Local Hilltown History Website is Now “Live”

Gateway Hilltown History Website

“Every town had a jeweler employed by the railroad to ensure that everybody’s watches were running accurately,” said David Pierce, of the days when the railroad supported hundreds of jobs in the region. Pierce told students that it was not unusual for residents of Chester to take the train to Huntington to go roller skating in the building that now serves as an auction house, or for residents of Huntington to take the train to Chester to go bowling.

The highly anticipated Gateway Hilltown History Website is now up! Visitors may go to GatewayHilltownHistory.com to view this wonderful archive.

Thirteen students attending Gateway Jr. High School last year researched the history of our seven member towns and built a website that compiles all of their findings in one location. Under the direction of teacher Dawne Piers­Gamble, students met with local historians and town historical societies to conduct interviews and examine and record artifacts.

The website is organized by town and includes information on how and when each town was settled, early industry, schools, and churches. Additional research was compiled on building the Boston and Albany Railroad, how it impacted the hilltowns, the Keystone Arch Bridges, and the Irish immigrants who built them.

Participating students were Mariah Audet, Cory Bisbee, Hannah Green, Jed Henry, Tyler Kornacki, Brian Lak, Charlotte LeBarron, Katelin Murray, Casey Pease, Anna Potorski, Noah Rofulowitz, Sierra Sico and Matthew Worley.

A number of area historians contributed to the student project and website, and included Patricia Lucas from the Blandford Historical Society; Fay Piergiovanni and Edwin Carrington from the Chester Historical Commission; Tracy Lyon; Jeff Penn; Grace Wheeler; Dave Harris; Marge Batorski of the Middlefield Museum; Patti Little, Laurie Flechsig, Julie Pike and Paula Long of the Montgomery Historical Society; Ralph Cortis and Carol Lucardi of Russell; and Julia Sharron and Patricia Kennedy of the Worthington Historical Society. David Pierce and Dennis Picard also worked with students and took part in last June’s unveiling of the project and the website.

“Every town had a jeweler employed by the railroad to ensure that everybody’s watches were running accurately,” said Pierce, of the days when the railroad supported hundreds of jobs in the region. Pierce told students that it was not unusual for residents of Chester to take the train to Huntington to go roller skating in the building that now serves as an auction house, or for residents of Huntington to take the train to Chester to go bowling.

A Windows on History grant through the Hampshire Educational Collaborative and the “Emerging America” Teaching American History grant from the U. S. Department of Education, funded this project.

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