I’ve finally visited Hoosac Tunnel and I’m itching to go back. Standing before the tunnel, imagining what it was like when the work for the tunnel first began… Imagining the conversation that needed to be had when the initial plan failed… Imagining how many people were just trying to do their job but ended up never making it home at the end of the day… Are they still here? In the tunnel?
There are so many stories within and around the Hoosac Tunnel, waiting to be told. It doesn’t seem fair to present them in a singular way when there are numerous tools to help. To simply layout the land with words alone wouldn’t do it justice. The tunnel calls for layers– photographs, story maps, video, audio, and timelines to accompany the words.
We’re lucky to have rich material to work with. With the help of the North Adams Public Library and the North Adams Historical Society, we have extensive information on the tunnel at our fingertips. The library not only has extensive information on Hoosac Tunnel but they also have physical artifacts tucked away somewhere in The Vault. With our differing busy schedules and limited, and sometimes inconvenient, hours at the library it’s a bonus that most of this material has been cataloged online for easy access.
Though are dates are not entirely solidified we have made a schedule of our upcoming goals-to-meet as we start organizing our material and starting up our blog:
- February 22nd– Compile list of names of those who have died in the tunnel
- February 22nd- 25th– Pulling relevant material
- Sometime during the week of February 26th– Visit the library to see the artifacts
- March 3rd- Visit to Historical Society between the hours of 10am-4pm
- March 4th– Visit East Portal; nature writing on site, documentation of the area
We plan on sharing the experience of maintaining the blog and writing pieces to post as well as researching and visiting the site together. But we have also designated other responsibilities between the two of us as this project progresses:
Erica: Filming and editing videos.
*Driver / navigator extraordinaire.
Cassie: TimeLineJS, StoryMap.
*Positive affirmation guide / spotter of beavers.
I’ve always described North Adams as “falling apart” and I’ve heard others doing the same. But what if there was another way of seeing it? What if it was just nature reclaiming abandoned man-made structures that we’ve given up on? What if nature was having a comeback in the Berkshires? Maybe we can start to live with nature instead of destroying nature. Maybe instead of moving on to destroy more land to replace something that has fallen apart… we can try to fix it first…
…like the beavers.