Neighbors: Take a step back in time at Trolleyfest

  • Passengers ride down the tracks in trolley car No. 10 during the annual Trolleyfest at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum in 2018. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Trolley-era re-enactors Mabel Kingsley, 11, from left, Allie Martin, 11, and Sophia Rehmus ride Trolley No. 10 with passengers during the 2018 Trolleyfest. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE


Staff Writer
Published: 9/16/2019 10:56:33 PM

Good morning neighbor!

Imagine yourself stepping back in time, traveling one or two towns over on a trolley, or riding a velocipede around your downtown.

If you decide to attend Trolleyfest in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, Sept. 28, you won’t have to imagine. There will be plenty of opportunities to ride Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum’s trolley car No. 10, and you’ll have a chance to watch velocipede demonstrations, along with lots of other activities.

And what better place to be as fall approaches than up along the Mohawk Trail. I’ve noticed that some trees are just starting to turn.

The annual celebration of the restoration of trolley car No. 10 includes not only trolley car rides from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but pump car rides, cider pressing, local music and so much more from the trolley era. The cost of an all-day pass is $4, though members can ride for free. There will also be wooden and electric trains to play with, and you’ll be able to send a message via telegraph.

At noon, there will be a reading of the play “No. 10 Rides Again,” and at 1:15, Marie Betts Bartlett will read from her book, “The Little Yellow Trolley Car.”

There will also be snacks, maple products from Davenport Maple Farm, a raffle drawing, a railroad paraphernalia tag sale, railroad movies and trolley era re-enactors riding with you.

It’s quite the event, and it’s held in the idyllic hilltown where the Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway ran from 1896 to 1926. The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum has been dedicated to preserving and operating trolley car No. 10, which was built by Wason Manufacturing Co. in Springfield in 1896. It was considered state-of-the-art with its lights and electric heater.

As a vehicle that carried both freight and passengers, trolley car No. 10 was in operation until the company went out of business in 1928. It once crossed the Deerfield River on what is known today as the Bridge of Flowers.

The trolley car was saved by the Johnson family of Colrain and kept on their farm for 65 years — they used it as a chicken coop, tool shed and playhouse. Then, the family donated it to the fledgling museum in 1992, and volunteers restored it. The trolley car soon ran again on the tracks in the Buckland rail yard.

During Trolleyfest, you can ride No. 10 in the same freight yard where it used to load and unload passengers, apples, mail, milk and other freight for so many years.

For more information, visit:

Spirit of the Written Word

I also wanted to make sure you knew about Spirit of the Written Word, a complimentary writing workshop sponsored by the Baystate Franklin Medical Center Oncology Department.

It’s going to begin a 10-week session Sept. 26. It’s for any residents of Western Massachusetts who have been touched by cancer — I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. It will be held Thursday evenings, 6 to 8 at Artspace Community Arts Center on Mill Street in Greenfield.

The program provides the supportive and therapeutic benefits of group writing, and you don’t have to have any writing experience. Sharing is voluntary and confidential.

Our neighbor Pam Roberts, a 25-year breast cancer survivor, will lead the group. The workshop is limited to 12 participants and registration is required, so move on this quickly by calling Pam at 413-625-2402 or email her at:

Conway Festival of the Hills

Fall also means festivals, and Conway Festival of the Hills, one of our hilltowns’ oldest fall festivals, is upon us. On Sunday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it returns rain or shine at the town field in the town’s historic center.

I’ve always enjoyed the Conway festival with its wide range of exhibits, activities and demonstrations. And guess what — it’s an all-volunteer event that raises scholarship money for the town’s high school graduates.

There’s live music, a craft fair, blacksmithing demonstrations, weaving, food vendors, local products and, of course, the famed log-splitting contest and skillet toss. It’s like stepping back in time with people you know.

In addition to the festival itself, a full weekend of activities includes art exhibits, a book sale, a turkey dinner and the Covered Bridge Classic road race and children’s 1.7-mile Fun Run.

You can register on the day of the race in front of Field Memorial Library or beforehand at: A complete schedule can be found at:

I’m hoping to get there with some of the kids and grandkids this year, so maybe I’ll see you there.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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