Rowe is a small hilltown in northwestern Massachusetts, bordered by Whitingham, Vermont, to the north, Heath to the east, Charlemont to the south, and Florida and Monroe to the west. Situated on 24.0 square miles it is nestled in an area of scenic beauty, with wooded mountains, clear brooks and the Deerfield River on its western border. Rowe is close to ski areas and enjoys great hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing and kayaking. It has a population of just under 400.
Kemp-McCarthy Memorial Museum, on Zoar Road is operated by the Rowe Historical Society. There are eight rooms of artifacts and memorabilia of Rowe from over 300 friends of the town. The collection includes Rowe's last horse-drawn hearse, an extensive collection of antique costumes, original Hoosac Tunnel memorabilia and a large research library. It is open Sundays in July through early October. More information on schedules, exhibits and programs is available on the website or by contacting the museum by email or phone (413) 339-4238. Specials tours for groups of 10 or more can be arranged.
Pelham Lake, is a popular recreation area located in the center of town, offering trails for hiking and snowmobiling, fishing, icefishing and skating during the winter. A beach area is available for residents.
Old Home Day Celebration happens every July and coincides with the fishing derby.
The first settler in Rowe was Reverend Cornelius Jones from Sandisfield. In 1762, he came into possession of a tract of land four miles square bounded on the north by the Province of Vermont. Jones and his family decided to settle, build a house, and eventually a church.
Reverend Jones was a Harvard graduate with considerable business ability. He offered his lands at low prices to induce others to come and settle. Among them were Jonathan Lamb, Artemus Ward, Michael Wilson, Henry Gleason, Archibald and Joseph Thomas, John Humphrey and William Taylor.
This tract went for a number of years by the name of Myrifield. The town was incorporated in 1785 under the name Rowe, in honor of wealthy Boston merchant John Rowe.
In 1882, the part of town lying west of the Deerfield River was incorporated into the town of Monroe, and since then Rowe has been expanded by the annexation of an unincorporated tract called Zoar.
Wooden bowls, designed for washing gold, were made in Rowe and shipped west during the gold rush. In the early 1880's, large deposits of iron pyrites were used for the manufacture of sulphuric acid. H.J. Davis secured the control of the deposits, and the Davis Mine was the town's major business enterprise from 1888 until closed in 1911 because of serious cave-ins.
The Yankee Atomic Electric Power Station, which was one of the nation's first major commercial nuclear power plants, went on line in 1960 and operated for 32 years before shutting down. The Bear Swamp Hydro-electric Project was built in Rowe and neighboring Florida in 1974.