To the editor:
We at the Berkshire County Historical Society have recently been notified about the construction of a Verizon Communications Tower at 877 South St.
On behalf of the Berkshire County Historical Society, I am writing to express our reservations with the proposed project. Placement of this tower in close proximity to our property would damage the historical integrity of a site that has seen much of Pittsfield's history unfold.
This land, and most of the land in Berkshire County, was inhabited by Native Americans — Mohican Chief Konkapot held a deed for the land we now own. The house itself was built in the early 1780s and functioned as a farm and an inn, housing travelers on a north to south route in the county. In 1850, the house and farmland was purchased by Herman Melville who wrote his masterpiece "Moby-Dick" in the upstairs study, and resided here with his family until 1863. The property was purchased by the BCHS in 1975 and we have preserved it ever since.
The cellphone tower would affect a view shed that allows visitors to step back in history and imagine this land as it once was. The introduction of the modern world in our landscape is a jarring reminder of progress and could certainly be located somewhere else that would not impact our neighbors or our site directly.
Thank you for your consideration.
The writer is executive director of the Berkshire County Historical Society at Herman Melville's Arrowhead.