Stockbridge, Massachusetts

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Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,276 at the 2000 census. A year round resort area, Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Austen Riggs Center (a noted psychiatric treatment center), and Chesterwood, home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French.

Contents

History

Stockbridge was first settled in 1734 as a mission for the Mahican Indian tribe known as the Stockbridge Indians. The township was set aside for the tribe as a reward for their assistance against the French in the French and Indian Wars. The Reverend John Sergeant from Newark, New Jersey was their missionary. Sergeant was succeeded in this post by Jonathan Edwards, a notable Christian theologian associated with the First Great Awakening. First chartered as Indian Town in 1737, it was officially incorporated on June 22, 1739 as Stockbridge, named after Stockbridge in Hampshire, England.

Although the Massachusetts General Court made an assurance that the Indians' land could never be sold, it was rescinded. Despite their further help during the Revolutionary War, the tribe was relocated first to New York State, then to Wisconsin. The village was taken over by English settlers. With the arrival of the railroad in 1850, Stockbridge developed as a summer resort for the wealthy. Many large houses called Berkshire Cottages were built in the area before World War I and the advent of income tax. One estate on the Lenox border, Tanglewood, is today the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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