, the Ware river.

The town is in a hollow,and is surrounded by the foothills of the Berkshires which are the mountains of western Mass. and are a part of the Appalachian chain. The Dark hills are a growth of mostly eastern white pine with some hardwoods mixed in.The contrast between the dark silhouette of small mountains that cradle this town and the silver white of the fog hanging in the valley is simply stunning.

As you approach the long descent into town, you start off with only little visions of what lies in the valley below. With the air cool and crisp a fog hangs over the buildings.Church steeples of brick and slate as well as the white church steeples of the congregational and grange buildings poke through this veil.The trees have less foliage so its a visual tease for the eye.You can sort of see,but not clearly enough. I want to see more.

Ware has three large Catholic churches,built at a time when the mill employees life was centered around home, work and church. And these churches are magnificent structures, built of red brick with slate roofs.The details are beyond what i could describe with words.Though I shall try.Brickwork more ornate than any i have seen yet is beyond description.

The surrounds to the huge stained glass windows are of white carved limestone which is in contrast to the dark red brickwork.The crosses on top of the very tall steeples are of copper and have aged to a beautiful green verdigris,along with the gutters and downspouts also of aged copper. Railings on the stairs are ornate wrought iron,I can only imagine what the inside of these churches look like. they are very beautiful buildings,and the town should be proud of them.

The towns library was also built of red brick and is a throwback to a time when a very ornate library was a testament to a small towns wealth and success of the folks that lived there.Contrasting ceramic tiles are laid in a checkerboard pattern on the library bell tower. My mind wonders still, who were the true craftsman that did this kind of work? It is simply stunning.Each of these small mill towns i am exploring all have there own little architectural gems.And i can really appreciate them,I can not help myself but to go WOW !!

The center of town is almost all old mills built on the banks of the river ,a dam and several sets of falls are prominent.One of the mills is constructed of large stone blocks and this for me is a giveaway of the mills age.And from what i have seen,and researched,this would more than likely date to the late 1830's or 1840's.

This was an extremely labor intensive method of construction ,but it also has withstood the ravages of time,as the building is still in use today.Most likely the stone came from neighboring Longmeadow ,Mass. Its reputation was built on its quarries and a skilled work force that was able to wrest these huge blocks from the earth.The task of moving them to their new location was put upon the fledgling railroads Of which this area had in abundance. To this day there are still several short line railroads that are moving goods by rail.

All in all it was quite a nice drive to my appointment ,i just thought i might share it with all of you.Enjoy ,Bruce

Bruce Caron
Educator/Instructor/Technician
Robison Service Company
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

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