Shutesbury, Massachusetts

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Shutesbury is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 1,810 as of the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Shutesbury was first settled in 1735, when it was called Road Town, because its only purpose was that of a road between towns. Road Town was officially incorporated as Shutesbury in 1761. The town was renamed in honor of Samuel Shute, former governor. Logging has been an important economic activity in the town for the past 200 years.

Since the expansion of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Shutesbury has grown in size steadily from the 1970s. New strict zoning laws have changed building regulations to stay rural.

The December 2008 Northeast ice storm (December 11, 2008) inflicted heavy damage on the forests in the town, coating trees with a ½-inch to 1-inch thick layer of ice. Tree limbs came crashing down on power lines, houses, and cars. Power was out in Shutesbury for up to ten days, and the state of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. The estimated cost of cleaning up ranged from $50,000 to $100,000. The National Guard was called in to help with cleanup, and the worst-hit part of town, Wendell Road and Pelham Hill Road, was decimated by fallen trees.

Geography and Transportation

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.2 square miles (70.4 km²), of which 26.6 square miles (68.9 km²) are land and 0.6 square mile (1.5 km²) (2.06%) is water. Shutesbury lies at the northern end of the western branch of the Quabbin Reservoir. The West Branch of the Swift River still flows through town to the reservoir, and the eastern half of town is defined by the hills leading to the river. The brooks in the eastern part of town lead to this river, while the brooks in the western part of town flow towards the Connecticut River. In the northwest corner of town lies the Wyola Reservoir, surrounded by marshes. The center of town is dominated by high plains, between the valley ridge and the hills on the edge of the Pioneer Valley. A portion of the hills in the eastern part of town are protected as part of the Shutesbury State Forest.

Shutesbury lies along the southern border of Franklin County, along the border of Hampshire County. Shutesbury is bordered by Wendell to the north, New Salem to the east, Pelham to the south, Amherst to the southwest, and Leverett to the west. The town center lies 17 miles (27 km) southeast of the county seat of Greenfield, 30 miles (48 km) north of Springfield, and 81 miles (130 km) west of Boston.

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