|— Town —|
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||38.7 sq mi (100.2 km2)|
|• Land||37.8 sq mi (97.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)|
|Elevation||1,412 ft (430 m)|
|• Density||14.2/sq mi (5.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618275|
Washington was first settled in 1760 and was officially incorporated in 1777. The town was known by several different names, including Greenoch, Watsontown and Hartville, before being renamed in 1784 for George Washington. The town has always been rural, with few small industries, known more for being along the stage road to Pittsfield and along the rail line later. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie lives in Washington, as does singer/songwriter James Taylor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.7 square miles (100.2 km²), of which 37.8 square miles (97.8 km²) is land and 0.9 square mile (2.4 km²) (2.38%) is water. Located in central Berkshire County along the Hampshire County line, the town, which is roughly shaped, is bordered by Pittsfield to the northwest, Dalton, Hinsdale and Peru to the north, Middlefield to the east, Becket to the southeast, Lee to the southwest, and Lenox to the west. Washington is 39 miles northwest of Springfield, and 123 miles west of Boston.
Washington lies within the Berkshire Hills, and its geography is dominated by October Mountain in the western part of town. The mountain, which is surrounded by the October Mountain State Forest rises to its high plain above the banks of the Housatonic River, falling slowly eastward towards the valley where the Depot Brook (which feeds into a branch of the Westfield River) and the east branch of the Housatonic rise. There are several small reservoirs and lakes throughout the town as well. Along the mountain, the Appalachian Trail crosses through town, and the town is home to the Bucksteep Manor Cross Country Ski Area.
Route 8 is the only state route through town, passing from Becket to Hinsdale. The nearest interstate highway, Interstate 90 (also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike), is accessible in neighboring Lee. The town has a rail line, operated by CSX and used by Amtrak. The nearest regional airport is Pittsfield Municipal Airport, and the nearest national flights are at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
As of the census of 2000, there were 544 people, 203 households, and 163 families residing in the town. The town ranks 28th out of 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County by population, and 340th out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The population density was 14.4 people per square mile (5.6/km²), ranking it second to last in the county and sixth to last in the state. There were 236 housing units at an average density of 6.2 per square mile (2.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.45% White, 0.37% African American, and 0.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.
There were 203 households out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.0% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.7% were non-families. 14.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 32.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 106.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $54,583, and the median income for a family was $55,357. Males had a median income of $40,417 versus $27,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,610. About 4.8% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
Washington uses the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a board of selectmen. The town has its own police and public works department. Washington has no fire department or public library but relies on both Hinsdale and Becket having facilities. The nearest hospital, Berkshire Medical Center, is in Pittsfield.
On the state level, Washington is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as part of the Second Berkshire district, represented by Paul Mark, which covers central Berkshire County, as well as portions of Hampshire and Franklin Counties. In the Massachusetts Senate, the town is part of the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin district, represented by Ben Downing, which includes all of Berkshire County and western Hampshire and Franklin Counties. The town is patrolled by the Fourth (Cheshire) Station of Barracks "B" of the Massachusetts State Police, and is the southernmost town in that station's patrol area.
On the national level, Washington is represented in the United States House of Representatives as part of Massachusetts's 1st congressional district, and has been represented by John Olver of Amherst since June 1991. Massachusetts is currently represented in the United States Senate by senior Senator John Kerry and junior Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Washington is one of the seven towns in the Central Berkshire Regional School District, the largest district (by land area) in the Commonwealth. Students in Washington attend the Beckett-Washington Elementary School in neighboring Becket for elementary school. All students in the district travel to Dalton to attend Nessacus Regional Middle School for sixth through eighth grades and Wahconah Regional High School for the high grades. There are no private schools in Washington, with the nearest being in the Pittsfield area.
The nearest community college is Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. The nearest state colleges are Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams and Westfield State University in Westfield, and the nearest state university is the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Washington, Massachusetts|
- The Berkshire Web - Washington, Massachusetts
- "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
- "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Senators and Representatives by City and Town
- Station B-4, SP Cheshire