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The Alford Valley sits just east of Great Barrington, the regional center of South Berkshire. But by the looks of it, one would think the quiet little town of Alford sits on an island all to itself. The rural community remains relatively isolated from its municipal neighbors, which, in a sense, makes it rather unique.
Alford was founded in 1756 following a deal known as the Shawanon Purchase. That same year, the Green Land Grant added 15,000 acres to a township that relied on agriculture as its primary source of income.
That's not to say Alford didn't have other economic footholds. The fledgling farm community, fed by the power-generating Alford Brook, also boasted two sawmills, two grist mills, a forge with trip hammer, a furnace for casting hollow ware, and a tannery. The Stockbridge Indians affectionately referred to the life-supporting brook as Seekonk (Wild Goose).
In the early 1800's, Alford braced itself for the industrial revolution by becoming a significant player in the exportation of marble. Quarries were run until 1872 by Sanford and Frederick Fitch, James Cook, and, ultimately, by the Alford Marble Works company.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber
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