Shelburne, Massachusetts

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Shelburne is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 2,058 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The village of Shelburne Falls is located in the town.



Shelburne was first settled in 1756 as part of Deerfield, Massachusetts known then as "Deerfield Northwest." It was initially organized as the district of Shelburne in 1768 (named in honor of William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne) and was officially incorporated as a town in 1775. Shelburne's character has always been two-sided; the main body of town has farmland among the low hills, while the area around Shelburne Falls has mostly been a milling community.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.5 square miles (60.7 km²), of which, 23.2 square miles (60.2 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.85%) is water. Shelburne is located in central Franklin County, and is bordered by Colrain to the north, Greenfield to the east, Deerfield to the southeast, Conway to the south, Buckland to the west, and a short, 0.4-mile (0.64 km) stretch of Charlemont to the northwest. The town's center is located five miles (8 km) from Greenfield, 39 miles (63 km) north of Springfield, and 95 miles (153 km) west-northwest of Boston.

Shelburne lies along the eastern banks of the Deerfield River, which flows along the town's southern and western border. Several brooks feed into the river through the town, flowing down from several low peaks of the foothills of The Berkshires. Massaemett Mountain is the highest point in town, lying just east of Shelburne Falls, and there are several other low peaks, including Greenfield Mountain to the east. Massaemett also is home to two small sections of the town's state forest. In the village of Shelburne Falls are the "Glacial Potholes," a waterfall with many "potholes," traces of large rock activity along the Deerfield River.

Shelburne lies along Route 2, commonly known as the Mohawk Trail, which is the main east-west route through the northern part of Massachusetts. The short, westernmost section of Route 2A connects the trail into the heart of Shelburne Falls, passing into Buckland before finally ending there. Shelburne Falls is also served by Route 112, which follows the river southward before crossing with Route 2A across the 1890 truss bridge into Buckland, where the road bends northward before eventually continuing southward. The nearest interstate, Interstate 91, passes through neighboring Greenfield and Deerfield, and can be accessed along Route 2.

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