In the Spring of 2019, I will be teaching an OLLI course on local (Berkshire County) history. There will be six lectures covering six different locations, surveying the history and present use of the land, tracing as far back as possible before European contact, and continuing to the present day.
This post represents my initial research into one of these areas, the trails that now go to the Ice Glen and Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge, with some side-trips into the history of many of that town’s important citizens over the years.
Although I grew up in Stockbridge, and my grandmother was a highly-respected local historian, I claim no special knowledge of the town and its history. What you will find here is mostly drawn from public sources, which I have cited whenever possible.
First, the important question:
Who Was Laura?
In The Stockbridge Story [© 1989 The Town of Stockbridge], Laura’s Tower is mentioned on pages 32 and 33:
Laura’s Tower … was built by Joseph Franz to replace a decrepit wood structure.
The trail to the Tower from the end of Park Street in Stockbridge is on land that
… was part of the Sedgwick Reservation and was given to the Laurel Hill Association by Lydia C.R. Sedgwick in 1932 in memory of her husband, Alexander Sedgwick. The tower itself was given in memory of David Dudley Field’s daughter-in-law Laura Belden Field.
Laura Frederica Belden Field
UPDATE (August 29) now that I have led a hike up to the Tower and beyond (over to South Lee), I have much more material to add. Watch for a separate post.
Later Update: Here it is!