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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Great Barrington

GREAT BARRINGTON, a township of Berkshire county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on the Housatonic river, in the Berkshire hills, about 25 m. S.W. of Pittsfield. Pop. (1890) 4612; (1900) 5854, of whom 1187 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 5926. Its area is about 45 sq. m. The township is traversed by a branch of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad, and the Berkshire Street railway (controlled by the N.Y., N.H. & H.) has its southern terminus here. Within the township are three villages-Great Barrington (the most important), Housatonic and Van Deusenville; the first two are about 5 m. apart. The village of Great Barrington, among the hills, is well known as a summer resort. The Congregational church with its magnificent organ (39 54 pipes) is worthy of mention. There is a public library in the village of Great Barrington and another in the village of Housatonic. Monument Mt. (1710 ft.), partly in Stockbridge, commands a fine view of the Berkshires and the Housatonic Valley. The Sedgwick School (for boys) was removed from Hartford, Connecticut, to Great Barrington in 1869. There are various manufactures, including cotton-goods (in the village of Housatonic), and electric meters, paper, knit goods and counterpanes (in the village of Great Barrington); and marble and blue stone are quarried here; but the township is primarily given over to farming. The fair of the Housatonic Agricultural Society is held here annually during September; and the district court of South Berkshire sits here. The township was incorporated in 1761, having been, since 1743, the "North Parish of Sheffield"; the township of Sheffield, earlier known as the "Lower Housatonic Plantation" was incorporated in 1733. Great Barrington was named in honour of John Shute (1678–1734), Viscount Barrington of Ardglass (the adjective "Great" being added to distinguish it from another township of the same name). In 1761–1787 it was the shire-town. Great Barrington was a centre of the disaffection during Shays's rebellion, and on the 12th of September 1786 a riot here prevented the sitting of court. Samuel Hopkins, one of the most eminent of American theologians, was pastor here in 1743–1769; General Joseph Dwight (1703–1765), a merchant, lawyer and brigadier-general of Massachusetts militia, who took part'in the Louisburg expedition in 1745 and later in the French and Indian War, lived here from 1758 until his death; and William Cullen Bryant lived here as a lawyer and town clerk in 1816–1825.

See C. J. Taylor, History of Great Barrington (Great Barrington, 1882).