Great Barrington, Massachusetts

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Great Barrington is a mountain town located in rural Berkshire County, Massachusetts. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 7,527. It is the home of Simon's Rock College of Bard.

For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of Great Barrington, please see the articles on Great Barrington (CDP) and Housatonic.



Great Barrington was first settled in 1726 and was officially incorporated in 1761.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 118.4 km² (45.7 mi²). 117.0 km² (45.2 mi²) of it is land and 1.3 km² (0.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.12% water.

The town is located in the Berkshire Hills and is known for its scenic beauty and natural environment. This location is largely wooded and is part of the Appalachian Trail. Opportunities abound for hiking, mountain biking, paddling, and rock climbing. For skiing, there's Butternut Basin near town, and Berkshire East is an easy drive.

Food and Entertainment

Great Barrington is frequented by tourists, and has many shops and restaurants.

There is a farmer's market downtown every Saturday morning between May and October.

Great Barrington, while still a relatively small town, has more options for nightlife, shopping, and entertainment than many other South County towns. In addition to a bowling alley and numerous bars, entertainment options include the Triplex cinema, which in addition to mainstream movies often shows non-Hollywood films and documentaries.

Local Projects

One of the very nice things about Great Barrington is the Railroad Street Youth Project (, which is a youth center run by local residents, most in their teens or twenties, and provides a spot for youth to go hang out, have meetings, and work on projects. Their Youth Operational Board has a $10,000 annual budget to fund youth- and community-inspired projects, and is always looking for new members. In 2003, they sponsored a huge graffiti mural in the center of town all about W. E. B. DuBois and his life; it's a project by some local teen artists. They serve as youth advocates, providing assistance to kids at risk or in trouble, mediating parent-child conflicts, and serving as a gateway to local social services. Railroad Street also hosts meetings for Narcotics Anonymous. In 2004 RSYP launched a community dance initiative in cooperation with Jacob's Pillow. The Urban Hieroglyphiks graffiti art program is another class taught by RSYP employee Regi Wingo. Any youth aged 14-25 is welcome to stop by the Project and hang out, pitch an idea for funding, play Xbox, write rhymes, or plan global domination.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 7,527 people, 3,008 households, and 1,825 families residing in the town. The population density is 64.3/km² (166.6/mi²). There are 3,352 housing units at an average density of 28.6/km² (74.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 94.74% White, 2.09% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 2.07% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 3,008 households out of which 27.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% are married couples living together, 11.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.28 and the average family size is 2.89.

In the town the population is spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 42 years. For every 100 females there are 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $45,490, and the median income for a family is $53,135. Males have a median income of $38,163 versus $29,474 for females. The per capita income for the town is $22,655. 7.2% of the population and 3.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 6.6% of those under the age of 18 and 4.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Notable people born in Great Barrington


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