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Lanesborough, Massachusetts 01237

Lanesborough, originally called New Framingham and later Richfield, was established by a petition of seventy-six inhabitants of Framingham, Mass. and other eastern towns for a Wilderness township, north of Shoonkeekmoonkeek (Pontoosuc Lake) in 1742. Settlement of the town was slow because of the effect of the French and Indian War upon the region. In fact, between 1752 and 1759 no Proprietor's Records were kept. A few settlers, like Nathaniel Wilcox, braved the danger of an Indian raid during the period.

A fort was constructed at the south end of the main street, circa 1756, to provide protection for the few settlers. In 1759 after the treaty of peace, ten new settlers arrived and establishment of town government began. Lanesborough asked for incorporation as a town, and it was approved by Gov. Francis Bernard in 1765. The village grew along the road laid out by the Proprietors, now Route 7, and by 1822 had considerable small industries, two stores, five hotels, three tanneries, two hatters, five shoe shops, three tailors, a harnessmaker, five blacksmith shops, two cloth dressing and carding mills, two wagon makers, a grinding mill, five saw mills and a shop for making spinning wheels. The center of population gradually shifted southward near the present village, because of a shift of the economy from agriculture to commerce and industry, primarily marble and iron.

Historic Preservation Report




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