Northampton History ❥ Finding Ways to Remember

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 23, History

For an upcoming issue of Preview Massachusetts Magazine, I was in Northampton interviewing a chef and a restaurant owner this week. It’s a space he relatively recently took over and we were recalling together what it had been in its last incarnation.

That evening, my husband and I strained to recall what it had been before that. We couldn’t remember.

I arrived in the Valley in 1981 as a first year student at Hampshire College. Gauzily, hazily, I can recall waiting for the train—location, obvious—for its 2 AM pickup once or twice (that wasn’t fun). Where Moshi Moshi is, Wally’s Soda Bar was. There was another health food store in town and a groovy cotton-clothing store where Florence Savings Bank is now. The town had a hardware store and a Woolworth’s and an independently owned pharmacy on Main Street.

On it goes. There’s so much I cannot remember. I have to admit my personal institutional memory is spotty at best.

My dear husband and I think that someone—Chamber of Commerce, perhaps—should build some kind of interactive site that offers the history of each storefront in town.

What do you remember? Where’s the history-loving and tech-savvy design student to build a site for our adorable little New England city?


Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Editor’s Note: Check out what they’ve done in Holyoke: The Holyoke History Walk: A Virtual Tour of the City

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