Tuesday, July 10... was memorialized in popular culture when Arlo Guthrie, the folk singer and son of Woody Guthrie, was arrested for littering by legendary police chief "Officer Obie" (William Obanhein); the incident lives on in Guthrie's signature, 17-minute musical narrative "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" and in the 1969 "Alice's Restaurant" film, directed by Arthur Penn, who remains a longtime Stockbridge resident. Still living nearby is playwright William Gibson ("The Miracle Worker," "Golden Boy," "Golda"). ... Other notable Stockbridge residents: Six Congressmen including Theodore Sedgwick, who also served as a U.S. Senator; merchant and financier Cyrus West Field; theologian Jonathan Edwards; Williams College benefactor Ephraim Williams; U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joseph Choate; TV personality Gene Shalit; opera singer Maureen O'Flynn; Billy Miles, who founded the Berkshire Playhouse; and Skylab shuttle astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave. ... The Norman Rockwell Museum, founded with the help of the artist and his wife Molly in 1969, is the county's most-visited year-round cultural attraction, with 150,000 visitors. Originally located in the center of town at the Old Corner House, it moved to its 36-acre Glendale site in 1993.
The museum's collection includes 574 original paintings and drawings, as well as archives housing more than 100,000 items. ... The town has been home to the prominent Austen Riggs psychiatric treatment center since 1919. The well-known, German-born psychologist Erik Erikson was associated with the center during the 1950s. ... The Stockbridge Library is among the county's leading repositories of books, archives and local historical collections. It is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9 to 5 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 9 to 2 on Saturdays. It houses more than 27,000 books, 300 audio materials and more than 500 videos. Information: 298-5501. ... Stockbridge is the only county's only post office that does not offer home delivery. At the annual town election in 2005, residents voted by a narrow margin in favor of mail delivery, but the U.S. Postal Service regional office in Springfield has no plans to offer it. Many residents enjoy visiting the post office to pick up mail and chat with friends, neighbors and visitors. ... The town's professional police force is headed by Chief Rick Wilcox, 23 years on the job and noted for his sense of humor and quick wit. He succeeded Officer William Obanhein ("Officer Obie") of "Alice's Restaurant" fame. The volunteer fire department reports to Chief Louis Peyron and Deputy Chief Joseph Tracy. ... The Berkshire Botanical Garden (originally the Berkshire Harvest Center) is at the intersections of Routes 102 and 183 two miles west of the town center. Its early-October Harvest Festival is among the many events that attracts area residents as well as tourists. ... Notable landmarks in town include Naumkeag, the onetime home of New York attorney Joseph Choate and recently designated as a National Historic Landmark; the First Congregational Church, with its Bell Tower also known as the Children's Chimes, the 1825 Merwin House (a cultural-history museum also known as Tranquillity, at 14 Main St.), and the Mission House, operated by the Trustees of Reservations. ... Classical composer Charles Ives honeymooned in the town; he wrote "The Housatonic at Stockbridge" as part of his orchestral work, "Three Places in New England." ... James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" includes the line: "The first of December was covered with snow, and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston." ... The highest sale price for any private residence in Stockbridge and in Berkshire County was for Southmayd Farm, former home of 19th century attorney Charles Southmayd. The sale was closed in March 2007 for a recorded price of $6,900,000. While a place of unhappiness for Southmayd, who once wrote that he hoped it would burn down, the 1870 country Glendale Middle Road estate on 80 acres was restored in the late 1900s by Charles and Carole Schulze and featured in House and Garden and in Forbes magazines. ... The Wheatleigh resort, located in Stockbridge near the Lenox border, was built in 1904 for a countess, housed the Lenox School of Jazz in the 1950s; in the 1960s and 1970s, the adjacent Music Inn property hosted famous folk and rock performers. The site became the White Pines Condominiums in the 1980s. ... The Congregation of Marians of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary has been perched high atop Eden Hill overlooking the town since June 1944. The reconstruction of the Shrine of the Divine Mercy began in 1950 and was dedicated in 1960. Divine Mercy Sunday, observed one week after Easter, attracts as many as 20,000 pilgrims. Many others visit the shrine year-round. The Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception is a community of about 600 priests and brothers in 18 countries and on six continents. Founded in Poland in 1673 by Fr. Stanislaus Papczynski, the Marians were the first Catholic men's order to give witness to Mary's Immaculate Conception by bearing her title. The Association of Marian Helpers (AMH), founded in 1944, and located also in Stockbridge, is a spiritual benefit society that serves the needs of more than half a million members. The Marian Helpers Center houses Marian Press, the publishing arm, that prints the Diary of St. Faustina in addition to millions of pieces of religious materials each year.