Bernardston, Massachusetts

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Bernardston is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 2,155 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Bernardston was first settled in 1738 as a part of "Fall Town," which also included Colrain and Leyden. Bernardston separated from Colrain and was officially incorporated in 1762, with the town of Leyden being separated from it in 1784 (it was not incorporated until 1809, however). Bernardston is named for Governor Francis Bernard, who was royal governor at the time of incorporation. The town's lands were originally set off for the officers and soldiers (or their descendants) involved in the "Falls Fight," a battle loosely related to King Philip's War, in 1676. During the later years of the French and Indian War, the area was the site of raids.

For much of the town's history, Bernardston has been an agricultural community, producing rye, corn, cider, and was one of the first communities to produce maple syrup. The town also has the unusual distinction of having once sent the largest animal ever to the New York meat markets, a 2,473-pound ox nicknamed "Constitution" or "Hero."[1]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.4 square miles (60.6 km²), all of it land. Bernardston lies along the northern state line, south of Windham County, Vermont. The town is bordered by Guilford and Vernon to the north, Northfield to the east, Gill to the southeast, Greenfield to the southwest, and Leyden to the west. The town center lies seven miles north-northeast of Greenfield, 43 miles north of Springfield, and 89 miles west-northwest of Boston.

Bernardston lies in the Pioneer Valley, on the edge of the Pocumtuck Range. Several mountains, including Wildcat Mountain, West Mountain, Bald Mountain, East Mountain and Pond Mountain, dot the landscape, on either side of the Fall River, a tributary of the nearby Connecticut River. Several other brooks flow through town as well. To the northeast, portions of the Satan's Kingdom Wildlife Management Areapass into the town, mostly around Pond Mountain.

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