The more work I do on my Easy Walks in Massachusetts series, the more I realize that my love of the outdoors is complementary to my love of history. Yes, I love to walk along rushing streams, and deeply enjoy overlooks that provide grand views of the countryside. But I also travel back in time with each stone wall I see. Open farm fields and pastures where trees now stand tall fill my imagination. Stone foundations that appear “out of nowhere” were, in another time, the center of a family’s life. Mill dams and mill races beside streams were once essential sources of power for a community.
I visited The Trustees of Reservations Cormier Woods in Uxbridge, MA and got a guided tour of some of the property with the caretaker, Mary Beauchamp. As we strolled along the trails Mary shared some of the history of the farm, but when we got to the site of an old homestead, she confessed they knew little about it. Large granite steps lead one down into what would have been a cellar hole. The stone foundation remains, but the wooden house is long gone. “I’m not sure why there would have been such a large base for the chimney,” Mary said. The stone foundations for the barn are nearby.
I suggested there might be those who would like to learn about it. Perhaps some day others will undertake a study to uncover some of Cormier Woods hidden secrets.
Marjorie Turner Hollman
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,” and “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! New England Regional Chair for the Association of Personal Historians, she is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com