The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area awarded a $2,500 Partnership Grant to the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey, MA, to develop an interpretive trail of 18th century houses open to the public in the Berkshires.

There are six such properties, including the Bidwell House, and all agreed to be supporting partners for the grant project: Berkshire Historical Society at Arrowhead in Pittsfield, the Trustees of Reservations properties Mission House in Stockbridge, and Ashley House in Sheffield, the Sheffield Historical Society’s Dan Raymond House, and the Great Barrington Historical Society’s Captain Wheeler House. The grant funds the design and publication of a new brochure, as well as a website, to jointly promote these historic properties. Trail-goers are encouraged to travel to each of these historic properties using the brochure as a guide. It provides a map, background stories, photos, contact information, fees, and addresses. A visit to the website offers a deeper look, with additional photos and information about each location.

The process of creating the brochure and website has involved the collaboration of representatives from each of these Berkshire organizations, fostering a sense of community among cultural institutions that have a common mission in the region.

"This project is a collaboration of some amazing historic properties," said Dan Bolognani, Executive Director of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. “The brochure links important heritage sites, provides an intriguing glimpse of 18th century life in the region, and makes an important story much more understandable.”

“Our hope in creating this history trail is to help visitors and residents alike develop a deeper appreciation for the lives and legacy of the Berkshires’ earliest settlers,” said Bidwell House Executive Director Barbara Palmer. “Each of these houses has a story to tell about the people who lived in them and about the ways in which they formed the foundations of our region.”


The Berkshire 18th Century Trail Project Team


Project Director: Barbara Palmer

Project Coordinator & Graphic Designer:
Robert Oakes robertoakeswritinganddesign.com

Historic Property Representatives:
Barbara Dowling, Will Garrison, Betsy Sherman, Kate Preissler, Gary Leveille, Rob Tepper, and Sharon Delezenski

Housatonic Heritage Executive Director:
Dan Bolognani

The cover art is a detail of an 18th-century oil painting provided by Charles and Joy Flint

Website article contribution by Raynor Sebring