Leverett Sawmill Restoration Project.
This afternoon photographer Jeff Ziff and I were cruisin' around in his new truck when he suggested we check out an old sawmill he knew of in Leverett Ma. that he knew about from the days when he used to deliver for Holyoke's Cray's Soda. When we got there he told me that where this public gazebo stands there once stood an odd little place called Chapin's Store.
At the time the mill was owned by the Chapin family, the same people whose ancestor ended up immortalized in bronze next to the Springfield Quadrangle.
The person who ran the store was also a Chapin and universally known simply as Doc Chapin. The place was so small and rustic that it was considered in its time as one of the most eccentric stores in the Valley.
Leverett had developed an eccentric reputation following the 1960's, when all kinds of hippies flocked to the town with dreams of returning to nature. That scene has all changed as Leverett has become a new frontier in gentrification, but remnants of its hippie sensibilities still pop up here and there.
The sawmill itself is a masterpiece of New England charm.
The mill dates back to 1740. It was allowed to fall into ruins, but is now in the midst of a major restoration. Apparently a special town meeting was required to fund the project, as this sign outside the mill suggests.
Here is the waterfall that for centuries powered the machines that cut the wood.
Although the restoration is in full swing, Jeff and I were allowed to go inside and check out the progress. It was weird to see the old machinery, remnants from a woodcutting era that is gone and will never return.
I hope I will have a chance to return after the work is completed in order to see the old mill restored to its former glory and serving as a public museum.
Columnist Thomas Sowell really kicks butt in his latest critique of Barack Obama.
The kind of talk that won the votes — and the hearts — of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party during the primaries may not be enough to carry the day with voters in the general election. So Senator Obama has been changing his tune or, as he puts it, "refining" his message.
This was not the kind of "change" that the true believers among Obama's supporters were expecting. So there has been some wavering among the faithful and some ups and downs in the polls.
Despite an impressive political machine and a huge image makeover this year to turn a decades-long, divisive grievance-promoting activist into someone who is supposed to unite us all and lead us into the promised land of "change," little glimpses of the truth keep coming out.
Among the more colorful characters in downtown Northampton is a guy most people know as Boxcar. In this video by Jim Neill of the blog Life in the Nohodome Boxcar plays harmonica and tries to tell an anecdote about Jerry Garcia.