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Massachusetts Counties
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Massachusetts Counties

Massachusetts consists of the fourteen counties. Massachusetts has abolished seven of its fourteen county governments, leaving five Counties with county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) and two, Nantucket County and Suffolk County, with combined county/city government. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County.

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Berkshire County, Massachusetts

Berkshire County Education, Geography, and HistoryBerkshire County, Massachusetts Courthouse

Berkshire County, pronounced Berk-sher, is a county located on the western edge of the state of Massachusetts. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 131,219. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield. The county was founded in 1761 and abolished in 2000.

Berkshire County comprises the Pittsfield, MA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Berkshire Hills are centered on Berkshire County, and the county itself is often referred to simply as the Berkshires. It exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government.

Etymology - Origin of Berkshire County Name

For the English county of Berkshire


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Berkshire County History

The Mahican 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.

Berkshire County was formed in 1761 out of Hampshire County. County seat: Pittsfield. (Originally of the Massachusetts Bay Colony which was organized into counties in 1643.) Berkshire County is the western most county in Massachusetts. It extends from north to south across the western portion of Massachusetts, with the state of New York to its west, the state of Vermont to the north, and the state of Connecticut to the south.

Of the 14 Massachusetts counties, Berkshire County is one of seven that exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 2000.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 946 square miles (2,451 km2), of which, 931 square miles (2,412 km2) of it is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) of it (1.58%) is water.

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.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Bennington County, Vt.
  • Northeast: Franklin County
  • East: Hampshire County
  • Southeast: Hampden County
  • South: Litchfield County, Conn.
  • Southwest: Dutchess County, N.Y.; Columbia County, N.Y.
  • Northwest: Rensselaer County, N.Y.


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