The Golden Eagle
By Paris S and Destiny
Anyone that has ever driven down the Mohawk Trail remembers driving around the treacherous curve known as the Hairpin Turn. Sitting right at the middle of this turn is a famous landmark – the golden Eagle. What is the Golden Eagle? The Golden Eagle was one of the greatest gift shops on the Mohawk Trail, featuring a tall lookout tower and restaurant. The HairpinTurn was carved out of the bedrock of Hoosac Mountain using nitroglycerine to make it easier for newly invented automobiles to climb the steep mountain. Before this there as a dirt road that lead straight down the mountain.
The gift shop was founded in the 1920’s as The Hairpin Turn Shop. It was a popular tourist attraction for the many visitors to the Trail. From the top of the observation tower people could enjoy the spectacular views of the Stamford Valley. There was a big sign offering motorists free water because so many cars would overheat driving up the steep road. This also helped bring tourists in to the gift shop. The original building for the gift shop was eventually moved up Hoosac Mountain and is now cabin 11 at the Whitcomb Summit. Over the years there have been many different establishments at this site because of its popularity, including Spencer’s Gift Shop, DairyBar and in 1961 th Chief Motel.
The building has a history of being struck by trucks coming down the steep trail. In the 1930’s the shop was redesigned and moved back from the curve. The lookout tower still remained. The shop started to serve food and drink advertising free water!
The Canedy family eventually bought the business in 1959 and changed the name to The Golden Eagle. They chose the name believing it would help them make lots of money! The gift shop was eventually sold and transformed into a restaurant. The restaurant remains a popular stop on the Mohawk Trail. My uncle and I were driving past The Golden Eagle on May 25th 2010 when we saw a truck hit the building! This surprised me even though I knew it had happened before. I guess history does repeat itself!