At a glance ...

Tuesday, March 13
Incorporated: 1776.

Settled: 1762-1767.

Named for: John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Population: 721 (2000 U.S. Census); 1,026 (2006 town census).

Area: 35.7 square miles.

Elevation: 1,058 feet (average).

Average annual snowfall: 85 inches (estimated).

Median resident age: 39.

Median household income: $45,347 (2000 U.S. Census).

Median family income: $50,625 (2000 U.S. Census).

Average house value: $202,616 (Mass. DOR, 2006).

Average property tax: $845, single-family home (Mass. DOR, 2006).

Unemployment rate: 3.4 percent (January 2007).

Races, national origin: White, 702; black or African American, 2; Hispanic or Latino, 10; Asian, 4; mixed races, 12. (2000 U.S. Census).

Ancestries: English, 17 percent; Irish, 16 percent; Italian, 15 percent; French, 10 percent; German, 8 percent; French-Canadian, 5 percent; Polish, 4 percent; Scottish, 3 percent; Russian, 2 percent; Scotch-Irish, 1 percent; Finnish, 1 percent; Swedish, 1 percent; Norwegian, 1 percent; Greek, 1 percent; other Hispanic or Latino, 1 percent; Dutch, 1 percent; Swiss, 1 percent; South American, 1 percent; Colombian, 1 percent (2000 U.S. Census).

Town Web site: None.

The town ...

... has areas that are more isolated today than they were in the 19th century. Goodrich Hollow only can be accessed from New York's Route 22 today, but in the early days could be reached on horseback by a connecting path from West Street, Pittsfield. The E.S. Smith House, in Hancock just east of Lebanon Springs, N.Y., was once reachable from the North homestead at Hancock Shaker Village on Route 20. ... is home to resident Andre Rambaud, 75, who lives "off the grid" in his energy-independent home set on 475 acres, including a 35-lot campsite. The home is adjoined by an underground concrete bunker containing a hydroelectric generator that runs off a spring a mile above his mountainside property. ... is home to The Hancock Inn, which serves visitors year-round. It is among the modern-day survivors of a series of inns that dotted the town from its earliest days. The Gardner Inn, also known as Kirkmead, was built by Capt. Caleb Gardner around 1767 on what was then known as the Boston to Albany Post Road (now Route 43). ... has two dozen cemeteries within the borders of Hancock, the earliest dating from 1772. ... benefits from volunteers, some in their 80s and 90s, who help staff town positions, including the north and south fire departments; they also maintain the cemeteries as well as the small Taylor Memorial Library, with about 1,000 books and 300-plus videos. The library is open only on Friday afternoons and evenings. ... has the long-established Berkshire Vista, a "clothing optional" year-round resort and campground on Kittle Road, which is taking reservations for its upcoming summer season; owner Daniel Bookstein says future plans are considered "year by year"; he reports that one option, pending town approval, would be to convert the property into 25 to 31 single-family and duplex homes.

Of interest ...

The Berkshire Wind Project, involving the proposed construction of 10, 338-foot high turbines on a Hancock mountainside near the New Ashford line, remains grounded since first proposed nine years ago, pending the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed in Springfield against the developers by Silverleaf Resorts Inc. Silverleaf plans to build the 332-unit, $40 million high-end condo and time-share Snowy Owl Resort on 500 acres of Brodie Mountain, site of the former ski area. Access to the project, where preliminary work has begun, also remains in dispute since the road runs through Hancock property owned by Meredith Cochrane and Andre Rambaud.


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