Berkshire County, Massachusetts facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|County of Berkshire|
Berkshire County Courthouse
Firmus et Paratus
(Latin "Steadfast and Ready")
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Founded||April 24, 1761|
|• Total||946 sq mi (2,450 km2)|
|• Land||927 sq mi (2,400 km2)|
|• Water||20 sq mi (50 km2) 2.1%%|
|• Density||139.2/sq mi (53.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Berkshire County (pronounced) is a county on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2020 census, the population was 129,026. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield. The county was founded in 1761.
The Berkshire Hills are centered on Berkshire County. Residents are known as Berkshirites. It exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government, with the exception of the retirement board for former county workers, and certain offices such as the sheriff and registry of deeds.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 946 square miles (2,450 km2), of which 927 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 20 square miles (52 km2) (2.1%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Massachusetts by land area. The highest natural point in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock at 3,492 feet (1,064 m) is located in Berkshire County.
Berkshire County is one of two Massachusetts counties that borders three different neighboring states; the other being Worcester County. The two counties are also the only ones to touch both the northern and southern state lines.
Running north-south through the county are the Hoosac Range of the Berkshire Hills in the eastern part of the county and the Taconic Mountains in the western part of the county. They are a source of pride for their beauty, and have marked the county's character. Due to their elevation, the Berkshires attract tourists and summer residents eager to escape the heat of the lowlands.
|U.S. Decennial Census
At the 2010 census, there were 131,219 people, 56,091 households, and 33,618 families in the county. The population density was 141.6 inhabitants per square mile (54.7/km2). There were 68,508 housing units at an average density of 73.9 per square mile (28.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.5% white, 2.7% black or African American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.2% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.5% of the population. The largest ancestry groups were:
Of the 56,091 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 40.1% were non-families, and 33.0% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82. The median age was 44.7 years.
The median household income was $48,907 and the median family income was $64,783. Males had a median income of $47,401 versus $35,964 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,300. About 7.9% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.
Demographic breakdown by town
The ranking of unincorporated communities included on the list are reflective if the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007–2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
The Mahican (Muh-he-ka-neew) Native American tribe lived in the area that now makes up Berkshire County until the early 18th century, when the first English settlers and frontiersmen appeared and began setting up farms and homesteads. On April 25, 1724, “The English finally paid the Indians 460 pounds, 3 barrels of cider, and 30 quarts of rum for what is today Berkshire County.” This deal did not include modern Sheffield, Stockbridge, Richmond, and Lenox, which were added later. Berkshire County remained part of Hampshire County until 1760.
In the 19th century, Berkshire County became popular with the American elite, which built what they called "cottages" throughout the countryside. The Gilded Age ended in the early 20th century with the income tax, World War I, and the Great Depression. In the 20th, century some of these cottages were torn or burned down, while others became prep schools, historic sites, or bed-and-breakfast inns.
Today Berkshire is known throughout the East Coast and the country as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It includes attractions such as Tanglewood, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MOCA, and Hancock Shaker Village.
Villages and census-designated places are unincorporated communities that have no separate legal existence from the towns they are in.
County-wide bus service is provided by the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority. Amtrak train service and Peter Pan intercity bus service is provided at Pittsfield.
- Harriman-and-West Airport
- Pittsfield Municipal Airport (Massachusetts)
- Walter J. Koladza Airport
- US 7
- US 20
- Route 2
- Route 7A
- Route 8
- Route 8A
- Route 9
- Route 23
- Route 41
- Route 43
- Route 57
- Route 71
- Route 102
- Route 116
- Route 143
- Route 183
- Route 295
- Scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, MA. His birthplace and other sites of interest are part of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.
- Folk singer Arlo Guthrie resides in Berkshire County.
- Author Nathaniel Hawthorne resided at the "Little Red House" in Lenox, MA near the grounds of the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he wrote The House of Seven Gables and other novels.
- Author Herman Melville resided at Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA, where he wrote the novel Moby Dick.
- Artist Norman Rockwell resided in Stockbridge, MA.
- Singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor resides in Berkshire County.
- Author Edith Wharton kept a home in Lenox, MA.
- Actor Mark Wahlberg often spends time Berkshire County has a residence in Pittsfield, MA.
- Actress Elizabeth Banks is from Pittsfield, MA. and often comes back and visits.
- Actress Karen Allen lives in Monterey.
- Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has a home in Tyringham.
In Spanish: Condado de Berkshire para niños
Berkshire County, Massachusetts Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.