Rowe Historical Society
Kemp-McCarthy Museum
The Rowe Yankee prototype nuclear power plant was part of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" Program. Construction began in 1958.
Above: President Eisenhower
Below: 1958 Rowe Old Home Day program
Richard Tower (shown in the photo below) captured the essence of life in Rowe through his amazing photographs. Please scroll down (on the right, below the section of photos from our archives) to the display highlighting some of Dick's memorable pictures of animals.


Visit Jerry Kelly's new section on this website, "Hoosac Memories." Click on the blue "HOOSAC MEMORIES" tab above.
Benefactors & Cooks
Helen McCarthy (top photo) and Rae Kemp were good cooks, too! Learn more about this hidden talent of the benefactors of our museum by clicking on "Rowe Recipes" above.



Hours of Operation for 2016
Saturdays 10-2

July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
August 6, 13, 20, 27
September 3, 10, 17, 24
October 1, 8
 Please check this website for any possible schedule changes
The Rowe Historical Society owns and operates the Kemp-McCarthy Museum located at 282 Zoar Road in Rowe, Massachusetts. It opened on June 30, 1963.


The museum has an extensive collection of local artifacts and antiques. Highlights of the collection include antique quilts, 19th century dolls, period costumes, china and glassware, sleighs, furniture, photographs, cookware, tools, farm implements, and an original 19th century hearse. Exhibits are updated regularly.


The Kemp-McCarthy Museum also has many valuable photos of townspeople and local sites, as well as literature from the Davis Mine and the Yankee Atomic Electric Company.


The Rowe Historical Society publishes The Bulletin, dedicated to the preservation of local history by highlighting "bits of history, old letters, pictures, news clippings and anything of interest to the history of Rowe."

Many books are published by the Rowe Historical Society, including The History of Rowe, Massachusetts by Percy Whiting Brown and Nancy Newton Williams.


The Kemp-McCarthy Museum is open to the public every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. from July through mid-October, and at other times by appointment. Concerts, holiday celebrations, literary programs, and other cultural activities are held at the museum throughout the year.


Our website also provides useful information on membership in the Rowe Historical Society and directions to the Kemp-McCarthy Museum.


Author Cliff Schexnayder will give a talk on the Hoosac Tunnel at the North Adams Library on Saturday, June 11 at 2 pm

Our Publications

Learn about the fascinating history of the Franklin County town of Rowe, Massachusetts from our fine selection of books.

For more information, please click on the "Museum Store" tab above.
Thank you to the Rowe and Massachusetts Cultural Councils for supporting many of our programs.
The Rowe Historical Society will participate in the North Adams Historical Society's rail event listed below. Please mark your calendar!

Rowe's Pets and Farm Animals

Animals, especially pets, have always played and important role in the history of Rowe. While they may be footnotes to lives most often remembered for major accomplishments, they also are an integral part of who we are.

The Rowe Historical Society's archives and publications have an interesting collection of animal photos, and some favorites are shown below.

Noted Rowe photographer Richard Tower took some very special pictures of Rowe's farm animals. Some of Dick's wonderful pictures are shown in this section of our website.

Please scroll down.


Photos from the Archives of the Rowe Historical Society
Photo above: John Magnago and his dog, Teddy, 1952
Photo above: Willard D. Leshure, owner of the Hampden Corundum Wheel Company in Springfield, established his summer home in Rowe in 1910. He purchased a farm on Whitingham Road and named it Merrifield. He created the present curve at the east end of Ford Hill Road on what then became known as Leshure Road. Later, he purchased 650 acres around this property and became the largest individual landowner in Rowe.

Barbara Leshure, his daughter, studied piano and voice, and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music around 1930. She ran a summer camp for children on the grounds at Merrifield. One recorded memory of her work there is "Modestine," with a donkey as the principal character. "Modestine" was the stubborn donkey from Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, a story by Robert Louis Stevenson about a 12-day, 120 mile solo hiking journey through the Cevennes Mountains in south-central France in 1878. This  was among the earliest accounts presenting hiking and camping outdoors as a recreational pursuit. Quite obviously, Rowe was an ideal destination for Barbara Leshure's students to make this story come to life.
Photo below: Here is Clara F. Rutherford. According to an item in the Rowe News from 1926, Clara moved into the Professor Ernest E. Stanford house for the winter. Accompanying Clara was her cat, Pedro. If the photo is any indication, Pedro was quite talented!
Speaking of talented, what about the Pierce cow intently watching the Rowe Old Home Day parade in 1961!
Photo above: "Bobby and Will Brown's youngest"

Rowe also has a fine assortment of well behaved animals who participated in Town parades.
Photo above: Like most kids in the 1950s, John Magnago had a cowboy outfit.

Photo below: A donkey pulling a decorated cart led by Chad Bainbridge. Mary E. Sibley is behind the cart in this photo from 1953.
In 1915, The Rowe News reported on "quite an influx of driving horses in town lately."

"Mrs. Charles Hunt (shown in the photo below) has a fine carriage horse as do Pauline Hicks, Benjamin T. Henry and the Brownings."
Farm animals have long played an important role in the economy of Rowe, like these fine cattle featured in this 1900 Rowe News article about Alfred Reed and Edward Wright.
The next two undated photos of farm animals are from the photo archives of the Kemp-McCarthy Museum.
Similar photos in our collection date from the early 1900s.

