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Becket is a town born of the forest. The earliest settlers built a saw mill on Walker Brook in 1751, which set the stage for an economy that would long revolve around the manufacturing of wood-related products.
Becket's pioneer families included the surnames of Birchard, Gross, King, Kingsley, Messinger, Wait, Wadsworth, and Walker. These were the families who paved the way for incorporation in 1765 and helped diversify the economic base to include the harvesting and/or production of charcoal, ash basketry, granite, raw silk, and dairy goods.
When the Western Railroad began to steam its way through Berkshire County in 1840, Becket's population shifted about 5-1/2 miles north of the old town center. But most of the industrial interests that followed the move north prematurely closed following a catastrophic flood in 1927.
One of Becket's most enduring survivors proved to be basketry, which continued to maintain an economic foothold until 1956. A granite quarry in South Becket and a paper mill in the Bancroft also remained vibrant up until the 1960's. Nowadays, the town is known more for youth camps and seasonal vacation homes.
The Southern Berkshire Chamber
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