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Hoosac Roads.
The Turnpikes of New England—Frederic J. Wood—1917

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 for Bristol.

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 turnpike.

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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