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At a glance ...

Updated:   03/05/2007 02:56:46 PM EST

Tuesday, January 16
Incorporated: 1773.

Population: 399 (U.S. Census, 2000); 479 (2006 town census).

Area: 11.56 square miles.

Elevation: 839 feet, average.

Average annual snowfall: 74 inches (estimated).

Median resident age: 44.5 (second highest in Berkshire County).

Median household income: $49,632 (2000 U.S. Census); (National: $41,994).

Median family income: $62,344 (2000 U.S. Census).

Average house value: $526,386 (2006 Department of Revenue).

Unemployment rate: 2.9 percent.

Races: White, 395; African-American: 3; mixed: 1.

Ancestries: Irish, 18 percent; English, 16 percent; German, 12 percent; Italian, 10 percent; French (except Basque), 5 percent; Russian, 5 percent; Polish, 4 percent; Dutch, 3 percent; Austrian, 3 percent; Swedish, 2 percent; Hungarian, 2 percent; Yugoslavian, 2 percent; Scottish, 2 percent; French Canadian, 1 percent; Eastern European, 1 percent; Romanian, 1 percent; British, 1 percent; Black or African American, 1 percent.

Town Web site:

The town ...

... was settled by Shaunanum Stockbridge Indians in 1750, who conveyed the land to Timothy Woodbridge and other settlers in 1756. ..


. was named for John Alford (1685-1761) of Charlestown, a benefactor of Harvard University and missionary to the Indians of North America.

Of interest ...

The Alford Brook was called Seekonk (wild goose) by the Stockbridge Indians. It feeds into the Green River, and is considered one of the best fishing streams in the county.

Originally an agricultural center, the town also had two sawmills, two grist mills, a forge, a furnace and a tannery. The town exported marble from a dozen quarries in the early 1800s, some of which was used for New York's old City Hall; the Alford Marble Works survived until 1872. Three farms survive today; there were 15 as recently as 1975.

Most of the town's 40 students travel some distance to attend school in Sheffield at the Undermountain Regional School; Alford is one of the five member towns of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District.

Among Alford's notable full-time residents is John Oliver, the founder and conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Alford is rarely in the news, but townspeople are kept posted via the semi-annual Alford Newsletter, published by local resident Roberta Haas.

With no post office of its town, residents to the north of the town center use the West Stockbridge zip code; to the south, it's Great Barrington. Rural mail delivery is available throughout the town.

Famed poet William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) of Cummington frequented Alford's woodlands and reportedly courted his wife, Frances, during hikes there.

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