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The Centre, South Deerfield, Mass.
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This view was taken from Main Street in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, looking southward toward the main buildings of the village. To the right is the double balcony of the Lathrop Hotel. On the corner is the angular front of the post office, grocery, and electrical supply building. Directly ahead are the town's tailor, barber, and gentleman's clothing store. And lying before us is the town's "common," a triangular patch of land that had been beautified by the planting of a number of tall elm trees. These were part of a massive tree planting effort throughout the northeast United States at the close of the nineteenth century. Elm trees were particularly prized due to their rapid growth and tall, graceful canopy. But Dutch Elm disease, first identified in the mid-1800s, spread throughout the northeast and devastated millions of American elms. Between 1870 and 1920, nearly all the elms planted by civic-minded people in town centers were felled by the disease.
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