Cheapside Early Transportation
This image is a digital composition of a 7 by 18 foot wall mounted canvas mural that hangs in the boardroom at the TD Bank building on Main Street in Greenfield MA., one of two murals in that building painted by local artist Steven Maniatty.
The scene depicts the district of Greenfield known as “Cheapside” along the banks of the Deerfield River and thought to be in the vicinity at the base of Hope Street. This district which was originally part of Deerfield was so important to the region’s economic development that a legal dispute raged for 150 years over whether it would become part of Greenfield or remain a district of Deerfield. Not until 1896 was the dispute settled and it became part of Greenfield.
From the 1790’s to about 1850 when the railroads arrived, “Cheapside” was a river traffic port for trade up and down the Connecticut River. From “Cheapside” flat boats, and later steamboats, heading south carrying agricultural products such as wheat, lumber, potash and flax oil would pass boats heading up river carrying bolts of cloth, foreign steel, tea, cigars and rum. And up until the railroads arrived in the 1850-1860’s all of the products from the burgeoning metalworking industries of the region, like the hundreds of thousand “Green River Knives” made at the Russell Cutlery were shipped from this port. Packed with grease in wooden barrels for the journey down the east coast and up the Mississippi River to points out west. Green River Knife History- Merriam
Greenfield, 100 miles inland from Long Island Sound situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains was the farthest inland industrial seaport in New England with transportation links going west and north. The origin of the name "Cheapside" is thought to have come from the famous trading district on the Thames in London .
Creating this image was a 2014 Museum project that required many hours of work and the cooperation of the current tenant of the bank building. Twenty four separate exposures were taken with a digital camera. The camera has captured more than 22,000 pixels of color detail from every square inch of this large painting The twenty four images were first assembled, as a mosaic, and then digitally edited to correct color and tone.
Thanks to Chris Clawson for his production work on this project.