Below is a story I found in the July 1925 Carpenter’s Store News. Like Carp, I too love our area landscapes. I’ve hiked Flamstead numerous times in years gone by. The top of the mountain is heavily populated with oak trees. Gray squirrels are abundant and feasting on acorns.
Oak trees are the last to change color in the fall. Oak leaves turn a coppery bronze color that I really like. As you drive toward North Street from the Depot, look up on the mountain. You’ll see what I mean. Here’s Carp’s story.
“A story has come down to us through many hundred years, of a maid who left her home among the mountains to become the wife of the King of Babylonia. In Babylonia, which was a flat level country, she became very homesick for the green hills and noble mountains of her native land.
“To comfort his queen and to keep her contented in her new home, King Nebucadnezzar caused to be built, by hundreds of slaves working for a great length of time, artificial or man-made mountains. They were great terraced mounds of masonry covered with earth on which were made to grow plants and shrubs and trees. Amid their fragrance and greenery gay butterflies danced and tuneful birds lived and nested. These wonderful mounds, which to some extent made the little queen forget her homesickness, are in existence today and are noted throughout the world as the wonderful hangings gardens of Babylon.
“I often think of the little homesick queen as I look upon the gratifying beauty of our own mountain, which we have named ‘Flamstead.’ I can truly understand the hunger which was in her heart, for I never get very far from Mount Flamstead or out of sight of our Green Mountains that I do not feel longing to return to them. When I see, as we see now, in June, the beautiful green fields upon its lower slopes, the graceful birches swaying higher up, the sturdy oaks and maples which crown its summit, I say to myself, ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.’ When I think of the foundation of granite and limestone upon which it stands and see the great ledges thrusting themselves through its grassy sides, I think, ‘The strength of the hills is His also.’
“How rich we are to have such a beautiful hanging garden constantly before us! It is a free gift to us from Our Creator. No tired slaves spent their lives in thankless labor that we might enjoy our mountain’s glory. It does not crumble with the wear of time but each summer finds it just as beautiful after its rejuvenating sleep under the snow blanket as it was the previous summer. It is so beautiful that a celebrated artist spent time a few years ago to make it an oil painting, which he sold for a fabulous price, and yet, it doesn’t cost a cent to look at it just as often and as long as we wish to.
“As children we climbed its rugged sides for the mere joy of climbing; as youths we toiled upward for the sake of the view from the top; as older people we are content to stand at its foot and look with admiration and love at our Own Mount Flamstead – Our Hanging Garden.”
In the mid-teens of the last century, Gale Peck of Chester, with his taxi, picked up the mentioned artist, Willard Metcalf, at the train station. Gale was hired by Metcalf to drive him around the area searching for unspoiled landscapes to paint. Metcalf painted two views of Chester that I know of. The other painting was of Bailey’s Mills just north on Route 103. There are probably are others I’m not aware of. Metcalf was in Chester for a week or more, lodging at the Fullerton.
I tried to locate this Mount Flamstead painting online but was unsuccessful. It’s probably in a private collection. You should look up Willard Metcalf online. He’s a most important American artist.
The photo with this article was taken about 1910 looking up the mountain and showing the cow lane. This photo is in our 2021 calendar that is soon to be released. Watch for that notice.
This week’s old saying is from Peter Farrar. Peter’s father Francis told Peter this when they were setting out some young cherry trees: “A five dollar tree in a ten dollar hole will do better than a ten dollar tree in a five dollar hole.”