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The territory that ultimately evolved into Peru originally attracted the investment dollars of then-Governor Francis Bernard.
In what today would definitely be considered a major conflict of interest, the governor teamed with Oliver Partridge and Elisha Jones to purchase a parcel of unincorporated land that the government had put on the auction blocks as "Northern Berkshire Township No. 2." The land was divided into 63 settling lots and incorporated into the Township of Partridgefield in 1771. The town did not change its name to Peru until 1805.
A beautiful Federal-style church was designed and built in 1808 by noted architect Shadrack Pierce, then rebuilt in 1848 and replaced toward the end of the 19th century. Two of the few remaining remnants of Peru's history were also removed when in 1973 the Creamer Store and U.S. Post Office were purchased and relocated to a museum village in Moodus, Connecticut.
The Mohegans hunted in this area before English and Dutch settlers came to this region called Poontoosuck "haunt of the white deer." The first settlers from Westfield began clearing the land in 1743. The town was incorporated in 1761 and named Pittsfield in honor of British statesman, William Pitt the elder.
In the post-revolutionary period wool, cotton, shoes and paper were the main industries and during the war between the states, Pittsfield suppled uniforms and weaponry for the Union forces.
Famous visitors and residents include Oliver Wendell Holmes who built a summer home on land once owned by his grandfather. Herman Melville purchased Arrowhead Farm in 1850 where he wrote "Moby Dick" and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a frequent visitor. He wrote "The Old Clock on the Stairs" on the site where the Pittsfield High was later built.
Today this once industrial town is steeped in literary and artistic history and shares that wealth with visitors to the Berkshires.
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