Peru, Massachusetts

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Peru is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 821 at the 2000 census.



Originally known as Northern Berkshire Township Number 2 and including all of Hinsdale and part of Middlefield, the town was first settled in 1767 and was officially incorporated as Partridgefield in 1771. Originally named for Oliver Partridge, one of the three purchasers of the town (along with Governor Francis Bernard), the name was officially changed to Peru in 1805, possibly because of its high altitude.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 26.0 square miles (67.4 km²), of which, 25.9 square miles (67.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.38%) is water. Peru lies on the eastern border of Berkshire County, and is bordered by Windsor to the north, Cummington to the northeast, Worthington to the east, Middlefield to the south, Washington to the southwest, and Hinsdale to the west. Peru is 13 miles east of Pittsfield, 40 miles northwest of Springfield and 118 miles west of Boston.

Peru has the highest mean altitude of any town in the state. It lies on high ground in the Berkshire Hills, with three main peaks in the town. Much of Peru is forested, with a large portion of the northern third of town covered by a wildlife management area, and much of the southern third covered by the Peru and Middlefield State Forests. To the west of town, Ashmere Lake flows out into Bennett Brook, eventually reaching the East Branch of the Housatonic River. To the east of town, many brooks, including the Trout Brook, flow south and east towards the Westfield River (the Trout Brook is actually one of the main sources of the river).

Peru is bisected by Route 143, passing from east to west. No other state roads pass through the town. The nearest interstate, Interstate 90 (also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike), can be accessed approximately 20 miles away in Lee. The nearest bus and rail services can be found in Pittsfield, as can the closest regional airport (at Pittsfield Municipal Airport). The nearest national service can be found at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

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