Tag Archives: Those Places Thursday

Those Places Thursday – UMASS Fine Arts Center

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

When I was 18, I left Worcester and moved to Amherst, Massachusetts. The home of Emily Dickinson and the location of several leading universities was to become my second home for the next four years. I entered the university as an honors history major. During the spring term, I took an Introduction to Theatre course.  By the end of my freshman year, I was a theatre major. I still love history. The stuck-up, dry, boring professor who made my life miserable my first term did not take that love away from me. I just found another passion for awhile with some equally passionate and fabulous professors.

While I lived on campus, my home was the Grayson dormitory on top of Orchard Hill. I certainly did not lack for exercise walking up and down that hill every day. During the winter when the path was covered with snow and ice, it was even more challenging. My second home on campus was the Fine Arts Center. The building is occupied by the Theatre, Music and Art departments. Built in the 1970s, it is a monstrosity of concrete. In some ways, it resembles a giant piano (whether or not that was the intention of the architect is the subject of campus legends).

While visiting friends in western Massachusetts this summer, we took a side trip to Amherst and the UMASS campus. I would have liked to have spent more time wandering around but it was pouring buckets. I did however abandon the car to take a few pictures of a some of the buildings that were important to me during those four years. I have not been back to campus since the early 1990s so it was interesting to see some of the changes and to realize that some things never really change.

Photographs taken by the author Deborah Sweeney, July 2013.

©2014 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2014/01/02/those-places-t…ne-arts-center/

Those Thursday Places – Higgins Armory

Higgins Armory #1

Higgins Armory

Higgins Armory is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The museum is the product of the lifelong obsession of one man. John Woodman Higgins was a prominent industrialist from the early 1900s who spent his life collecting medieval armor. Eventually his collection became so large that he built an entire building to house it. In 1931, this building was opened to the public as a museum. Many a school child from Worcester (and the surrounding area of central Massachusetts) experienced Higgins Armory as a field trip, often more than once.  Since I consider Worcester to be my hometown, I definitely spent countless hours at the armory as a child (on more than one field trip or family outing). Higgins’ collection of medieval arms and armor is among the best in the United States. As I child, I did not realize what a privilege it was to visit this museum.

Higgins Armory #3

Grand Hall

Earlier this year, the armory announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of 2013. The costs of running the building are draining the endowment that Higgins created to sustain the museum.  Over the years, the museum has expanded their programs. Today, it is definitely not the museum I experienced as a child. Some of the new features include a dedicated children’s room, program rooms and additional events including the occasional Viking battle and trebuchet contests. Since I knew the museum was due to close at the end of the year, it was one of my “must do” stops on my New England tour with my children this last summer. Although the building closes its doors on December 31st, a deal was made with the Worcester Art Museum to allow the collection to remain on display. In January, the armory will begin the transfer and a new chapter in the Higgins Armory and John W. Higgins’ amazing collection will begin.

If you are in central Massachusetts, and you have the time before the museum closes its doors forever, take the time to check it out. The building itself is a marvel of Art Deco architecture.


Update 12/22/2013: Article published in the New York Times regarding the closure and what is happening to the collection. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/20/arts/design/a-bell-tolls-for-the-higgins-a-quirky-armor-museum.html?_r=0

All photographs were taken by the author Deborah Sweeney.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/11/those-thursday…higgins-armory/

Those Places Thurday – Drake’s Beach

Located north of San Francisco, Drake’s Beach is part of the Point Reyes National Seashore. The beach is named after the explorer Sir Francis Drake who may have put ashore to repair his ship, the Golden Hinde, during the summer of 1679. Many local landmarks are named in honor of Drake’s exploration of the area.

Point Reyes holds a special place in our family’s history as it is where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. More recently the family has come to enjoy playing on the beach and exploring the countryside. On our most recent trip, the beach was engulfed in a cloud bank.

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #4

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #6

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #2

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #3

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #5

Drakes Beach - 2013-05 #1

All photographs were taken by Deborah Sweeney (May 2013).

