In September DEM and the Mt. Holyoke Advisory Committee announce that preliminary engineering estimates put the cost of restoring the Summit House at $300,000.
There once was a mountain.... Round Mt. was once nearly 800 feet high. While the Notch quarry had been operated for decades, by the early 1970's the peak of Round Mt. was finally removed. With the loss of this mountain the historic profile of the Mt. Holyoke Range was changed forever. This picture, shot in October 1975 from Bare Mt. looking east towards Mt. Norwottuck, shows the Lane traprock quarry at the Notch. The scale of this photo is deceiving. The quarry is about 1000' wide.
After years of underfunding and indecision, the Summit House had again fallen into a pathetic state of disrepair. The photo below was taken in March 1976 from a radio tower looking west towards Northampton.
In January the Mt. Holyoke Summit House Task Force identified six alternatives for the deteriorating structure:
1: Demolish the Summit House
2: Demolish but replace with an identical structure.
3: Demolish but replace with an observation tower.
4: Leave structure, doing minimal maintenance.
5: Erect masonry summit house.
6: Restore present structure
Restoration was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Task Force.
Finally that summer the Summit House underwent repairs and was given a new paint job.
The State purchased Henri's Restaurant at the Notch as part of its land purchase program on the Range.
In September Gwen Clancy debuts her film documentary on the Summit House.
In November the state funds a 60-day study of the Summit House.
In January the state announces the results of the 60-day study. Recommendations for the "best use" include a small restaurant and some overnight guest rooms. Additional recommendations include a stagecoach and sleigh to bring visitors to the summit year-round.
In March the State announces that their land acquisition program for the Range is about half complete. Some $1.25 million... half of what has been allocated, has been spent to purchase some 17,000 acres in Amherst, Granby, Hadley, and S. Hadley.
These scenes, shot in 1972, show Halfway Area before extensive renovation work of 1976-77.
In preparation for having a caretaker live year-round at the park, a new addition is added to the Halfway House and the house is renovated. Other work at the Halfway Area include discontinuing a access road from the south, a new parking lot, a new foundation for the barn, and a protective pavilion for the old steam engine that once ran the tramway.
This is a rare bird's eye view of the Summit House was taken from a radio tower just south of the Summit House. Hadley and UMass are in the distance. The photo was taken in April 1977 and the tower was removed later that year.
Mt. Tom Ski Area opens an Alpine Slide.
After several years of inactivity, the MHRAC becomes active again.
$600,000 was included in the State's FY'79 budget for construction of a visitors center at the Notch and for restoration of the Summit House. Some suggest Henri's Restaurant, which the State bought back in '76, should be converted for use as the new visitor center. But there are concerns that the restaurant may be in the way should DPW ever follow though on plans to eliminate the sharp curves on RT-116 north of the Notch.
In October DEM announces contracts to plan Summit House reconstruction and to design a visitor center for the Notch. The visitors center will be pushed back so not to interfere with any future DPW plans.
During the summer a massive Gypsy Moth caterpillars infestation denudes the Mt. Holyoke and Mt. Tom Ranges. It is so severe the caterpillars begin to attack secondary food sources such as evergreens. While deciduous trees, though stressed, can regrow leaves.. evergreens once denuded of needles can not recover and die. For more information on Gypsy Moths go here.
In August the MHRAC announces plans to establish a non-profit organization to aid in the restoration of the Summit House. Tentative name is Friends of the Mt. Holyoke Summit House.
In October work begins on the new Visitors Center at the Notch on RT-116.
The Boston Federal Reserve begins to use the old SAC bunker at the Notch as a records center. ?
Two air-quality monitoring stations are constructed on the Range to monitor emissions from the Mt. Tom power plant. One is located on a elevated platform next to the radio shack near the Summit House, the other a half-mile south on the ridge. Both were removed several years later but a air sampling station remained inside the Summit House for years.
In spring work on restoring the Summit House finally begins. Some radical changes were made to the Summit House's original designs. An outdoor viewing platform was to be placed on the roof where the old enclosed Observatory was. A second level porch was added to the west side of the House. To accomplish this Room 11 is to become a hall to the new second-floor porch, and the staircase to the old Observatory is be removed and rebuilt in a new location. On the first floor some walls are opened up.
