Perfect weather and wonderful neighbors gathered for Jane’s Walk 2024. More photos to come!

Saturday, May 4, 2024, starting at 11am with a free guided walk in “The Hill” neighborhood

Meet at the corner of Castle Street and Hollenbeck, by the bulletin board. We’ll walk up Castle Street, noting that the Black intellectual and civil rights leader W E B Du Bois sledded down this street as a boy,* and then turn right on Prospect and walk toward the lake. From there we plan to go down Castle Hill Avenue to Pig Lane, and circle back to our starting point. The exact route will be determined closer to the time, depending on weather. Several people who grew up here will be with us, and we’ll hear stories about how the neighborhood has developed, for better or worse, over the past 4 or 5 decades.

The walk will be led by Jamie Mullen, former chair of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, who grew up in the neighborhood. Here’s a list of people who’ll be joining us and sharing their memories and information:

  • Chuck and Mary Hamilton
  • Roselle Chartock
  • Julie Webster
  • Paul Gibbons
  • Christine Ward and Dale Abrams for the Lake Mansfield Alliance

We’ll be strolling and talking, and you are welcome to join at any point. After the walk, we’ll meet at 120 Castle Street, the house on the corner where the walk starts, for conversation and a potluck lunch, bathroom break, or cold drink.

Jane’s Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking conversations inspired by Jane Jacobs. The festival encourages people to share stories about their neighborhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbors.

Read about Jane Jacobs and the origins of  Jane’s Walks: janeswalk.org and Jane Jacobs Walk. Karen Christensen wrote about Jacobs for the WestView News, a New York neighborhood paper, in 2011, leading with Jane’s Walks and providing background on Jacobs’ activism and its relevance to Great Barrington. Read the articles here.

For information or to help, contact Karen Christensen. If you would like to be in touch with the group by text or Whatsapp or Google Maps on the day, drop her a line with your name and number. Neighbors Kathryn Potts and Linda Lucas are also organizers and can also answer questions about our plans for the day.

* The Black civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois wrote: ‘For recreation we played games: “marbles,” “hi-spy,” “duck on a rock,” and “Indians.” We went mountain climbing and explored caves. We swam, and coasted the  long hill from far up Castle Street, across the railroad tracks down to Main Street.’ –from the Great Barrington edition of The Autobiography of W E B Du Bois.

block party invitation

Friends & Neighbors!

The invitation at left is from one of the neighborhood parties Chuck and Mary Hamilton organized and hosted for many years. That tradition continues, and the Jane’s Walk is one example.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from the neighborhood party in 2014. Wish we could credit the photographer – if you took these, please let us know. TheHillGB Party album. We’re hoping to gather more historical photos of the neighborhood and neighbors. We’ll be showing some when we meet for lunch after the walk on May 4th. Bring your physical photo albums then!

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