A former railroad yard, this urban park uses historical artifacts and exhibits to bring to life the controversial and danger-filled construction of the Hoosac Tunnel, one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. The tunnel was dug 4.75 miles through Hoosac Mountain, linking Massachusetts to Albany, NY. 200 men lost their lives building the tunnel, which is still being used today. An audio-visual presentation takes visitors back in time, where the sounds of dripping water, pickaxes against stone, explosions, and debates re-create the hardships and heroism of the tunnel's construction.
Several beautifully restored buildings that were once used to store freight and commodities surround a cobblestone courtyard. The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Programs and exhibits in history, science, culture and environmental education are offered regularly to the public.
The Visitors Center
The heart of the park is the Visitors Museum. Imaginative exhibits are designed to reveal the impact that the railroad industry and the Hoosac Tunnel project had on both northern Berkshire County and America. Children and adults can experiment with a vintage floor scale that was used for weighing loads up to half a ton.
Things to know before you go…
The building and exhibits are universally accessible. Program access may vary. Reasonable accommodations available upon request. Group tours and school visits may be arranged by calling in advance. While touring northern Berkshire County in the spring, summer and fall consider visiting: Natural Bridge State Park, just two miles away on Rte. 8; and Mount Greylock State Reservation, with its summit at 3,491 feet, the highest peak in Massachusetts. The drive from Western Gateway offers spectacular views of the Berkshire landscape. It can be easily reached from the Furnace Street exit of Western Gateway.
Western Gateway HSP is located in the northern part of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.
From the East: West on Rte. 2 to North Adams to Rte. 8 south. Take a right after the Hadley Overpass into the parking lot.
From the West: East on Rte. 2 to downtown North Adams to Rte. 8 south. Take a right after the Hadley Overpass into the parking lot.
From the Mass. Turnpike: Take the Lee exit, go north on Rte. 20 then north on Rte. 7 to Williamstown. At rotary go east on Route 2 to downtown North Adams. Turn right on Route 8 south. Take a right after the Hadley Overpass into the parking lot.
Other Heritage State Parks
You can learn more about Massachusetts' industrial heritage at these state parks: Blackstone River and Canal HSP, Holyoke HSP, Lawrence HSP, and Lynn HSP.More Info