Ashfield Overview

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Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.4 square miles (104.7 square kilometers), of which, 40.3 square miles (104.4 square kilometers) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 square kilometers) of it (0.30%) is water. Ashfield is located in the southwest corner of Franklin County, along the Hampshire County line. Ashfield is bordered by Buckland to the north, Conway to the east, Goshen to the south, Cummington to the southwest, Plainfield to the west, and Hawley to the northwest. Ashfield is fifteen miles west-southwest of Greenfield, thirty-five miles north-northwest of Springfield, and 105 miles west-northwest of Boston.

Ashfield lies in the eastern foothills of The Berkshires, with several high hills, including Ridge Hill, in the northern portion of town. The town is fed by several rivers and brooks, including the South River, the "western" Swift River (the "eastern" river flows out of the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts) and several prominent brooks, most of which feed into either the Deerfield River or the Connecticut River. Near the center of town, Ashfield Lake feeds into the South River, and is a recreational site. In the southwest portion of town, a small portion of the Poland Brook Wildlife Management Area crosses into town, as does a portion of the Daughters of the American Revolution State Forest.

The town is at the junction of the north-south Route 112 and the east-west Route 116, which are combined for 1.4 miles south of Ashfield Lake. The town is located approximately twelve miles west of Interstate 91, the nearest interstate to the town. The nearest bus service is in Greenfield, with the nearest small air service being Turners Falls just east of there. The nearest Amtrak service is in either Pittsfield or Springfield, and the nearest national air service is at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,800 people, 741 households, and 500 families residing in the town. By population, Ashfield ranked thirteenth of the twenty-six towns in Franklin County, and 296th out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The population density was 44.7 people per square mile (17.2/square kilometer), which ranked seventeenth in the county and 314th in the Commonwealth. There were 821 housing units at an average density of 20.4/sq mi (7.9/square kilometer). The racial makeup of the town was 97.33% White, 0.61% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.44% of the population.

There were 741 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 33.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,875, and the median income for a family was $56,739. Males had a median income of $38,818 versus $31,146 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,483. About 5.2% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Ashfield employs the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a board of selectmen and an administrative assistant. All of the town's services are located in the town center, including the town hall, police and fire departments, as well as the Belding Memorial Library and the town's post office. The nearest hospital, Franklin Medical Center, is located in Greenfield, as are most of the nearest state offices.

On the state level, Ashfield is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives by the Second Berkshire district, which covers central Berkshire County, as well as portions of Hampshire and Franklin Counties. In the Massachusetts Senate, the town is represented by the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin district, which includes all of Berkshire County as well as western portions of Franklin and Hampshire Counties.[3] The town is patrolled by the Second Barracks of Troop "B" of the Massachusetts State Police, headquartered in Shelburne Falls.

On the national level, Ashfield is represented in the United States House of Representatives as part of Massachusetts's 1st congressional district.

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