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Although the Berkshires are primarily known for their natural beauty, the region also boasts several man-made marvels. Among the more impressive are the Town Hall in Alford, the Lenox Library in Lenox, Merrell Tavern in Lee, the Registry of Deeds Building in Lanesborough, and the Hoosac Tunnel, which runs through Florida and North Adams.
The nearly 5-mile Hoosac Tunnel is widely regarded as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. It took 22 years to complete and totaled $21,241,842 in construction costs. The much more costly toll, though, proved to be the 196 workers who lost their lives in the name of progress. This is perhaps due to the fact that the Hoosac project marked the first time tri-nitro-glycerine -- also known as dynamite -- was used commercially.
The federal-style Lenox Library also boasts a colorful past. Before becoming a library, the building served as a courthouse, and for that reason, it now lists on the Register of Historical Places. Today, the library features a reading room, an art gallery, exhibits, and displays.
Isaac Damon, a native of Greenfield, Massachusetts, designed the building in 1815 and went on to design churches throughout the Connecticut Valley. Thought by many to be the crown jewel of historic Lenox Village, the library is a definite precursor to his church design.
Merrell Tavern also lists on The National Register of Historical Places. Built during the federal period, this nearly 200-year-old stage coach inn is located on two acres of park land extending down to the Housatonic River. Today, Merrell Tavern serves as a country inn.
The Alford Town Hall and the Registry of Deeds Building in Lanesborough were built in 1855 and 1827, respectively. These two records depositories, significant in their own right as civic institutions, are also examples of architectural distinction.
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