East Longmeadow Rotary (1)

The view looking up modern-day Route 83 in East Longmeadow at the rotary, between 1900 and 1910.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same scene in 2014:

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Reportedly, the rotary in the center of East Longmeadow holds the record for most roads in a single intersection.  I don’t know whether this is actually the case, but either way its seven roads make it an unusual and confusing intersection.  It contains a rotary-like feature, but unlike conventional rotaries, the traffic in the rotary doesn’t necessarily have the right of way – sometimes rotary traffic does, sometimes incoming traffic has to yield, and sometimes incoming traffic has to stop.  One thing it does lack, though, is a traffic light.  Although I can only imagine what a traffic light with seven different streets would be like.

A century ago, the intersection still had seven roads, but with far less traffic, and at much lower speeds.  However, it did have one thing that modern-day drivers don’t have to contend with – trolleys.  Part of one trolley is barely visible on the far left of the first photo.  This location on the rotary, directly in front of town hall, was the southern end of one of the many streetcar lines that linked the towns in the Connecticut Valley at the turn of the century.

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