You wouldn’t want to see one of New England’s historic buildings, landscapes or icons without knowing about its hidden past, would you?
New England has plenty of landmarks with obvious history, from taverns and meetinghouses to mill yards and monuments. But New England is even more drenched in history than you might imagine.
That road you take to work might have once been trod by French soldiers during the Revolutionary War. A child might have gone to the gallows by that statue you just passed. A world-famous architect, now forgotten, might have designed that pretty church you saw.
The New England Historical Society has regularly posted a feature listing six such noteworthy items, hidden or otherwise. Each New England state gets one. The Six Oldest Houses. Six Mysterious Stone Structures. Six Landmark Signs. Six Irish Landmarks. You get the picture.
New England’s Hidden Past
Now, New England Historical Society authors Dan and Leslie Landrigan have compiled 60 lists of six landmarks into a book called, New England’s Hidden Past: 360 Overlooked, Underappreciated, and Misunderstood Landmarks. If you travel anywhere in New England, this would be a handy book to have around. Looking for a scenic drive for some leaf-peeping in fall? You could take an old Indian trail. Fascinated by the Underground Railroad? Here are six stops.
Trying to find one of each hidden landmark in each New England state can be tricky, especially when Vermont and Rhode Island are so small. But a list of revolutionary forts takes you to the top of Mount Independence in Orwell, Vt., for one of the largest, least disturbed revolutionary sites in America. A list of places where gallows once stood takes you to the spot on a Rhode Island sidewalk where 26 pirates met their maker – all in one day.
New England’s Hidden Past takes readers to the grave sites of revolutionary heroines, Loyalist houses, stagecoach stops, historic department stores, ghost towns and Little Italys. Anyone who loves New England history will love this book.
Order it here and you’ll help local bookstores and the New England Historical Society.