In June the Friends of the Holyoke Range [FOHR], as it was then known, hosts the First Annual Mountainfest at the Summit House. Some 600 people attend.
In October the new Visitor Center for the Mt. Holyoke Range State Park opens at the Notch.
The M & M Trail is moved to cross RT-116 near the new Visitors Center. In the process the trail is given a more gradual grade. Prior to this the trail crossed at the Notch rock crusher and had a very steep ascent up Bare Mt.
East of the Notch Quarry the M & M Trail is also relocated about 1/4 mile further east. It used to run from the road off the trolley bed then beneath the power lines until it intersected with the ridge line.
In May the Friends of the Holyoke Range hosts first Holyoke Range Treasure Hunt. Clues are posted in local papers to direct treasure hunters to locations on the Range where they can obtain a piece of the total puzzle. The prize is fifty silver dollars.
A well is drilled from the summit house though hundreds of feet of traprock to reach water-bearing strata. With its own well, water no longer has to be pumped up to the Summit House from the valley.
David Graci publishes a detailed 105-page history of the Summit House called "Mt. Holyoke an Enduring Prospect". It is still in print.
In January the owner of Mountain Park at Mt. Tom announces the old amusement park, first opened in 1897, will shut down operation. It is killed by a combination of higher insurance rates after a 1987 death, and high wage rates. Here's a link with lots of pictures.
On May 27 a monument was dedicated to the 10 men who died when their B-24 crashed into Mt. Holyoke in 1944. The monument is located in the picnic grove near the Summit House. Here's an article on the crash and the monument.
In May, after a trail volunteer is injured, the State announces it will remove the lower steps from three popular WWII-era beacon towers on Mt. Hitchcock, Mt. Norwottuck, and Long Mt. This is the first step to removing the towers completely. Two more of these beacon towers remain on the Mt. Tom Range. Both are being used as radio towers.
In November UMass dedicates an experimental wind generator on Mt. Tom.
Amherst college takes over the SAC bunker at the Notch for a book depository.
The State stabilizes the sagging, old carriage shed just below the Summit House.
In March a suspicious fire destroys the carriage shed. Anyone with information on this fire is urged to contact the State Fire Marshall's Office anonymous hotline at 1-800-682-9229.
The FOHR Board of Directors votes to change the name of the organization to the Friends of the Mt. Holyoke Range [FOMHR]. Since there is no "Holyoke Range" per se, FOMHR better reflects the historic name of the Range.
In October FOMHR goes on line for the first time with its first web page.
In November developer Ronald Bercume (Bercume Builders, Inc.), announces he intends to place 40 to 60 large homes on a 103 acre plot of land formerly occupied by the B & M gravel and quarry operation. The development of mostly trophy homes would extend high up the slopes of Mt. Holyoke.
A grass roots citizen advocacy group, Save The Mountain [STM] forms to oppose the Bercume subdivision. Click here to visit the STM news archives.
In February some 400 people fill a Hadley Planning Board meeting at Hopkins Academy to protest the Bercume development.
June 9-11 is the first state-wide Bio-Diversity day. Numerous volunteer teams comb the Mt. Holyoke Range documenting the various species that live there. The results can be found here.
In July DEM announces the purchase of 33 acres of land in Hockanum from the Mitch Drozdal estate for $447,000.
In fall, the Sierra Club comes out against the proposed housing development on the Mt. Holyoke Range.
The national Scenic America organization names the Mt. Holyoke and Mt. Tom Ranges as one of 10 "Last Chance Landscapes for the year 2000.
In December Jean Beard of Amherst offers to donate the money required to buy the land slated for the subdivision.
The State, with Hadley's approval, takes 85 acres of the 106 acre parcel by eminent domain.
"Letter boxing" comes to the Mt. Holyoke Range. According to the official site "Letter boxing site is an "intriguing pastime combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest." For clues on the Mt. Holyoke Letterboxes, click here.
It takes two peaks to make a Notch. As the quarry on the Mt. Holyoke Range more than doubles in size from the early 1960's, the historic Notch is no more.
On July 31 the State finalized the $600,000 purchase 615 acres from South Hadley Fire District #2. This area includes the Lithia Springs Rest.
This is a 180 panoramic shot of the Summit House in the summer of 2004.
mt. holyoke range timelines copyright 2001-2005 chronos historical services.