Monday, February 16, 2009

Dark Shadows

If Miss Emily’s house was owned by the town rather than Amherst College, a private entity, would there be a tad more controversy about whacking 200 trees around the Dickinson Homestead to improve the view and transport the vista back to the mid 1800’s?

After all, when the town decided to nuke a few crabapples in the downtown a couple years ago all Hell broke lose.

The Bully reported

Kelley Square (just down the road).

My Great, Great Grandfather Tom purchased land in 1864 from Edward Dickinson for $1,216 and four generations of Kelley's grew up there (believe it or not three houses and a barn fit on this very small parcel). He worked for the Dickinson's as a "domestic servant" for over 20 years and acted as lead pallbearer (with five other Irish servants) for Miss Emily.

Although on his death certificate his job is described as 'Night Watchman, Amherst College.'

A long, long time ago

11 comments:

Neil said...

Miss Emily's house looks much better now, don't you think? I hope Amherst College bought carbon offsets for the destroyed trees though.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I do (although as a youngster my brother and I would hide among those trees and throw snowballs at cars passing just below)

Anonymous said...

It looks better to me.

LarryK4 said...

They repainted it a couple years ago with the same color it was back in the day, and did some landscaping as well.

I believe the town kicked in money for some of that (but hey, it was CPA $, so who cares)

Ed said...

I really am surprised that there wasn't some zoning violation something or other done in cutting all these trees.

Anonymous said...

Where is Kelly Square? I can't tell from the pictures. Does the family still own it? (I know it's not where you live)

LarryK4 said...

If you go down Main Street from Miss Emily's and take a right at the big Victorian house architect Bill Gillen moved from town center 15 years ago where 'Video To Go' was originally located (just behind the new Hot Tub place, formerly an Auto Parts store and Sporting goods
store) and go all the way to back of the parking lot looking down and
directly south, that's Kelley Square (it is also sort of behind Classic Chevy--formerly Paige's over on Dickinson Street) and within a stone's throw of the brick train station on Railroad street.

Yes, my cousin still owns it.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Lorax was off that day, Emily's looks great I personally like what they've done with the place.

-Ryan Willey

Neil said...

Larry, your post was linked to from www-amerst-com.

Ed said...

It was traditional back then when an estate was donated to a college, all of the employees of the estate be given jobs at the college for as long as they wanted them.

So I suspect you will find that the "night watchman" job was part of the unwritten deal of AC acquiring the estate. It was as close as they could find to what he had been doing for Emily and which the college actually needed doing.

As an aside, Dickenson Hall at UMass - the Police/ROTC building - is NOT named after Emily. Instead someone who died in WW-I.

Ed said...

It was traditional back then when an estate was donated to a college, all of the employees of the estate be given jobs at the college for as long as they wanted them.

So I suspect you will find that the "night watchman" job was part of the unwritten deal of AC acquiring the estate. It was as close as they could find to what he had been doing for Emily and which the college actually needed doing.

As an aside, Dickenson Hall at UMass - the Police/ROTC building - is NOT named after Emily. Instead someone who died in WW-I.