Shelburne — Villages
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
Of the two villages in the town, Shelburne Falls and Shelburne Centre, the latter is the oldest, and dates its existence with the erection of the first meeting-house in Shelburne,—1769. It is now but a small rural settlement, containing a score of houses, a chair-factory, a church, and a public hall, where town-meetings are held half of the time. It occupies a picturesque location and is a charming retreat, but in business it has given way to its more prosperous neighbor, Shelburne Falls.
The latter—first settled by the Shakers in 1782—is a thriving manufacturing village, numbering 1500 inhabitants, located upon both sides of Deerfield River, and connected by an iron bridge. The Shelburne side of the village contains about 1000 people, and is the chief business portion of the place. Many handsome residences border its finely-shaded avenues, and upon its main business thoroughfare—Bridge Street—are several substantial and imposing brick blocks. The Shelburne Falls House, a stone structure, was at one time the finest and most costly hotel in Franklin County.
There are also in this portion of the village the Shelburne Falls Academy, two banks, three churches, two public halls, numerous stores, Gardner's cutlery-works, a silk-twist manufactory, a harmonica manufactory, a brace-bit factory, a tannery, and other minor industries.
The Shelburne side of the village derives considerable business support and population from the employes of the Lamson & Goodnow Cutlery Company, whose works are on the Buckland side of the river.
Shelburne Falls possesses a naturally attractive location, and, resting upon the sinuous and swiftly-flowing Deerfield, within the shadows of gigantic hills which tower aloft upon the east and west, it presents to the eye of the passing traveler a picture upon which it may rest with more than ordinary pleasure.
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08 Jul 2005