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

Charlemont is a hilltown community of about 1,300 residents located along the Deerfield River and the scenic Mohawk Trail in northwestern Massachusetts. Settled in 1744, Charlemont covers 26 square miles and is still home to working farms and cottage industries as well as many recreational opportunities from whitewater rafting to downhill skiing. The town is bordered by Rowe to the northwest, Heath to the northeast, Colrain and Shelburne to the east, Buckland to the southeast, Hawley to the southwest, and Savoy and Florida to the west.

 

Attractions

  • Berkshire East Mountain Resort featuring the most skiable terrain in Massachusetts; the best downhill mountain bike park on the East Coast; three zip line tours; whitewater rafting trips in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut; one of the longest mountain coasters in the world; an Adventure Park; rustic farm Inn and Wedding Center; and lots of facilities to host your event or to warm up in after a great day on the slopes. Berkshire East offers a mountain getaway for everyone.
  • Charlemont Historical Society, on the second floor of the Charlemont Town Hall. A special exhibit of Avery Store collection of items found in a small town general store for the past 100 years. Open May to October by appointment only, call Joanne MacLean (413) 339-4037.

  • Mohawk Trail State Forest, off Route 2, offers a scenic picnic area beside the Deerfield River, 56 campsites, swimming, fishing, hunting, nature study, hiking, boating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-scountry skiing. (413) 339-5504

  • Hail to the Sunrise Monument, off Route 2 just west of the Indian Bridge. The 900-pound bronze casting is erected on a nin-ton boulder. It is a monument to the Five Indian Nations of Iroquois.

  • Bissell Covered Bridge spans the Mill River on Route 8A north, not far from Route 2. Built in 1951 (and restored), the bridge is 60 feet long.

  • Yankee Doodle Days, held each year in July at the Fairgrounds. It is "The Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds" largest fund raising event of the year to continue restoration of the grandstand.

History

In 1735, the General Court granted to Boston three townships. One of these, originally known as Boston Township No. 1, was referred to as Charleomnt by 1740 and was incorporated as a town in 1765. The first settlers were Capt. Moses Rice and his family, who cleared land and built a house there in 1724. At the time, the nearest town was Deerfield, 22 miles away. In August of 1746, the Rices were warned that hostile Indains were approaching from the north. They fled to Deerfield. Their home, crops, tools and everything they left behinds were destroyed by raiders from Canada.

Three years later, the family returned and settled permanently. About the same time Othneil and Joshua Taylor arrived and built houses. Around 1750, Eleazer Hawks and his sons, Gershom, Seth and Joshua, came from Deerfield. By 1752, there were about a dozen families.
Because Charlemont was a frontier settlement and vulnerable to attack, a series of fortifications were built for protectioin.

In June of 1755, a group of people working in a meadow near Rice's fort were attacked and Capt. RIce and Phineas Arms were killed. Titus King and 9-year old Asa Rice were captured and taken to Canada. Asa was ransomed six years later and returned to Charlemont. King was eventually sent to France, then to England, and from there returned to his native town of Northampton.

Many men from Charlemont fought at Bunker Hill and Bennington, VT during the Revolutionary War.

Agriculture was the principal business of inhabitants until modern times.


Website

For more information, visit the Charlemont Town Website.

 

 

"My husband is a motorcycle enthusiast and likes riding the Mohawk Trail"
"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."
"More down to earth, no pretense, real people."
     
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