Now with the new line markings, folks traveling Main Street will also better see that they are approaching a railroad crossing
The Irish, mainly, built the railroad spur cutting through Amherst just below the Dickinson Homestead circa 1850, and the first train chugged over them in June, 1853.
Around the time of construction, a youthful Emily Dickinson wrote to her brother requesting he return to Amherst to kill some of the Irish as they were "so many now, there is no room for the Americans."
Of course Miss Emily got over her disdain for the Irish. In her last will and testament she specifically requested six hard-working Irish laborers who tended to the Homestead, carry her white casket out the back door, across a field, to West Cemetery.
Unlike her father Edward, who had the proverbial bring-the-town-to-a-complete-halt kind of fancy funeral with a grand procession through town center.
Kelley Square, as it is still called on the assessor's map, is located only 75 yards southwest of this Main Street railroad crossing. My great, great grandfather Tom Kelley purchased the property from Edward Dickinson in 1864 for $1,216.
Edward had purchased it from the railroad five years earlier for only $100, so not a bad Return On Investment.
At its peak Kelley Square hosted three houses, fruit trees, roses, grapes and a barn. Maggie Mahar, Miss Emily's loyal servant, protector and friend ... the "North Wind" of the family, retired to Kelley Square after the final Dickinson died, where she lived out her days. Called back, finally, in 1924.
The last remaining house on Kelley Square was demolished in the 1970s and the land returned to the wild.
The trains, however, still chug through Amherst.