Greenfield — Roads

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The earliest road in this town of which we have any knowledge was one from Deerfield, passing just east of "Pine Hill," and crossing the Deerfield River by a ford near the north end of Pine Hill, and on the east side of Green River to the place where the grist-mill now stands. Of course the early roads were but bridle-paths, cleared of trees and brush, and but little worked. Reference is made in the proprietors' records to the road to Northfield in 1723. Something in the way of a road must have existed in this village at the time the first grants were made, in 1687. But Main Street, in its present shape, was laid out in 1749.
      The proprietors voted to lay out a road from the west end of Main Street to Country Farms in 1736. But an original plan of this road is before me, bearing the date of 1763. Which date is correct? Probably both. In 1760 the town voted to lay out a road from the meeting-house spot to the best place to meet the proprietors' road. It is what we know as Silver Street. The Country Farms road was laid out in 1736 as the Proprietors' road. In 1763 it was laid out as a town road. So both dates are correct. Up to 1760 the only roads in town were the one from Deerfield to Main Street; one from the east end of Main Street to Northfield; a bridle-path; one from the west end of Main Street to Country Farms; and one from the same point to Coleraine. When the church was built at Trap Plain, the road was built from the burying-ground on the Gill road, west, to intersect with the Coleraine road, so that people from the east and the west end of the village could reach the church.
      In 1763 the road from the meeting-house north to the Bernardston line was laid out, and in the same year, as I have said, the Proprietors' road to Country Farms was accepted by the town, and ten days' work laid out on it.
      In 1769 the road from Mrs. Thomas Nims' house to the Ballou place was laid out. And in 1775 a road to Shelburne was laid out, leaving the Coleraine road near the burying-ground, past where Mr. John Thayer now lives, in a northwesterly direction over the mountain, crossing the present Shelburne road just east of Col. David Wells' house. After this date the laying out of roads was of very frequent occurrence, and occupied a large share of attention in town-meetings. Federal Street was laid out in 1788, and was a great undertaking.

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