Day 253: Balance Rock

Friday September 9, 2011

A one-in-a-billion chance, if you think about it. Kelton Miller, the one-time mayor and Eagle publisher is the name behind today’s tale, as he often is with stories about parks and recreation and other things of that nature that did then and does now bring wonderment and joy to the city.

Miller, and I’ve said this before, will get his full due another time. But this was a heady acquisition to his collected and protected parks he loved so much.

Balance Rock, well, it’s both -- a balance of one big rock upon a much smaller one. It is remarkable and a signature visit for people coming to the area. It’s in Lanesborough, but Miller wrested it away a long time ago.

The Balance Rock Trust was formed by Miller in 1910 and had as its agenda "to preserve Balance Rock and the and the land in connection therewith, as a public park, as a place for the study and experiments in forestry, and as a resort for sightseeers and students of nature, and for other public purposes."

I think Miller covered all the bases there. Miller roused 26 "public-spirited citizens of Pittsfield" to financially contribute to the trust fund, and that allowed the land around the boulder to be purchased. Those who contributed funds were instructed in 1916 to convey the property to the City of Pittsfield, and that’s pretty much how it became part of the Pittsfield parks system.

It may not have caught the historical fancy that the "Old Elm" did during its run on Park Square, but unlike the tree, which ultimately had to come down, the rock still stands -- or sits.

I have no weight nor size measurements to share; you should go see it yourself if you haven’t ever been. Or go again if you have. It’s been scuffed up over the years, a lot of initials and "Joey was here" type stuff. But it remains a gem.

Of note, going back into the 1800s, it was known by locals as Rolling Rock. Further research at a later date may provide why that name, because Balance Rock seems to fit so well.

And while the big guy is very impressive, how about a shout-out for that little guy underneath. Talk about your 24-7 pressure.


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