A cultural historian, a forester, a surveyor, a naturalist, a stone mason, and a graphic designer combined forces to put together Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills: five walks on maps for the Plainfield Historical Society, funded in part by Mass Humanities. Their aim was to create maps of the area that empower the viewer to see history in the landscape, and to tour different sites sharpening their interpretation skills.
The project combined old and new mapping techniques, and participants plumbed the depths of the Plainfield Historical Society’s Dyer Collection and the Plainfield history database to find out what was known about the region. They combined the official record with information gleaned from emerging techniques in mapping, methods of reading the landscape to determine what was there previously. The project asked:
Who lived here, why and how did they move here and away, how did they farm, what power did they harness for their industry and how, where did they get water? How did they work and deal with each other?
Now, adventurers can download and print a tour of the mills that were built on the Mill River, or an historical guide to farms and land use over the centuries, and three other explorations of the landscape. Most of the information (70% of the area surveyed) is publicly accessible and can be toured for free. Grab your hiking shoes and other outdoor equipment and hit these trails! Of course, be sure to take your map.