“She was Very Short, Although not in Spirit”

27. Take advantage of Katherine Root Wayside Park

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What a fun, historical, magical adventure this was.

I live on a dead end street in a small town (now a city, but no one really calls it that) in Massachusetts called Easthampton. I’ve lived in the same house in the same street my whole life (minus a few months I lived in the neighboring city of Northampton). At the end of my street, there’s a stoplight and beyond the stoplight is a small park consisting of three picnic tables, a spigot, and some old cinderblocks for a fire. It’s right on the side of Route 10 (see last post), and kind of sticks out since it’s in a busy area/intersection. I hardly ever see people there and if I do it’s someone alone and on a lunch break.

The park has a little sign that reads:

Katherine Root Wayside Park

For a while now I’ve been wondering who Katherine Root was/is. I turned to the infamous “You Know You’re from Easthampton When….” Facebook page and posted this, knowing I’d get some answers:

I live right near the Katherine Root Wayside Park and I’ve NEVER known who exactly Katherine Root was. Anybody know anything about the park’s history or who she was?

I was left with over 60 comments, all of Easthamptonites (even Katherine’s niece!), exchanging truly wonderful stories about her. I will not use exact quotes from comments, however, here are some basics:

Katherine Root:

  • Was very short.
  • Was an elected city official
  • Delivered newspapers
  • Drove very slowly
  • Was honored that the park was named after her since she was still alive
  • Was very active in town
  • Passed away in 1997 at the age of 98
  • Did so much for Easthampton

I could go on and on. People on the page knew everything! Where she lived, what kind of car she drove. I was so impressed and so proud to be part of an amazing, close town city with so much local history and an amazing community.


The next day I met with my dear pal Melissa (seen throughout this blog) and told her all about Katherine Root and the Facebook thread and we decided we had to go to the park to honor her. I logged on Facebook (not that I ever log off) and invited the people in the thread to come to the park with us. We rode bikes there and enjoyed the sun.

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This picture kind of captures the busy-ness surrounding the park.

This picture kind of captures the busy-ness surrounding the park.

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Even though a bee really scared Melissa and no one from Facebook ended up joining us for a spontaneous party (but that’s okay), we had so much fun and I think Katherine would’ve liked that we were using the park and really enjoying ourselves.

I think the happiest part of my day was later at night when Mel and I drove by the park and saw a young couple sitting at a picnic table. Maybe they were breaking up. I don’t know. At least they were taking advantage of the park like we did.

Check out the park and definitely some more information on Katherine Root if you’re interested. She seemed like a really powerful, inspiring woman.

*Note: The title of the post comes from a quote from Judie on Facebook about Katherine Root. I thought it was perfect.

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Thanks,

Samantha

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