Tuesday, May 01
Settled: 1762.

Incorporated: 1781 (as a district); 1836 (as a town).

Named for: An ash fort at the foot of Mount Greylock.

Population: 247 (U.S. Census, 2000); 210 (latest town census).

Area: 13.5 square miles.

Elevation: 1,256 feet (average).

Average annual snowfall: 96 inches (estimated).

Median resident age: 37.5 (U.S. Census, 2000).

Median household income: $51,250 (U.S. Census, 2000); $63,700 (2005, estimated).

Median family income: $58,125 (U.S. Census, 2000).

Average house value: $186,858 (DOR, 2007).

Average property tax: $1,443, single-family home (DOR, 2007).

Unemployment rate: 6.3 percent (February 2007).

Races, national origin: White, 236; African American, 2; Asian, 8; Mixed races, 1 (U.S. Census, 2000).

Ancestries: Irish, 19 percent; English, 17 percent; French, 11 percent; German, 10 percent; Italian, 9 percent; Scottish, 6 percent; French Canadian, 5 percent; European, 4 percent; Asian Indian, 3 percent; Polish, 3 percent; Lebanese, 3 percent; Arab, 3 percent; Dutch, 2 percent; Sub-Saharan African, 2 percent; African, 2 percent; Black or African American, 1 percent; British, 1 percent; Swedish, 1 percent; Austrian, 1 percent; (U.S. Census, 2000).


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Official town Web site: None

The town ...

... has a split tax rate of $7.72 per thousand of assessed valuation for residential property, and $11.30 for commercial, which provides limited town services. Most of the town budget is for school tuition (students attend Williamstown or Lanesborough schools) and for the highway department. Police protection is provided by State Police from the Cheshire barracks; a volunteer fire department handles a variety of local calls and serves as first responders. Select Board members receive a small stipend, and the Town Clerk is compensated. ... shares a zip code with Lanesborough, the nearest post office; mail is delivered from there to clusters of boxes situated at the foot of the town's roads, alongside Route 7. ... has notable family names like Phelps, Beach, White, Mallery, Roys, Jennings and Frye — several of which have roads named after them. The Phelps family continues to operate the only working farm in town, with dairying operations and corn fields. ... is home to Red Bat Cave, now privately owned, which was once a trourist attraction with souvenirs still circulating among collectors. The cave is named after the lasiurus borealis, or the red bat, which resided in the den. The cave is more than 100 feet long, with 20-foot-high arches inside and glittering stalactites. ... has the noted restaurant, The Mill on the Floss, owned for more than three decades by the Champagne family, which is inside an 18th-century farmhouse. Its French cuisine has been cited by Bon Appetit magazine, among others. "It's like a page out of Dickens," chef Suzanne Champagne Ivy told the magazine as she described "the mood created by old wooden floors, burnished beams, and low ceilings illuminated by candlelight." A project, funded by the state, will replace the 1850 bridge across the Green River on Route 7. No construction schedule has been announced, but MassHighway wants most of the work to take place in the summer, when water levels are low. The old two-acre landfill on Ingraham Road that closed around 1970 is being remediated prior to capping. The town borrowed $27,000 for testing by Tighe and Bond, and no environmental contamination has been found. Select Board chairman Kevin Flicker says the town will consider a number of alternatives, given the concerns over a potentially costly capping procedure.