Lanesborough, Massachusetts

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Lanesborough is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,990 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

One of the first Berkshire communities to be settled, Lanesborough was originally known as New Framingham, carved from part of Northern Berkshire Township #6. Lanesborough was first settled in 1753 and was officially incorporated in 1765. It was renamed Lanesborough, for the Countess of Lanesborough, a friend of Governor Francis Bernard, who incorporated the town. The town grew with small industry in the early 19th century, most of which settled along the Town Brook. Berkshire Pleasure Park was a major attraction at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. It was one of the trolley parks along what is now Route 8 on the eastern side of town.

Now the town is popular because of the nearby ski areas. It hosts the southern access to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, a bike path converted from a railway path. The town also is home to the Mt. Greylock State Reservation's Visitors' Center and Rockwell Road, which leads to the Visitors' Center, ascends from Lanesborough through Cheshire to the summit in Adams. Sperry Road, which branches off Rockwell, leads to a campground and picnic area.

Today the town includes many small businesses, but has little industry of its own. More people from Lanesborough are employed in nearby communities or at the nearby Berkshire Mall.

The town's most famous resident was Josh Billings, born Henry Wheeler Shaw. He was a popular humorist in the nineteenth century, rivaling Mark Twain for popularity at the time. Historic sites include the Old Stone School, an unusual stone one-room schoolhouse, built in 1832 from funds donated by Ephraim Bradley, which operated as a school through the 1949-1950 school year. The building is currently used as a photography gallery and guesthouse.[1][2]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 29.7 square miles (77.0 km²), of which, 29.0 square miles (75.2 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (2.35%) is water.

Lanesborough is bordered by New Ashford to the north, Cheshire to the northeast, Dalton to the east, Pittsfield to the south, and Hancock to the west. The town center is five miles north of Pittsfield, 50 miles northwest of Springfield and 140 miles west of Boston.

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