Shelburne Massachusetts, 1890
Shelburne occupies a central position in Franklin County, 113 miles northwest of Boston by the Fitchburg Railroad, which, follows the Deerfield River, marking the southwestern, side of the town almost from northwest to southeast. At the first point the Deerfield receives the North River, which separates Shelburne from Charlemont at their narrow border. Colrain is the boundary on the north, Greenfield and Deerfield on the east; and Conway and Buckland on the southwest.
The assessed area is 13,888 acres; and there are about 3,000 acres of forest. The geological structure is calciferous mica-schist and calcareous gneiss. The land is rugged and mountainous, rising into the bold eminences of Shingle Hill at the south, Bald Mountain at the west, Greenfield. Mountain on the east, and East Hill north of Shelburne centre. Hudson, Allen's and. Smead's brooks flow from the highlands eastward to Green River, while Dragon and Sluice brooks flow southerly into the Deerfield River. At Shelburne Falls the latter stream plunges over a precipice more than 40 feet in height, forming a beautiful cataract. To this water-power the flourishing village of Shelburne Falls (partly in Buckland) owes its growth; and in this place the larger manufactories are situated. The village makes a fine appearance with its dwellings in the narrow valley and upon the sloping hillsides.
The soil of the town is moist and strong, and affords excellent pasturage, while sugar-maples and apple-trees are numerous and thrifty, yielding large quantities of their special crops. The number of sheep kept in 1885 was 2,171, of which 180 were merinos; and there were 1,576 neat cattle, affording a large dairy product. The aggregate value of the product of the 98 farms was $190,300. The chief manufactures are artisans' tools, cutlery, machinery, cotton and silk goods, millstones, lumber, boxes, leather, clothing, furniture, tobacco and smokers' supplies, and food preparations. The value of all goods made, according to the census of 1885, was $450,827. The population was 1,614, of whom 444 were legal voters. The national hank here has a capital stock of $200,000; and the savings bank at the close of last year held deposits to the amount of $701,608. The valuation in 1888 was $876,150, with a tax-rate of $10.70 on $1,000. There were 299 taxed dwelling-houses.
The schools consist of primary, intermediate and grammar, which occupy nine school buildings valued at upwards of $7,000. The Arms Academy has a building worth some $11,000, and a classical and English school for boys has a building and other property worth half that sum. The Arms Library has upwards of 6,000 volumes; the Arms Ministers' Library about 400; and the First Independent Social Library Association some 1,200. The " Arms Student" is published here monthly. The Congregationalists have two churches in the town, and the Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics and Universalists have one each. The post-offices are the villages mentioned and East Shelburne and Bardwell's Ferry; the last and Shelburne Falls being the railroad stations.
This town was incorporated June 21,1768, and named in honor of the second Earl of Shelburne. It had previously been called "Deerfield Northwest." The first church was organized in 1770, and the first minister, the Rev. Robert Hubbard, ordained in 1773. The Rev. Pliny Fiske, a distinguished missionary and scholar, was born here June 24,1792, and died in Beirout, Syria, October 23, 1825.
pp. 591-592 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890