Our 2nd Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area hike of the 2023 season was a guided tour of the Chester Historic Factory Village Tour narrated by both Dave Pierce (The Chester Foundation) and John Garvey (Chester Historical Society). We toured the village you all know located on Route 20 in the beautiful valley on the Westfield River in between Gobble Mountain and Round Top Hill. The Factory Village center was established only because the Western Railroad came through and then multiplied to churches, a tannery, grist mill, and factories like the bedstead factory on Walker Brook. Water power from this brook proved to be a winner in creating industry here. The discovery of emery here also boomed the town into a hub of activity. Main Street, with the Riverside Inn, Pease dry goods store, feed store, bowling alley, skating rink, mobile gas station (now Carm’s), Aladdins Ice Cream shop…and of course the Chester Factories Train Station all were located here including even more, and many remain to this day! Chester, the hub of the hilltowns then, and now.

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