Holiday Hours: Presidents Day

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Gen. George Washington taking command of the Continental Army in Cambridge in 1775.

Washington's Birthday will be celebrated on Monday, Feb. 17.

The holiday was first enacted by Congress in 1879 to mark George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22 and later moved to the third Monday in February in 1968. While the name of the federal holiday remains Washington's Birthday, it is more often referred to as Presidents Day to include the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12.

Washington was born in 1732 (or Feb. 11, 1731, according to the old-style calendar) in Colonial Virginia. A Founding Father, he would lead the new nation as head of the Continental Army in the Revolution and as its first president under the U.S. Constitution for two terms. He died Dec. 14, 1799, at his home in Mount Vernon.

His military background brought him to Cambridge in 1775 as commander of the newly formed army just months after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Cannon taken from Fort Ticonderoga were dragged through the Berkshires on their way to Dorchester Heights, where Washington placed them to force the British out of Boston in 1776. (Celebrated in Suffolk County as Evacuation Day on March 17.)

During the yearlong siege, Washington stayed at a house that would later become known as the home of literary giant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a frequent visitor to the Berkshires. His vice president was John Adams of Quincy, who would become the first president to live in the new capital of Washington, D.C.

Lincoln, our 16th president who led the nation through a bloody Civil War, was born in 1809 in Kentucky. During September 1848, he spoke at the Whig convention in Worcester as well as in New Bedford, Dedham, Lowell and Boston but apparently not the Berkshires. His son, Robert Todd Lincoln, attended Harvard and later lived in Manchester, Vt., at Hildene.

While Washington and Lincoln never slept here, a number of other presidents did, or at least spent time in the Berkshires.

In Massachusetts, the holiday is "unrestricted" in that businesses may open at will without permits or special pay provisions.

Closed:
Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Stock market


Banks
Most public libraries will be closed
Colleges and schools (most schools are on winter break for the week)

Open:
BRTA running
Restaurants and bars
Convenience stores
Retail stores
Most offices and businesses
 


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A Snowy Tuesday in the Berkshires

The weather outside is ... a bit frightful this Tuesday morning.

Snow is falling across the region, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a special weather statement: "Snow has developed across the southern Green Mountains, northern Berkshires, and Washington county in eastern New York. Snowfall of varying intensity with temperatures near or below freezing could result in areas of slippery travel and reduced visibility. Around 1 to 3 inches of snow will accumulate, especially in the higher terrain. Use caution if traveling into the afternoon."

Be careful driving if you're out and about today running errands, getting to and from work, or bringing the kiddos somewhere to keep them entertained during this February school vacation week. (If you're in warmer climates this vacation week, lucky you!)

Be aware that the snow today likely will change to rain in most of the region early this afternoon, making it less pretty and more messy. The rest of the week looks pretty quiet on the weather front, though we will see more seasonably cold temperatures, with lows in the single digits Wednesday and Thursday.

The weekend outlook, though? Sunny and temps around 40. Can't beat that in February!

 

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