New Ashford, Massachusetts

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New Ashford is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 247 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

New Ashford was first settled in 1762 and was officially incorporated in 1835. It was named for Ashford, Connecticut, where the founding citizens came from. The town has mostly been a rural farming community, with few mills ever set up in the town. Beginning in 1916, New Ashford had the distinction of casting the first vote in presidential elections, the way Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, does today. Accordingly, this small rural town holds an important place in history, as the location where a woman cast the first vote in a U.S. national election, in 1920. The old wooden ballot box used on this historic occasion still sits in town hall, and is still in use today.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 13.5 square miles (35.1 km²), all of it land. It is the third-smallest town in Berkshire County by land area.

New Ashford is bordered by Williamstown to the north, Adams to the east, Cheshire to the southeast, Lanesborough to the south, and Hancock to the west. New Ashford is 11 miles (18 km) north of Pittsfield, 57 miles (92 km) northwest of Springfield, and 140 miles (230 km) west-northwest of Boston (although, like much of the Berkshires, it is closer to both Hartford and Albany than its own state capital).

New Ashford sits in a small natural valley within the Taconic Mountains (popularly grouped with the Berkshires). To the east, Mount Greylock State Reservation rises, with the mountain itself peaking just northeast of the town. The peak of Saddle Ball Mountain, a part of the range, lies within the eastern part of town and is the highest point in town, reaching 3,220 feet (980 m) above sea level. The Mount Greylock Scenic Drive crosses through the eastern part of town, on its way to the peak, as does the Appalachian Trail. To the west, Brodie Mountain runs along the western border of town, peaking in neighboring Hancock. The town is home to the Brodie Mountain ski area, a popular ski resort founded in the 1930s.

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