Arts and Leisure

Flashback Photo: Mohawk Trail Picnics, 1941

A picnic party along. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

A picnic party. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

In 1941, government photographer Jack Collier took photos of picnickers along the Mohawk Trail, once a trade route from what is now northwest Massachusetts to upstate New York.

Early European settlers traveled the trail between Deerfield, Boston and the Dutch settlements in New York. Metacomet traveled the Mohawk Trail during King Philip’s War, and Benedict Arnold took it 100 years later to Fort Ticonderoga, where he captured the cannons. As the region industrialized, the trail was widened into a road.  in October 1914, the Massachusetts Legislature designated the Mohawk Trail a scenic tourist route.

Collier was working for the Farm Security Information/Office of War Information. The Farm Security Administration was a New Deal program that evolved into a propaganda office that produced positive images of American life and values.

Cooking on the Mohawk Trail. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Cooking. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Collier’s caption for this photo was “All cooking in state-owned picnic site on the Mohawk Trail was done on gas stoves.”

Picnicking along the Mohawk Trail. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Refrigeration. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

“Cooling beer in stream at state-owned picnic and camping site along the Mohawk Trail,” wrote Collier.

Mohawk Trail picknickers. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Schoolteachers. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

“New England school teachers on a picnic in Savoy Mountain State Park,” reads the caption for the above photo.

Mohawk Trail motorcyclists. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Motorcyclists. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

“Members of a motorcycle troup out to enjoy the fall coloring along the Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires.”

Another Mohawk Trail photographer. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Another photographer. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

“Making snapshots along the Mohawk Trail.”

Sunday picnickers. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Sunday picnickers. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

“Folks from the cities camp up on Mohawk Trail on Sunday to view the fall foliage and read the Sunday paper. Mohawk Trail picnic park,” wrote Collier.

 

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