Mill River History Presented At The Springfield Museums

Mill River History Presented at the Springfield Museums

Devil’s Den to Lickingwater
How a Small, Little-Known River Once Shaped the Landscape and History of The Connecticut River Valley
John Sinton
November 7,  12:15 pm–1 pm
Cost: $4; Cost for Members: $2

Museums á la Carte Lecture Series
12:15 at Davis Auditorium
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts

The Springfield Museums presents a lecture by Professor John Sinton, November 7, from 12:15 to 1 pm in the Davis Auditorium. Devil’s Den to Lickingwater: How a Small, Little-Known River Once Shaped the Landscape and History of The Connecticut River Valley is part of the popular lunchtime lecture series Museums á la Carte.

John Sinton, who is co-moderator of the Mill River Greenway Initiative and Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst, will present information gathered for his new book Devil’s Den to Lickingwater: The Mill River through Landscape and History.

The Mill River, which runs from Williamsburg through Northampton, MA, has shaped this part of the Connecticut River Valley and reflects the history of New England. Sinton will explore the historical significance of the Mill River. He will discuss Native American lore and the dramatic changes in the Valley as English colonists appropriated it in the 17th century. He will also consider the onset of great environmental transformations and the industrialization of the United States as witnessed through the story of this river. The Mill River played a major role in the history of Northampton but it was diverted out of town in 1940. Sinton will pose the question: Does this small river still matter?

John Sinton is a retired environmental studies professor and a founding member of the Mill River Greenway Initiative. His new book Devil’s Den to Lickingwater: The Mill River Through Landscape & History tells the multifaceted tale of the Mill River in Western Massachusetts, from its emergence after the glaciers 20,000 years ago to the present. Little escapes Sinton’s voracious historical appetite—the creation of the landscape, the disappearance and reappearance of native fish and animals, the Mill River as a Native American crossroads, the contrast between English and Native ways of managing the land, the transformations wrought by war, floods and industrial disasters, the extraordinary role of the Mill River in the Industrial Revolution, and exceptional personalities from Sachem Umpanchala to Calvin Coolidge: all this is told through the arc of the Mill River’s history—beloved, abused, diverted, and ultimately reclaimed as an integral part of the landscape.

About Museums á la Carte

Museums á la Carte is the Springfield Museums’ popular lunchtime lecture series. Guests are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the program. Cookies and coffee are provided thanks to Big Y. The cost for admission to the lecture is $2 for Springfield Museums members and $4 for nonmembers.

Free onsite parking is available. For more information about Museums à la Carte, call 413.263.6800, ext. 488.