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/05/those-places-t…y-drakes-beach/

Those Places Thursday – Plymouth and Plimouth Plantation

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to highlight the town of Plymouth and Plimouth Plantation. Plymouth was one of the stops on this summer’s whirlwind tour of New England. Since I am a native of the Bay State, I have been to Plymouth once or twice in my life. I remember one cold winter trip during my childhood after my grandmother became an official member of the Alden Kindred, the lineage society of the descendants of John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden. My grandparents generally only came out to visit over the Christmas holidays so that is why we went during the winter. Since I inherited my grandmother’s Mayflower research twenty years ago, I have expanded her findings. She already knew that we were descended from William Mullins, Myles Standish and Richard Warren as well as John and Priscilla Alden. I have since discovered our descent from William Bradford, William Brewster, Thomas Rogers, James Chilton, Francis Cooke, and Stephen Hopkins. We are also descended from the Winslow family through one of Edward’s brothers who came later. The fact that I am descended from all these Pilgrims is not surprising considering my grandmother’s family arrived in Massachusetts and stayed within a 50 mile radius of Plymouth for over 400 years.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Plymouth - Plymouth Rock

All that remains of the original Plymouth “rock”. It is now off limits to the public.

Plymouth - Plymouth Rock #2

A view from the top of the Rock’s cage, looking out across Plymouth Harbour.

Plymouth - DAR statue

DAR statue across the street from the Rock honoring the Women of the Mayflower

Plymouth - Plantation Wampanog village

Wampanoag Village at Plimouth Plantation

Plymouth - Plantation #1

Village view looking up towards the Meeting House

Plymouth - Plantation Main Street

Village view looking down towards the Ocean

Plymouth - Plantation #3

House interior

Plymouth - Plantation Meeting House

View of the ocean from outside the Meeting House

Plymouth - Plantation #2

One last view of the Ocean

All photographs were taken by Deborah Sweeney (July 2013).

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/27/those-places-t…uth-plantation/

Those Places Thursday – Devils Postpile

Devil's Postpile #1

Deborah Sweeney, 2009

Near the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California is the Devils Postpile National Monument. Formed from molten rock, the formation was created between 80,000 and 100,000 years ago. The monument’s columns rise approximately 60 feet high and are one of the best examples of columnar basalt in the world today. This National Monument was created by presidental proclamation in 1911 by President Taft.

The Monument is located near several other attractions including Mono Lake and Bodie State Park, an abandoned ghost town.

Devils Postpile National Monument Website

Just make sure you read the signs that say “Don’t climb on the formation” before you climb on the formation.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/21/those-places-t…evils-postpile/

Those Places Thursday – Old Sturbridge Village

One of the quintessential places of my youth was Old Sturbridge Village. Located southwest of Worcester, Massachusetts, just off the Massachusetts Turnpike, the village is an outdoor history museum which celebrates the 1830s. When I traveled back to New England this summer, the village was on my list of must dos. While the village was not exactly how I remembered it (from all those long forgotten field trips of my youth), it was still charming and fun to explore with my children. I would recommend stopping by whenever you are in the area.


Sturbridge Village #1

Sturbridge Village
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village #2

Yarn being dyed
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village #3

The stagecoach
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village #5

Potter at work
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village #4

Pottery Kiln
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village
Deborah Sweeney 2013

The farmer's gate Deborah Sweeney 2013

The farmer’s gate
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Covered bridge Deborah Sweeney 2013

Covered bridge
Deborah Sweeney 2013

Sturbridge Village #9

Herb garden
Deborah Sweeney 2013

All photographs were taken by the author Deborah Sweeney
©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at:https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/14/those-places-t…bridge-village/

Those Places Thursday – Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle (Wales) - 1991-06-03

In June 1991, I spent three weeks with a backpack wandering around Wales, Ireland, Scotland and London. While in Wales, I explored many castles, including Dolwyddelan, in Conwy, northern Wales. This particular castle is off the beaten path although it is a popular site for hikers. Walking, or shall I say, hiking to the top of keep involves navigating through flocks of ranging sheep. I believe the day I was there I had the place to myself. The views from the top were stunning.

Dolwyddelan Castle (Wales) - 1991-06-03 #2

A view from the keep

Dolwyddelan Castle (Wales) - 1991-06-03 #3

Photographs taken by the author Deborah Sweeney

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/10/30/those-places-t…yddelan-castle/

Those Places Thursday – Lassen

Lassen National Volcanic Park (2012)

A view of Lassen Volcanic National Park from the Cinder Cone trail in the Lassen National Forest. Photograph taken by the author Deborah Sweeney (2012).

My daughter was filling out a survey today and one question asked for her favorite place. Lassen was her answer. Typically we go camping there once or twice a year although we did not make a trip in 2013. Lassen is located in northern California and should you ever have the opportunity, it is worth the trip. It is less crowded than its more popular sister park Yosemite. One of the amazing geological treasures of this park is the volcanos. This National Park has all three types of volcanos within its boundaries: cone, shield, and composite. And it has only been 100 years since the last eruption. The area also features several active sulfur works.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/10/16/those-places-thursday/