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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vintage Mt. Tom

The above photo shows us a snowy Easthampton, Massachusetts looking down from Mt. Tom.

Mt. Tom, is supposedly named for the surveyor Rowland Thomas, who named the tree-shaggy basalt mountain after himself in the 1600s. You can drive up Mountain Road now, unless bad weather makes it impassible, but the summit wasn’t really easily assessable until 1897 when the Mt. Tom Railroad hauled adventurous passengers up to the Mt. Tom Hotel at the summit on the cable electric trolley. The hotel burned down, for the second time, in 1929 and was never rebuilt. In the vintage postcard below, we see one of the cars was named the “Rowland Thomas” for Mt. Tom’s namesake.

Still further below is another vintage postcard of the mountain from Hendrick Street on the Easthampton side. Both these two postcards were produced by Raphael Tuck & Sons, publishers in Great Britain from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. They were granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1893. The following year, they began to publish picture postcards, and 1900, opened an office in New York City. Most of their postcards of American scenes, including these two, were actually printed in Germany, then brought back to the US for sale. Both these cards are likely turn of the century.

This website posts an interesting history of Raphael & Tuck, and notes that all the original records and postcards of this company were destroyed in the bombing of London during World War II.

For more vintage photos of Mt. Tom and the railway, have a look at this website.

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