Bartholomew’s Cobble

(Sheffield, Massachusetts)

Main attributes of this Native American place: Archaeological; Native practices; Landmark.

Bartholomew’s Cobble is a prominent and unique natural landmark, known for its plant life and scenery. A bedrock outcrop one hundred feet in height, it looms directly above the Housatonic River. Natural terraces offer a commanding view of the river in both directions. There is no other landscape feature like it on the Upper Housatonic. Archaeological evidence indicates it was used by Native Americans in the ancient past. Perhaps not coincidentally, the boundary between the colonies of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay was drawn in 1731 across the southern extremity of the landmark rock formation – a fixed point on the Upper Housatonic River, which was uncharted territory for the colonial governments in the early 1700s. For Native Americans and others who traveled up and down the Housatonic River during the colonial period, Bartholomew’s Cobble marked the boundary between the colonies and their contrasting jurisdictions and laws. From the crest of Hurlburt’s Hill, a hillside meadow west of the Cobble, there is an outstanding northerly view of mountain vistas and the Mohican homeland in the Upper Housatonic River Valley. The 329-acre property is owned by The Trustees of Reservations, and is open to the public as a National Natural Landmark.

Thoughts to consider as you stand upon this place: This is a unique location to look over the Housatonic River. Upstream are the gentle meanderings of the river channel all the way to Great Barrington. Downstream, the channel straightens on its approach to the Great Falls (Pawachtuek), which marks a major natural boundary between the upper and lower parts of the Housatonic Valley.

Contributor: Timothy Binzen

SOURCES

The Trustees of Reservations 2016. Webpage for Bartholomew’s Cobble.

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