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

The village of Shelburne Fallsmarker is located in the town.

History

Shelburne was first settled in 1756 as part of Deerfield, Massachusettsmarker 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.

Geography

Shelburne Falls Truss Bridge, which carries Rte.
2A and Rte.
112 across the Deerfield River
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 Colrainmarker to the north, Greenfieldmarker to the east, Deerfieldmarker to the southeast, Conwaymarker to the south, Bucklandmarker to the west, and a short, stretch of Charlemontmarker to the northwest. The town's center is located five miles (8 km) from Greenfield, north of Springfieldmarker, and west-northwest of Bostonmarker.

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 Berkshiresmarker. Massaemett Mountainmarker 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.

The nearest freight rail service is in Buckland, with the nearest Amtrak service being in Pittsfieldmarker or Springfield. There is regional bus service in Greenfield, as well as the Campus West route of the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA), which extends towards Charlemont with a scheduled stop in Shelburne Falls. The nearest general aviation airport is in nearby Turners Fallsmarker, with the nearest national air service being at Bradley International Airportmarker in Windsor Locks, Connecticutmarker.

Demographics

The Bridge of Flowers
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,058 people, 834 households, and 517 families residing in the town. By population, Shelburne ranked eighth out of the 26 towns in Franklin County, and 290th out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The population density was 88.5 people per square mile (34.2/km²), which ranked tenth in the county and 291st in the Commonwealth. There were 886 housing units at an average density of 38.1/sq mi (14.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.28% White, 0.49% African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.58% of the population.

There were 834 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $42,054, and the median income for a family was $51,364. Males had a median income of $39,018 versus $28,550 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,329. About 8.7% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Arms Library
Shelburne employs the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a board of selectmen. All of the town offices, except for the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department, are located within the area of Shelburne Falls, including the police department (which shares the town hall), a post office (which also serves the Buckland side of Shelburne Falls), and the Arms Library, which is connected to the regional library networks. The town's main cemetery, Arms Cemetery, is also located near Shelburne Falls. The nearest hospital, Franklin Medical Center, is located in Greenfield, as are most of the nearest state offices.

On the state level, Shelburne is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives by the Second Berkshire district, which covers central Berkshire County, as well as portions of Hampshire and Franklin Counties. In the Massachusetts Senate, the town is represented by the Hampshire and Franklin district, which includes most of eastern Franklin County and much of eastern Hampshire County. The town is home to the Second Barracks of Troop "B" of the Massachusetts State Police.

On the national level, Shelburne is represented in the United States House of Representatives as part of Massachusetts's 1st congressional district, and has been represented by John Olver of Amherstmarker since June 1991. Massachusetts is represented in the United States Senate by senior Senator John Kerry and junior Senator Paul Kirk.

Education

Shelburne is a member of the Mohawk Trail Regional School District, which covers six towns on the elementary level and most of western Franklin County on the upper levels of education. Buckland-Shelburne Regional Elementary School serves students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grades for the two towns, and students from grades 7-12 attend Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Bucklandmarker. There are several private, religious and charter schools located in the Greenfield area, with the most prominent being Deerfield Academy in Deerfieldmarker, Northfield Mount Hermon Schoolmarker in Gillmarker and the Academy at Charlemontmarker in Charlemontmarker.

The nearest community college, Greenfield Community Collegemarker, is located in Greenfield. The nearest state college is Massachusetts College of Liberal Artsmarker in North Adams, and the nearest state university is the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The nearest private colleges, including members of the Five Colleges and Seven Sisters, are located southeast in the Northampton area.

Notable residents

Bill Cosby, comedian, actor, and authorSupporter of Character Education in Americawww.thecharacterconnection.com

References

Also a supporter of The Peaceful Solution Character Education Program


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