Shunpike – Charlemont, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

Shunpike

Charlemont, Massachusetts

The place where travelers of the Mohawk Trail forded the Deerfield River rather than pay the toll at the turnpike bridge. 

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Shunpiking is defined as  “the act of deliberately avoiding roads that require payment of a fee or toll to travel on them, usually by traveling on alternative ‘free’ roads which bypass the toll.”

One of the first instances in America occurred along the Mohawk Trail, in Charlemont, Massachusettes. 

A road for stagecoaches was built over the Hoosac Range in the northwestern part of the state in 1787, and the road came under the control of the Turnpike Association in 1797. That year, travelers of the Mohawk Trail forded the Deerfield River rather than pay the toll at the turnpike bridge. In 1810, they won the battle for free travel on all Massachusetts roads.

The act is memorialized by the historical marker at the Shunkpike Rest Stop. This portion of the river is now used for tubing and fishing in the warmer months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know Before You Go

The marker and rest stop are on the right when traveling East.

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July 17, 2023

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