Q: Where was the first ballot of the 1916 presidential election cast?
A: Today, the nation looks to Dixville Notch, N.H., where registered voters have been casting ballots at 12:01 a.m. since 1960. However, from 1916 to 1932, the "first in the nation" distinction fell to New Ashford, Mass., where voters lined up outside the New Ashford Schoolhouse at 5:45 a.m. to vote. In 1924, the Associated Press reported the town's polls were closed and its reports filed within an hour of opening — 24 of the town's 30 registered voters cast ballots (one was sick and the other five out of town).
Due to its "first in the nation" status, the schoolhouse, which also doubled as the town hall, has the distinction of being the site of the first ballot cast by a woman in a presidential election after the passage of the 19th amendment. Besides being the first woman to vote in the 1920 presidential election, Phoebe Jordan , would be the first person in the nation to vote in four consecutive presidential elections — 1920, 1924, 1928 and 1932.
Q: Lately, there seem to be a lot of places that claim to be haunted. Where can I find the most haunted house in the Berkshires?
A: We wish we had a simple answer for you. If you're strictly asking for the sake of knowing, the answer would be a private home in Lee, Mass. Thirty-five years ago, the Pasetto family was terrorized by unseen malevolent forces. Family members reported being scratched and punched. Reports also detailed levitating objects and apparitions. Famed demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigated similar claims in Amityville, N.Y., and the subjects of the popular movie "The Conjuring," were called in to investigate. The house was owned, but unoccupied, by the family until 2005.
If you're searching for a location accessible by the public, there are three major contenders. Three Berkshire locations have been investigated (more than once) by high profile "ghost hunters" — the Houghton Mansion, in North Adams, and The Mount and Ventfort Hall and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox. However, the Houghton Mansion, now the Greylock-Lafayette Masonic Temple, gained the reputation as "most haunted" in 2008 when the home of the city's first mayor appeared on the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures." During the episode, the team records several "paranormal" events, including what appears to be the shadow of a child running across a hall.
Do you have a question you'd like answered? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Berkshire Eagle, Attn: You Asked, 75 S. Church St., Pittsfield, MA 01201.