Introduction to Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in Berkshire county, is 29 miles SE of Albany, New York (center to center) and 111 miles W of Boston, Massachusetts. It's situated at the fork of the west and east branches of the Housatonic River and is bordered by the Berkshire Hills and the Taconic Range. The city is regarded as one of the primary population centers located in Western Massachusetts. In 2005 Farmers Insurance ranked the city as the 20th "Most Secure Place to Live" in the nation for towns with a population under 150,000. GE Advanced Materials, Chemex Corporation, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Laurin Publishing and General Systems are some of the major employers.
The area was settled in 1752 and incorporated in 1761. It was named in tribute to William Pitt, a British nobleman and politician. Pittsfield was primarily an agricultural community, however there were a large number of mills due to the area's numerous streams.
Pittsfield became a major center for producing wool after the arrival of Merino sheep from Spain in 1807. The wool industry became the city's primary employer. In 1891 the Electric Manufacturing Company created the first electric transformer. The company was the forerunner of the well known General Electric. The population had enormous growth due to the success of GE.
- Berkshire Museum features exhibits on natural science, ancient civilizations and art. It has an exhibit of Dinosaurs and Paleontology.
- Hebert Arboretum offers a wide variety of trees and plants in a natural environment.
- Wahconah Park is a popular baseball stadium.
- The Colonial Theatre is from the Vaudeville age and is known for having excellent acoustics.
- The city is known for its excellent musical theaters.
- Pittsfield includes homes from the mid-18th century and numerous historic neighborhoods.
- The Ellen Crane Memorial Sculpture Gallery offers neoclassical sculptures.
- The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation is focused on the area's innovators.
- Arrowhead is the home of Herman Melville, the famous writer.
- The Berkshire Opera Company performs at the Koussevitzky Arts Center, located at Berkshire Community College.
The Pittsfield State Forest offers cross-country skiing and hiking trails, a swimming area and is available for camping. Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area is nearby. Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary includes fields, wooded areas and wetlands. The Bousquet Ski Area and Summer Resort offers skiing, go-karts, water slides and a variety of activities. The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is popular with hikers. The area offers numerous trails for hiking enthusiasts including the Brickhouse Mountain, Cheshire Harbor, Taconic Skyline, Turner and the Wild Cat trails.
The Konkapot Brook, Farmington River - West Branch, the Westfield River and the Fall River provides opportunities for whitewater paddling. Onota Lake is utilized for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Ski Butternut, Catamount and Jiminy Peak are some of the available skiing areas. Pontoosuc Lake Country Club, Cranwell Resort & Golf Club and the Wahconah Country Club are popular with golfing enthusiasts.
Air travel is available at the Albany International Airport.
Pittsfield Higher Education
Berkshire Community College is situated in Pittsfield. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Westfield State College are located in the region.