Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls - photo by Peter MacDonaldBridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls (photo by Peter MacDonald)

Leyden lies along the eastern edge of the Berkshires, bordered by Guilford, Vermont, to the north, Bernardston to the east, Greenfield to the south, and Colrain to the west. The majority of the town is forested, and the town has a small state forest and a wildlife management area within its borders. It has a total area of 18.0 square miles with a population of approximately 711.

 

Attractions

  • Leyden State Forest, located on 61 acres between County and Beaver Meadow Roads, offers hunting, hiking and nature observing.

  • Green River, is a popular cold-water stream used by swimmers and anglers. The river, featuring deep pools, is well stocked with trout and is surrounded by scenic hills. It serves as the border between the towns of Leyden and Colrain, running along Green River Road.

  • Leyden Town Common, is used for picnics and outdoor activities.

  • Pearl Rhodes Elementary School, includes a baseball/softball field, tennis courts and playground. The surrounding eight acres offers fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

History

Leyden is named after the town of Leiden in Holland, which was a sanctuary for Pilgrims. Descendants of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower to Plymouth, most notably those of William Bradford and William Brewster, were among the early builders of Leyden.

The town was originally part of the "Fall Town," which also included Bernardston and eastern Colrain. On March 12, 1784, Commonwealth of Massachusetts President John Hancock and so-called "Father of the American Revolution" Samuel Adams signed a law which allowed Leyden to be set off from Bernardston as a separate district. However, it wasn't until 1809 that the town was deemed to have a population sufficient for incorporation, and it was charted on February 22 of that year.

"Fall Town" consisted of grants given to the men, or their descendants, who fought Indians with Captain William Turner near Turners Falls. Subsequently, most of Leyden's earliest settlers were these people.

Among these settlers who came to the rugged wilderness as early as 1737 were Samuel Cunnabell, who was known for his innovative maple sugaring techniques, Major John Burk, Peter Newcomb, Silas Newcomb, James Couch, John Lee, John Perry and Samuel Hunt.

Among Leyden's famous natives is John L. Riddell, born in 1807, who invented the binocular microscope and was a pioneer in aerial navigation, botany, mineralogy and medicine. Also born in Leyden, in 1814, was artist and sculptor Henry Kirke Brown, whose huge statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln stand in Washington, D.C., New York City and West Point.

The town's Leyden Glen section began supplying water to Greenfield in 1870 and continues to serve as that town's water source. Early industry included blacksmith shops, a cheese shop, gun shop, box shop, grist mills, sawmills and wood products mills.

Website

For more information, visit the Leyden Town Website.

Demographics

Area 37.81 sq. mi.
2014 Population  617
2014 Registered voters  545
FY15 Tax Rate $17.17
2011 Per Capita Income $26,306
2015 Average single family tax bill $3,783

 

Contacts

Town Hall
16 West Leyden Road, Leyden 01337

(413) 774-4111
Town Clerk Elizabeth Johnson (413) 774-7769
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jeffrey Neipp (chair), William Glabach, Lance Fritz
Assessors Kenneth Spatcher (chair), Robert DePalma, John Rodgers
Board of Health (chair) Katie Benson, Matt Muka, Ellen White
Treasurer Kristi Nartowicz, (413) 774-4111
Tax Collector Roxanne Zimmerman
Police Chief Daniel Galvis, (413) 772-2369
Fire Chief Clifford Spatcher, (413) 774-4111
Highway Superintendent David Brooks, (413) 774-5520
Pioneer Valley Regional School Supt. Ruth Miller (413) 498-2931
Franklin County Tech School Superintendent Richard Martin (413) 863-4239
Robertson Memorial Library Carolyn Asbury, chairwoman (413) 773-9334
Building Inspector/Franklin County Cooperative
Inspection Program
Chris Brothers, clerk (413) 774-3167, x109
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"The county is peppered with old and new all mixed up"
"An air of peace and tranquility"
"Real community authenticity. Franklin County is not pseudo anything."
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