PITTSFIELD, Mass. – It’s been practically 90 years since president Franklin Delano Roosevelt put New Deal packages into motion, and a brand new exhibit on the Berkshire County Historic Society explores the influence they’d regionally.

“There’s actually such a wealthy historical past to it,” mentioned Erin Hunt, curator on the historic society. “It’s not one thing that you simply essentially be taught in your highschool historical past class.”

What You Want To Know

  • The Berkshire County Historic Society has a brand new exhibit exploring the native legacy of the New Deal
  • The WPA had a number of packages within the county, together with the native library’s bookmobile
  • Many out of doors recreation spots nonetheless used right now have been created by New Deal packages
  • The Berkshires’ trendy give attention to tourism comes from the infrastructure constructed within the 1930’s and 40’s

Many Works Progress Administration packages have been energetic within the county, together with the Berkshire Athenaeum’s bookmobile, which ran till the Seventies, and the federal writers program, which produced a number of journey guides.

“It was actually kind of to assist enhance tourism and provides individuals a way of issues to do,” mentioned Hunt. “One factor that I actually like in regards to the Berkshire Hills information and the Massachusetts information is that there’s actually nice strolling excursions and driving excursions, and a few of them you possibly can nonetheless do right now.”

One other impactful New Deal program was the Civilian Conservation Corps. It established a number of native recreation areas that are nonetheless used right now, together with Bascom Lodge on the summit of Mount Greylock and the path system on the Pittsfield State Forest.

“There was no paths, there was no roads, it was fully impassable,” mentioned Hunt about what’s now the Pittsfield State Forest. “Every little thing that’s there now could be from the CCC.”

There have been widespread sewer and street enhancements as effectively, however for Hunt, the New Deal’s lasting legacy within the county is the give attention to tourism and recreation.

“The Berkshires id is that we’re nonetheless type of this vacation spot, this vacationer, second-home proprietor escape,” mentioned Hunt. “And most of that infrastructure was put in place throughout the 1930’s by way of the CCC, by way of these packages.”


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