Montague — Natural Features

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The surface of the town is generally level, save in the east and south, where high hills cover the face of that region lying east of the New London Northern Railroad. The only elevation of consequence in the north is Wells' Hill. Other eminences are Dry, Chestnut, Pine, and Country hills, but none of these rise to the dignity of mountains.
      The Connecticut River bounds the town on the north and west, and Miller's River, on the northeast, is a rapid stream of considerable size, which furnishes the manufactories at Miller's Falls and other points with valuable water-power. Reference to this, as well as to the greater water-power of the Connecticut at Turner's Falls, will be found in detail farther along.
      From the hills on the east and south, richly picturesque views of the winding Connecticut, its charming valley, and the far-reaching and diversified landscape are obtained. During the past few years the timberland of the town has been industriously cleared. Chestnut is now the principal growth found on the woodlands. Besides the Connecticut and Miller's River, there is also Saw-mill River, which flows through Southwest Montague and empties into the Connecticut.
      The most important of the natural features of the town is Lake Pleasant, a lovely sheet of water covering about 100 acres, and situated in the midst of a pine grove, about a mile and a half east of Montague Centre, on the line of the Fitchburg Railroad. In 1872 the railroad company, recognizing the natural charms of the spot, built upon the banks of the lake (then called Great Pond), at a cost of $15,000, bath-houses, boat-houses, neat cottages, restaurants, and many other conveniences for public entertainment, supplied the lake with boats, beautified the surrounding grounds, and after, in short, creating a delightful retreat, the company opened it to the public as a free resort, and since that time the lake has been visited yearly every summer by thousands of pleasure-seeking people, many of whom take up their abode there for the season in the pretty cottages on the borders of the lake. Camp-meetings are regularly held there every summer, and, according to the popular estimate, the average daily population at Lake Pleasant during the season reaches fully 1200. The waters of the lake, which are very clear and said to be unfathomable, are plentifully stocked with black bass, and furnish the angler with capital sport. Picnic-parties journey to the spot from far and near, and altogether it is a famous resort, of which the town is justly proud.
      Two important waterfalls border the town,—Turner's Falls, on the Connecticut, at the north, with a fall of 25 feet, and Miller's Falls, on Miller's River, at the east, with a fall of 12 feet. In the eastern part of the town is a granite quarry, which furnishes considerable valuable stone.
      Extensive geological researches in the northern part of the town have unearthed a multitude of early fossil imprints in the red sandstone, and of these numerous collections are now in the possession of private individuals as well as public corporations.
      One of the most important and valuable of these collections was made by Dexter Marsh, a native of Montague, who died in Greenfield in 1853. Red sandstone abounds in the southwestern part of the town, and it was in the strata of this rock that the fossil imprints referred to were found, and where they are occasionally found to this day. Ancient relics, such as stone axes, arrow-points, etc, are often found at the present day imbedded in the lands along the river-bottoms.

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This page was last updated on
09 Jul 2005