Otis Massachusetts, 1890

Otis is a picturesque, sparsely inhabited town of the highlands, situated in the northeastern part of the southern half of Berkshire County, 128 miles west of Boston. ts nearest railway station is on the Boston and Albany Railroad, in Becket, which bounds it on the north. Blandford forms the eastern boundary, Tolland and Sandisfield the southern, and Monterey and Tyringham the western. The assessed area is 21,312 acres, including 8,916 acres of forests, composed chiefly of beech, maple and pine. Except in the northeast, there are few extended areas unbroken by hills; and a large part of the open land is too rough for tillage, but excellent for pasturage. Tilley's Mountain, somewhat north of Otis centre, is the highest elevation. The principal rock is calcareous gneiss. The soil is generally a dark loam. Farmington River runs medially through the town southeastward, affording, with its tributaries, numerous small powers. There are many beautiful lakes dispersed over the town. Great Pond, Reservoir, and Cold Spring ponds, containing altogether many hundreds of acres, have an outlet in the southern part of the town, on which is a fine cascade known as " Otis Falls." There are four lumber mills, a rake factory and the common mechanical shops of a rural town. The goods made in 1885 were valued at $21,493. The product of the 145 farms amounted to $79,554. The population was 703; of whom 190 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $219,173, with a tax-rate of $15 on $1,000. The taxed dwelling-houses were 175 in number.

There were eight public school-houses, valued at nearly $3,000. The churches are Episcopal, Congregational and Second Advent, one of each. The post-offices are Otis and West Otis. East Otis and Cold Spring are the other villages. The town furnished 99 soldiers to the Union armies during the late war, of whom 14 were lost.

This town, first called "Tyringham Equivalent," and, later, "Loudon," was settled anterior to 1760 by David Kibbe, Daniel Gregory, Jeremy Stow and others; and the vote to build the first school-house was taken in 1774. The place was incorporated June 13, 1810, when the name was changed to Otis, in honor of Harrison Gray Otis. A church was organized in 1779, but no house of worship erected until 1813.

Pp. 526-527 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890