A Landscape in Transition: The Evolution of the Massachusetts Section of the Connecticut River Valley in the Nineteenth Century
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The landscape of the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts, like all other landscapes, has changed over time. Change is inevitable, for even if an area remains completely untouched by human hands, nature manages to make alterations of its own. Water cuts a new path, bypasses an old one. Fields turn into forests and vice versa. Add humans into the equation and the changes become much more visible. The light colored spots of buildings and stretches of road are stark against the natural shades of the landscape. In the view from Mount Holyoke in 3 2009, civilization has crept into what was once depicted by Cole as a “partnership landscape,” balanced in its human and natural influences, yet in many ways, the changes could have been worse. Almost 175 years after Cole’s 1836 painting, the landscape still contains fields and trees and is green almost as far as the eye can see. The pockets of civilization and human activity have remained just that: pockets. There is no sprawling development and no sense that nature has been overtaken and forgotten by those who live within the landscape. The story of the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts is one of both continuity and change. As expected, the physical landscape has been subdued and controlled by residents of the area, but there remains a balance between human needs and nature. The valley has made way for progress, yet in many places it has cloaked those changes within the folds of a landscape that has maintained its pastoral appearance.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2009
- F&M Theses Collection