Franklin County, Massachusetts

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Franklin County is a non-governmental county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 2000, the population was 71,535. Its largest community and traditional county seat is Greenfield.[1]

Franklin County is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Franklin County was created on 24 June 1811 from the northern third of Hampshire County.


Law and government

Like several other Massachusetts counties, Franklin County exists today only as a geographic region, and has no county government. The Franklin County Commission voted itself out of existence, and all former state-mandated county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1997. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region. Counties in Massachusetts and New England generally are historically weak governmental structures. The primary subdivision of the Commonwealth is the municipal township. Communities are permitted to form regional compacts for sharing services. The municipalities of Franklin County have formed the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.[2] The regional council provides various services on a regional basis, and a majority of the county's towns are members of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, which provides municipal waste disposal and recycling services to its members. Public transportation throughout the county and in the North Quabbin area of northwestern Worcester County is provided by the Franklin Regional Transit Authority and in Athol (which is in Worcester County but aligns itself with Franklin County).

Geography and climate

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 725 square miles (1,877.7 km2), of which 702 square miles (1,818.2 km2) is land and 23 square miles (59.6 km2) (3.13%) is water. Central and southern Franklin County is dominated by the northern end of the Pioneer Valley, with steep hills slowly rising on either side of the Connecticut River.

The high point of Franklin County is Crum Hill, 2,841 feet (866 m), located in the town of Monroe.

Unlike many other counties in Massachusetts, which contain a town or city of the same name, Franklin County is not the home of the city of Franklin, Massachusetts, which is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) to the southeast in Norfolk County.

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