Hancock, Massachusetts

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Hancock is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 721 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Hancock was first settled in 1762 as the Plantation of Jericho. The town was officially incorporated in 1776, and renamed for John Hancock.

Hancock Shaker Village

In 1790, the Shakers established Hancock Shaker Village. The Shakers were a religious order which believed in pacifism, celibacy and communal living. Worship could take the form of singing and ecstatic dance, which is why they were called the "Shaking Quakers," or "Shakers." The utopian sect is renowned today for its plain architecture and furniture.

After reaching peak membership in the 1840s, with 19 "societies" scattered from Maine to Kentucky, and west to Indiana, the Shaker movement gradually dwindled. Today, only one village remains in the control of the last Shakers, located at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine. Hancock Shaker Village, now operated as a museum, is famous for its "Round Stone Barn", built in 1826.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.8 square miles (92.6 km²), of which, 35.7 square miles (92.5 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.08%) is water.

Hancock is bordered on the north by Williamstown, on the northeast by New Ashford, on the east by Lanesborough and Pittsfield, on the south by Richmond, on the west by Canaan, New Lebanon, Stephentown and Berlin, New York.

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