The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Monday, September 3, 2007


Exploring the ruins of Mountain Park.

Last Wednesday Jeff Ziff and I went to the site of the former Mountain Park in Holyoke. Untold thousands of people have memories of that place, which opened in 1894 and closed in 1990. Anything of value was then sold off, while what remains has fallen prey to vandals and arson. Jeff and I decided to go up there, nearly twenty years after its last season, and see what's left. There's still this big sign, faded almost beyond reading, along with No Trespassing signs in great abundance.

Of course such signs are no barrier to citizen journalists such as ourselves, and we soon found a hole in the fence.

As you can well imagine after twenty years the site is greatly overgrown. However old walls still rise amidst the dense foliage.

Rubble lies everywhere, but the fading hues of many of the stones reveal the last remnants of a colorful past.

There is evidence everywhere that the site has become an outdoor party place, with these drug ravers claiming full ownership.

My only objection is that I've never been invited. Suddenly, amidst all this real wilderness, we are surprised to discover some artificial turf!

Exploring furthur we discover an old structure that reveals to us that we have stumbled upon the ruins, complete with the old stone sign, of the miniature golf course!

The entire ruin is covered in colorful graffiti, including this giant letter A, the universal symbol of anarchy. Indeed, the forces of chaos and destruction now rule this park.

From there we decide to venture deeper into the woods, to see what might be discovered. Jeff comes across the scattered remnants of an old sign - and makes a surprisingly personal discovery - a fragment of the Snow Cones sign!

For decades Jeff's family ran the former Cray's Soda Company in Holyoke, and as a young man Jeff used to deliver the syrup to Mountain Park to make the snowcones. What a weird thing to happen, for him to discover the rotting ruins of the snowcone sign amidst the forest now reclaiming the park.

Exploring furthur we came across these strange growths on the hollow of a fallen tree. I don't recall ever seeing such a bright yellow mold before!

They were such a bright yellow, they were almost flourescent. The drug LSD is a kind of mold; could these also have psychedelic properties?

They might, then again they could also be poisonous. Perhaps they are spores left by aliens! We decide it is better to leave them alone.

Soon we came to a clearing. A big clearing! To our amazement we discover that we have wandered onto the site of the Mount Tom Resevoir!

We realize we are not alone as runners from Smith College pass by.

We walked towards an old brick pump house.

The pump house is covered with gang signs, including the markings of dope and death. In other words, a setting in which I feel right at home.

Jeff takes pictures of the antennae atop Mount Tom, and we wonder whether we are violating some kind of homeland security rule by doing so. What paranoid times we live in!

We decide I should pose on a stone block in front of my namesake Mount Buttcrack - I mean Mount Tom!

It's a posed picture, but not an insincere one. On a certain level I really do worship the mighty mountains that enfold and protect our Valley.

Unfortuntely we then realize that we have run out of time, although there are no doubt plenty of ruins to be found in the forest. However, these must comprise the adventures of another day.

Finally, Wednesday was also the day of the fundraiser for Springfield's Karen Powell at Tony's Pizza in Pine Point. Instead of going I was running around half naked in an abandoned amusement park. To make amends, I have stolen this photo from Bill Dusty of (l to R) Tim Rooke, Powell and hubby Bob. I urge you to give them money and votes, even Bob, who should also be a candidate.


Anonymous said...

cray soda company was in holyoke : >)

Tommy said...

I knew it was in Holyoke, I don't know why I said Chicopee. Yhere are Cray's artifacts at the Wherehouse in Holyoke. Anyway, thanks, I fixed it.

Mary E.Carey said...

An excellent adventure.

LarryK4 said...

There's a one-mile paved access road up to all those antennae at the top of the mountain. I used it to train for Mt. Washington, as the average steepness is actually worse than Mt. Washington's 12%. Half way up is the B-17 memorial dedicated to the 25 men who perished instantly on July 9, 1946 while returning home from the war. You can still find small parts from the wreckage, and some folks lay them on the granite headstone. My mom claimed she heard the explosion all the way over in Amherst that stormy night.

Bill Dusty said...

Karen Powell actually had no idea I was showing up that night (I took time off from work). I talked with Antonette Pepe quite a bit while I was there, too.

Gosh, I drank a lot of beer.