NORTH ADAMS -- Two large models of the Hoosac Tunnel and the top of Mount Greylock, made by rising sixth- and seventh-graders in the North Adams Public Schools' Summer Science Camp, will soon be on display at City Hall.
"We wanted to step outside the box and do something huge," science teacher James Holmes said Monday, as the models were presented to Mayor Richard J. Alcombright at Brayton Elementary School. "As you know, we had hoped to present them to the governor and have them displayed at the State House, but that hasn't happened. Since you were kind enough to agree to display them at City Hall, we were hoping that you would also contact Mayor Menino in Boston and see if he would display them as well. We want people in the eastern end of the state to know what we have out here and to show of these engineering feats, which originated here."
Created over the last five weeks by two teams of students in Holmes' class, the models are based on several field trips to the top of Mount Greylock, the eastern portal of the Hoosac Tunnel in Florida and to the Visitors Center at Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
"First, I want to recognize that none of this could happen without our science camp, which is now in its third year," Alcombright said. "It seems to get bigger, better and brighter each year. It's like walking into the science museum in Boston when you come here."
He added, "I will contact Mayor Menino about displaying
In addition to presenting the models to the mayor, Holmes' students shared some facts they had learned about each of the two locations.
"The central shaft of the Hoosac Tunnel is 1,000 feet deep," Conner Kelly, 11, said, adding that the bottom of the shaft is known as the "Hoosac Hotel" because a hollowed-out room was made for the railroad inspector who would walk the line.
Shaley Dowdell, 11, spoke about the "false hole" the class had seen from the bus when viewing the eastern portal of the tunnel.
"It was where they originally started blasting the tunnel, but the wall was too thick, so they moved to another location," she said. "People also say it's haunted and that blue light can be seen in the tunnel. They say it's haunted because a lot of workers died inside the tunnel when they hit water while digging the tunnel. Most of the people who died there, died from drowning."
Jasmine Pizarro-Gomez explained that the Soldiers Memorial at the top of Mount Greylock is considered to be an engineering feat because of the way it was assembled.
"It was put together in three separate sections -- bottom, middle and top," she said.
Dakota Hurley added that the 93-foot-tall tower is "narrower at the top than at the bottom" and that the class had learned it would cost $60,000 to repair damage to the walls inside of the monument left by leaks and other natural causes.
"These are pretty amazing to me," Alcombright said. "When you think about it, both of these projects, but specifically the Hoosac Tunnel, were made with what we would call archaic tools. They tunneled through a mountain without the advantage of modern technology and were only a couple inches off when the two parts of the tunnel met in the middle."
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