Intro to the Gazette Series about Leeds, by Alice Manning, 1975

On the last weekend of August 1950, Leeds held a gala celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the naming the village. The old bell was rung – the same bell that summoned the workers to their tasks at the Nonotuck Silk Mill (now the Leeds Village Apartments), once an important contributor to the giant silk industry which made the area famous.

As the harsh tones of the old bell spread over the little village, followed the Mill River for a distance, crept up the hill toward the schoolhouse and was lost against the forests on Bear Hill (VA Hospital), memories flooded back for many. This old bell had announced to the fa

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thers, mothers and grandparents of those present at the celebration each day with unrelenting regularity and in clear cold tones that another work day had begun. It also sent out the message that life was real, made up of hard work and very little fun, and if they wanted a pay envelope at the end of the week they had better be up and to work.

Among the crowd were those who had lived in Leeds all their lives as had their parents before them. These men and women were proud of their little community and had instilled a love for the place by passing on to their children the tales of its past glories and events. They knew their history went back a long way and that the village of Leeds had played an important part in the economy of Massachusetts and New England.  Many tales were told and retold that day.

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