After the fateful day in 1853 when Mary Hopkins rode her white horse through the Stockbridge Burying Ground, the small Massachusetts village would never be the same again. Dismayed by the cemetery's weed-chocked landscape and crumbling gravestones, she vowed to do something about the neglected but historic patch of land. She mobilized her fellow citizens to work together to beautify the burial grounds and ultimately all of Stockbridge. That summer they founded the Laurel Hill Association, the nation's oldest continuing community improvement organization.
In its first decades the Association planted trees, laid sidewalks, added street lamps, and cleaned up the Housatonic River. The results of its efforts attracted new residents as well as tourists. Today the Association maintains and protects some of Stockbridge's historic and recreational gems.
Margaret French Cresson enlivens her history of the Association's first century with insightful sketches of Mary Hopkins, other influential citizens, and the native people who were the area's first residents.