Shutesbury Town Hall
Location in Franklin County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||27.2 sq mi (70.4 km2)|
|• Land||26.6 sq mi (68.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2)|
|Elevation||1,225 ft (373 m)|
|• Density||66/sq mi (26/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0619382|
Shutesbury was first settled in 1735, when it was called Road Town, because its only purpose was that of a road between towns. Road Town was officially incorporated as Shutesbury in 1761. The town was renamed in honor of Samuel Shute, former governor. Logging has been an important economic activity in the town for the past 200 years.
Since the expansion of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Shutesbury has grown in size steadily from the 1970s. New strict zoning laws have changed building regulations to stay rural.
The December 2008 Northeast ice storm (December 11, 2008) inflicted heavy damage on the forests in the town, coating trees with a ½-inch to 1-inch thick layer of ice. Tree limbs came crashing down on power lines, houses, and cars. Power was out in Shutesbury for up to ten days, and the state of Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. The estimated cost of cleaning up ranged from $50,000 to $100,000. The National Guard was called in to help with cleanup, and the worst-hit part of town, Wendell Road and Pelham Hill Road, was decimated by fallen trees.
As of 2014, Shutesbury still has limited access to high-speed internet; about 1/2 the town has access to 3Mbps DSL, the rest rely on universal-placement satellite uplinks or dial-up access. The Boston Globe ran a story in 2005 describing Shutesbury and its neighboring town, Leverett, as one of "America's Broadband Black Holes". Basic cellphone coverage remains spotty/or non-existent throughout the entire town.
A 2012 attempt to pass a ballot measure to fund building a new library for the town resulted in an electoral tie, defeated on appeal. $233,232.93 in personal pledges and grants were raised kickstart the effort. The current library, the first to ever be built in Shutesbury, was erected in 1902, is very small - 768 square feet - and cannot provide modern amenities such as running water.
Geography and transportation
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.2 square miles (70 km2), of which 26.6 square miles (69 km2) are land and 0.6-square-mile (1.6 km2) (2.06%) is water. Shutesbury lies at the northern end of the western branch of the Quabbin Reservoir. The West Branch of the Swift River still flows through town to the reservoir, and the eastern half of town is defined by the hills leading to the river. The brooks in the eastern part of town lead to this river, while the brooks in the western part of town flow towards the Connecticut River. In the northwest corner of town lies the Wyola Reservoir, surrounded by marshes. The center of town is dominated by high plains, between the valley ridge and the hills on the edge of the Pioneer Valley. A portion of the hills in the eastern part of town are protected as part of the Shutesbury State Forest.
Shutesbury lies along the southern border of Franklin County, along the border of Hampshire County. Shutesbury is bordered by Wendell to the north, New Salem to the east, Pelham to the south, Amherst to the southwest, and Leverett to the west. The town center lies 17 miles (27 km) southeast of the county seat of Greenfield, 30 miles (48 km) north of Springfield, and 81 miles (130 km) west of Boston.
The town has no interstates or limited-access highways, lying east of Interstate 91 and south of Massachusetts Route 2. U.S. Route 202, known locally as Daniel Shays Highway, is the only highway through town, entering from Pelham and heading through the southeast corner of town before heading into New Salem. There are no means of mass transit within the town, with the nearest railroad passing through Leverett and Amherst along the Amtrak Vermonter line. The nearest general aviation airports are north of the town, in Montague and Orange, with the nearest national air service being at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,810 people, 662 households, and 479 families residing in the town. The population density was 68.0 people per square mile (26.3/km²). There were 807 housing units at an average density of 30.3 per square mile (11.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.70% White, 1.05% African American, 0.55% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.15% of the population.
There were 662 households out of which 44.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.3% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.5% were non-families. 17.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 30.8% from 45 to 64, and 5.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $60,438, and the median income for a family was $65,521. Males had a median income of $44,000 versus $32,069 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,260. About 1.0% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.8% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
Points of interest
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Shutesbury town, Franklin County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- Russell, Jenna (Aug 24, 2005). "Internet yearning in Western Mass. hills". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Contrada, Fred (May 4, 2012). "Judge's ruling kills Shutesbury library project". The Republican. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "M.N. Spear Memorial Library". Retrieved 13 May 2012. "Total donations and pledges received to date: $233,232.93 Included in the total above is $60,291.82 of donations and pledges received toward the $150,000 challenge gift."
- "History of the Spear Library". Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
- "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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