Washington, Massachusetts

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Washington is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 544 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Washington was first settled in 1760 and was officially incorporated in 1777. The town was called several different names, including Greenoch, Watsontown and Hartville, before being renamed in 1784 for George Washington.[1] The town has always been rural, with few small industries, known more for being along the stage road to Pittsfield and along the rail line later. Famed 2nd generation folk singer Arlo Guthrie lives in Washington, as does singer/songwriter James Taylor.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.7 square miles (100.2 km²), of which, 37.8 square miles (97.8 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) of it (2.38%) is water. Located in central Berkshire County along the Hampshire County line, the town, which is roughly shaped, is bordered by Pittsfield to the northwest, Dalton, Hinsdale and Peru to the north, Middlefield to the east, Becket to the southeast, Lee to the southwest, and Lenox to the west. Washington is 39 miles northwest of Springfield, and 123 miles west of Boston.

Washington lies within the Berkshire Hills, and its geography is dominated by October Mountain in the western part of town. The mountain, which is surrounded by the October Mountain State Forest rises to its high plain above the banks of the Housatonic River, falling slowly eastward towards the valley where the Depot Brook (which feeds into a branch of the Westfield River) and the east branch of the Housatonic rise. There are several small reservoirs and lakes throughout the town as well. Along the mountain, the Appalachian Trail crosses through town, and the town is also home to the Bucksteep Manor Cross Country Ski Area.

Route 8 is the only state route through town, passing from Becket to Hinsdale. The nearest interstate highway, Interstate 90 (also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike), is accessible in neighboring Lee. The town has a rail line, operated by CSX and used by Amtrak. The nearest regional airport is Pittsfield Municipal Airport, and the nearest national flights are at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

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