The Turnpikes of New EnglandFrederic J. Wood1917
The Hoosac Mountain Turnpike Corporation was the lone product
of the year 1827, being incorporated on the twenty-third of February.
This company proposed to build a road in rivalry of the Second
Massachusetts, which was still in operation. Its turnpike was
to start from a point in Charlemont "at a large rock on the
north bank of the Deerfield River," then, to cross the river
and follow the valley of Cold Brook to the tavern of one Haskins,
"on the top of the mountain," then down the North Branch
of the Hoosac River to "the north village of Adams."
It is unlikely that Mr. Haskins had found encouragement to open
his tavern at any point on the top of the mountain except on the
existing turnpike, and it seems plain that the projectors of the
new road proposed to cross the Second Massachusetts at its highest
point, then to descend the westerly slope of the Hoosac Range
by a diagonal northerly course which would have brought them about
to the present village of Briggsville in the town of Clarksburg,
and on the banks of the North Branch of the Hoosac River.
Another echo of the railroad agitation of the twenties is found
in section three of the charter of this company, in which it is
provided that the state may at any time appropriate the whole
or any part of the route for railroad purposes. In 1828 the, company
secured the passage of an act releasing it from its obligation
to build outside of the valley of Cold Brook, in the towns of
Florida or Savoy. Plainly the project was in dire need of encouragement,
for the allowed tolls were increased about 40 per cent by the
same act, but that was not enough, for the road was never built.
One company was incorporated in 1829 on the eleventh of June,
the Providence and Bristol Turnpike Corporation, with authority
to connect the two towns named. As required by law, this company's
route was gone over by a viewing committee of the legislature
previous to the introduction of the bill, and the report of that
committee may be seen in the state archives accompanied by a plan.
The plan is a good map of the roads existing at that time in the
region to be traversed, and the "contemplated turnpike"
is shown thereon by a single line, drawn with a ruler from India
Point to the line of Barrington, Rhode Island, in a direct aim
The Hoosac Rail or McAdamized Road Company, incorporated February
25, 1832, was a hybrid, either turnpike or railroad, as its promoters
should "deem expedient." Nine private corporations had
been chartered prior to the date of this act for the purpose of
building railroads, but so far none of them had sufficiently won
the public confidence to enable the raising of the necessary money,
except the Granite Railway of Quincy, although the Providence,
Worcester, and Lowell roads later succeeded. This Hoosac company
secured a charter closely following the lines of the one granted
for a railroad to the Boston, Providence, and Taunton Railroad
Corporation March 12, 1830, but apparently the incorporators were
faint-hearted on the railroad question and had an alternative
form of construction allowed under which they could build an old-fashioned
What they were driving at is hard to conjecture. Their route
was from the north line of Williamstown to the north line of Cheshire,
with the right to extend to the source of the Hoosac River. A
glance at the map will show such a line to be most unpromising
and discouraging, and it is no wonder that no road was built.
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