A project of Zach van Schouwen.


Turner's Falls, Massachusetts

Turner's Falls is a village in Montague, a small town up at the northern end of the Pioneer Valley, in Massachusetts. I was here on Christmas Eve.

This town is one of the quieter places I've ever been. Urban life in the Northeast often tends toward dereliction, but in many ways Turner's Falls hasn't changed since the 1930s or so. Towns like this were built up around a small pocket of industrial jobs, then became unprofitable and never changed again. Beautiful Victorian-era houses are stacked five feet apart and march up the hills of the town before abruptly stopping when the terrain gets harsh. In the name of development, roads crossed each other on bridges, scarps are leveled, and lots were narrowed until development ground to a halt around World War II. The descendants of those industrial workers are still in these houses, which have stayed in their families for years. With no expanding urban center around here (Greenfield is small and slow-growing), the town has escaped the suburbanization that has changed so many similar places and has been held in a long stasis.

Despite the fact that America isn't much for preservation, the slow decline of cities across the country have ensured that the landscape is littered with obsolete pieces of our history. Turner's Falls is lucky to have survived. In a future post, I'll do Newburgh, if I'm not too terrified to walk around taking pictures for an hour.


Enrich Your Life said...

I enjoy the adventure your blog brings. It's like living close to the stump. Thanks.

teardrop said...

I live here in the happy little village of Turners Falls, and you couldn't be more right about the quiet, peaceful surrounding. Not to mention everything you need is within walking distance, from the bank to the grocery store, and of course the little dinner and pubs. I love it here, just a little slice of America's history. Thank you for your blog. Sincerely Turners Falls Resident