The Civil War Amherst Walking Tour highlights several sites in the town that reveal what daily life was like in Amherst during the Civil War. The map on the homepage provides an overview of the route and a portal to access the content associated with each individual site. Seven sites make up the tour: the old Amherst Academy, the First Baptist Church, Amherst College, the Emily Dickinson House, West Cemetery, the old Bee Hive Tenement House, and the Town Hall.
Both a desktop and a mobile version of the site are available. The desktop version of this website contains additional contextual information about each site as well as audio content (in MP3 format) and the accompanying script. While out walking the tour, we recommend utilizing the mobile version. This will allow you to access the map, text, and audio while out walking the tour in Amherst. In both versions, the text complements the audio by providing even more information about the specific sites.
As you explore the Civil War history of Amherst, take notice of the rich primary source materials that informed the tour. The Jones Library, across the street from the old Amherst Academy (Stop 1), contains a wealth of information about the town of Amherst throughout its history with many valuable sources about the Civil War era, including letters, diaries, newspapers, maps, and images among other resources. Like the rest of the nation, Amherst responded to the Civil War by sending men to fight in several regiments, including the 54th Regiment which was one of the first black regiments. Many citizens cared deeply about the war, and some who tried to avoid dealing with the conflict were unable to do so. However, as the tour highlights, life in the small town continued despite the raging conflict. Citizens of Amherst grieved as a community at wartime losses, but also maintained regular habits and social relationships. We hope that you enjoy learning about life in Amherst during the Civil War.
The Civil War Amherst Walking Tour is a collaboration between the Special Collections staff at the Jones Library and the Public History program at the University of Massachusetts, particularly Jon Olsen's graduate course on Digital History. Contributors to this project were Tevis Kimball, Kate Boyle, Jon Olsen, Jaimie Kicklighter, Patrick Condon, Janiece Blackmon, and Tom Hohenstein