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The Map

Sandisfield, Massachusetts  01237

Sandisfield is the largest town in area in Berkshire County, being 53 miles. Today it is an isolated rural town which, other than three villages along Route 57, is heavily forested. Little is evident that this as once one of the most prosperous towns in the county. It began as Housatonic Township No. 3 under a group of Westboro Proprietors in 1737. Nine meadow lots were laid out, and settlement began in 1754. Daniel Brown is believed to have been the first settler in the township, but it is also suspected that a family by the name of Sandy had established themselves along Sandy Brook in South Sandisfield.

Streams feeding into the Farmington River furnished adequate waterpower, and the soil proved productive. Rye, flax, potatoes and corn were raised. Cider was an important product of the hillside orchards. Small industries added by the mid-19th century included six saw mills, four smaller mills, four blacksmith shops, 2 chair shops, a bedstead shop, a wheelwright's shop, a shingle mill, a tannery and a silk mill. Sandisfield, like Otis, suffered with the failure of proposed railroads along the Farmington River in 1873. Economic activities had peaked in the town in the first half of the 19th century, and, with a population outflow, by the early 20th century many of the farms were abandoned.

Historic Preservation Report