Photographs of Animals in Rowe
 from the
 Richard Tower Collection

Richard "Dick" Tower
Dick's amazing talent lives on through his beautiful photographs of Rowe, including the animal pictures shown below.


The Following Are Submitted Photographs of
Rowe Residents and Their Animal Friends

In 2016, Rowe's most famous dog is Chief, shown above, and below with his owner and pal, Jim Lively. Chief is 9 years old and weighs 50 pounds.

Chief keeps tabs on townspeople who visit the Rowe Refuse Gardens, and brightens everyone's day, too!
In 2116, people searching through the archives of the Rowe Historical Society will be interested in the variety of Rowe's pets, like "Victor" and "Vladimir," Scottish Highlands Steers owned by Rick Williams and Laurie Pike. Rick and Laurie keep them as pets at Rowe Highlands Farm. They are 9 years old.

Thank you to Rick Williams for this photo.
Photo Below: "Tortitude" - Meet Cleo (short for Cleopatra), the Queen of the Quinn house. Melissa Quinn describes Cleo as "cute, funny, smart, loving and feisty. She is a tortoiseshell cat with 'tortitude.'"

Only those who have owned a tortiseshell can understand their unique personality. Tortoiseshell cats tend to be feistier than average, and "more sensitive to the stiumulus around them."

Cleo is a wonderful and beloved companion.
Next Three Photos: Diasey Mae - Rowe's Champion Dog
 Owned and Trained by Ken and Doris Fensky

Traveling Pets: Rowe has some lucky pets who accompany their owners to destinations far and wide.  Helene Glass, formerly of Rowe, took her Maltese, Tobi, from Rowe to Mexico every year. Shown below are John Magnago holding Tobi, and Helene in her former studio on Kings Highway in Rowe.
Photo below: Christmas in Florida - This is Duffy Magnago, now seven years old. He lives in Rowe during the summer and travels with his companion, John Magnago, to Miami, Florida for the winter. Duffy is a sweet and adorable Shihtzu.
Photo below:
Willy, Canine Celebrity

Willy never even lived in Rowe, but her owner has resided here for 42 years and would like to share this favorite story:

I had wanted a dog throughout my childhood years spent in eastern Massachusetts, but circumstances at the time made that quite unlikely. Then, a close family friend attended a show at the Frolics nightclub at Salisbury Beach. The star performing that evening was a very popular singer known as Patti Page, "The Singing Rage" from Oklahoma. She closed the show with her biggest hit, "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window." When she finished singing, Patti Page asked if anyone in the audience would be willing to give a home to the puppy she had held during her performance. Our family friend immediately volunteered, and showed up at our house with the puppy the same evening.

It all had a happy ending, since any opposition to having a dog disappeared once the adorable puppy was in our house! Willy was even the neighborhood celebrity because she had been Patti Page's "Doggie in the Window."

Photo Below: Dorothy Schubert with her cat. Photo courtesy of Helene Glass
Dorothy resided in the house shown below at 6 Kings Highway
This is what the area looked like in the early part of the 20th century, before the road was paved.

Here is a photo essay highlighting some of our past programs

Last Night's Fun, Celtic

Katherine First, Celtic

Bill Knittle, Country, Rock

Northampton Flutes, Classical

John Root, Traditional American

Dennis Ainsworth, Classical on antique piano

John Marin

Thomas Enneking

(with Antique Cars)
Joan DeGusto, Costume Historian

Lynda Meyer, Costume Historian

John Magnago, Norm Cousineau and Jim McKee

Professor John Anderson as
Robert Frost and
Washington Irving

Joe Manning and the Lewis Hines Project

Hoosac Tunnel experts Tim Lawrence, Jerry Kelley, Carl Byron
 and Chuck Cahoon

Cliff Schexnayder, Hoosac Tunnel author

History of Rowe's Fort Pelham with Michael Coe and
 RHS Historian Nan Williams

Robert Osterhout, University of Pennsylvania professor and prolific author about Rowe archaeologist John Henry Haynes

Tom and Nan, preserving our antique clocks

Bonnie Nugent, handwriting analyst
Photo Essay Continues Below

The end of the year is a time to reflect on the past. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite posters from several of our many successful programs.

A special thanks to the Massachusetts and Rowe Cultural Councils for helping us fund many of our programs, and to you for supporting our efforts over the years!

Posters 1 and 9 above, courtesy of Leon Peters. Remaining posters by website editor.


Remembering Rail-Fan III   -   October 4, 2015

The Weather -  Perfect!

The Audience - Standing room only and very enthusiastic!

The Speakers - Talented, knowledgeable, inspired!

The Exhibits - New, interesting and very well done!

The Exhibitors - Enthusiastic, approachable, knowledgeable!

The Food - Hot, fresh and delicious!

Rail-Fan III In a word - Perfect!

Thank you to everyone who made it a day to remember!

Thank you to our "standing room only" audience at Rail-Fan III. We scheduled repeat performances to accommodate everyone.