Why the name Mount Everett?
Majestic Mount Everett offers some great hiking in southwest Berkshire County with views to the Catskills, but few know how it got its name. Called Ball Mountain or “The Dome” in early days, the Commonwealth renamed the 2,624-foot peak to honor Edward Everett, whose career included terms as our state’s governor and senator.
Everett was recognized as one of the foremost orators of his day, so he was a logical choice to deliver the keynote address at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. He gave a fine speech lasting two hours and consisting of 13,000 words recited without notes. He was followed to the dais by a tall, gaunt man with a high-pitched voice who spoke 272 words in just over two minutes. This was, of course, President Abraham Lincoln, whose speech was initially scoffed at by some.
Newspaper accounts referred to the Gettysburg Address as “silly,” “flat,” “dull,” and “commonplace.”
In a classic bit of misjudgment, one said the speech “shall be no more repeated or thought of.” Everett was among those who instantly recognized the brilliance of Lincoln’s remarks, telling the President, “I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central point of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
In an era of speechifying, Lincoln dared to be brief. It’s an oddity of history that Governor Everett’s estimable career is sometimes overshadowed by the contrast between the speeches.