August 17, 1883

Hawthorne Visits Natural Bridge in North Adams

Region:
Western

On this day in 1838, Nathaniel Hawthorne visited Natural Bridge just outside of North Adams. It was just the kind of awe-inspiring scene that so moved early tourists. A 30-foot-long natural marble bridge — the only one on the continent— spanned a deep chasm that had been carved by melting glaciers thousands of years before. A Romantic, Hawthorne found the crags and fissures, torrents and pools, brilliant white marble and deep shadows uplifting. He noted with regret that nature's work was even then being re-worked by man. Quarrymen were extracting pure white marble. Fortunately, even after a century of quarrying, Natural Bridge is intact. It is as compelling a sight today as it was in 1838.

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