The Man behind “The Village Beautiful”

By the time of our college years, Williamstown was already well-known in travel circles as “The “Village Beautiful”, a slogan the town had adopted.  Who was the promotional genius responsible for it?

The story begins with the Greylock hotel, the summer resort hotel on the corner of North and Main Streets, in the immediate area of today’s Greylock quad. Henry N. Teague become manager of the old place in 1911, and proceeded to improve it with electric lighting, enlargement of the kitchen and dining room, the addition of a swimming pool, and the construction of an annex.    As the Williams College Archives website relates, “At times, beds were put up in the parlor, music room, and billiard room to accommodate the overflow of guests”. Teague was the public relations guru who made up the slogan “The Village Beautiful” to attract customers to Williamstown, and to his Greylock Hotel, for a Berkshire Mountains vacation. The annex he had built for the hotel remained in use as a college dormitory long after the Greylock closed and the College purchased the property in 1937.

Teague also was the tireless promoter of his own dream to see a trail constructed between New York and Massachusetts. The Taconic range forms a 2,000 foot boundary between the two states. The Taconic Trail was finally completed later, during an economic period when he profited little from it.

Colonel Henry N. Teague, as he was known, graduated in the Class of 1900…at Dartmouth College. Nevertheless he proved to be a great friend of Williamstown and its environs.

A tireless entrepreneur, Teague went on to purchase the Mount Washington Cog Railway in 1931, and bequeathed the summit to Dartmouth upon his death in 1951.  His estate also commissioned a painting depicting Daniel Webster arguing the seminal Dartmouth College case before the Supreme Court in 1819.

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