In the early 1970s, Northeast Utilities had developed plans to build twin nuclear power plants on the Montague plains. As one step in the permitting process, they put up a weather monitoring tower, to record the local weather for a 12-month period.

There was local opposition to the plant, as well as support, and in the early morning hours of Washington’s birthday in 1974, a local farmer and Quaker activist named Sam Lovejoy loosed the guy wires on the weather tower, causing it to collapse. In the tradition of Quaker civil disobedience, he then turned himself in to the local police, and demanded to be put on trial for his actions.

Lovejoy’s actions galvanized both sides of the debate, and a local group made a film about Lovejoy, his trial, and the larger conversation: Lovejoy’s Nuclear War.

Reminder: On Friday, February 25, at noon, Mr Blair Kamin will deliver a Zoom lecture on the early history of Amherst College’s architecture. Here is the link.