Shelburne lies along the eastern banks of the Deerfield River, which flows along the town's southern and western border. Several brooks feed into the river through the town, flowing down from several low peaks of the foothills of The Berkshires. The town is situation on 23.4 sure miles and is bordered by Colrain on the north, Greenfield on the east, Deerfield and Conway on the southeast and south, and Buckland on the west. It has a population of approximately 1,780. The village of Shelburne Falls is located partly in Shelburne and partly in neighboring Buckland.
Bridge of Flowers, between Buckland and Shelburne in downtown Shelburne Falls. The former trolley bridge, connecting the two sections of the downtown area, was coverted into a pathway of flowers in 1929 and is maintained by the Bridge of Flowers Committee of the Shelburne Falls Women's Club.
Glacial Potholes, in the river below Salmon falls, off Deerfield Avenue, below the TransCanada power company dam on the Shelburne side. The waterfall has three cataracts with more than 50 potholes attesting to the thousands of years of erosion since the last ice age 14,000 years ago. A walkway provides a scenic view.
High Ledges, offers scenic views. These trails are through Audubon-protected woods on Mt. Massamet. The main trail is well-cleared and suitable for families and casual strolls. From Route 2, High Ledges can be reached by turning onto Little Mohawk Road in Shelburne, then following High Ledges/Audubon signs.
Shelburne Historical Society Museum, Maple and Church streets. Operated by the Shelburne Historical Society in the former two-story Arms Academy building. Collection dates from the 1700s to the present. There is also a library with a number of New England genealogical volumes. The museum is open on Wednesday from Noon to 4:00 pm. During the summer it is open additionally on the 2nd and 4th Sundays (July to September) Noon to 4 pm. Special group visits or appointments can be arranged by phone, call 413-625-6150.
Memorial Hall, is a 425-seat theater, originally built as an opera house in the 1800s. It now features film, concert, opera and theater productions.
Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum hosts rides on Trolley Car No. 10, the last surviving car from the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway, which once hauled freight from the rail yard in Shelburne to the mills of Colrain, and passengers back to the village. (413) 625-9443
Shelburne Grange Fair, is annually held on the fourth Saturday in August at Fellowship Hall on Little Mohawk Road in Shelburne. The agricultural fair features crafts, food exhibits, flea market, entertainment and chicken barbecue. Call 413-625-6306 for further information.
Bridge of Flowers 10K Classic, is a 10-kilometer road race. The footrace is held the second Saturday in August.
Shelburne Falls Riverfest, is annually held the second weekend in June as a celebration along the Deerfield River. It features educational programs, music crafts, rafting and the annual "Frog Parade". For further information call 413-625-6628, the Shelburne Falls Business Association 413-625-2526 or visit http://shelburnefalls.com/
Iron Bridge Dinner is held every August on the Iron Bridge, which crosses the Deerfield River parallel to the Bridge of Flowers. Local restaurants cater this Shelburne Falls Business Association benefit. (413) 625-2526 or visit http://shelburnefalls.com/
The land which is now Shelburne was incorporated in old Hampshire County as early as 1662. In 1712 on petition of Rev. John Williams, the famous "redeemed captive of Deerfield," the territory of Shelburne was annexed to Deerfield and commonly known as "Deerfield Pasture" and "Deerfield Northwest Pasture," or more briefly "the Northwest."
First settlements were made between 1752 and 1756 by Jonathan Catlin and James Ryder of Deerfield, but because of French and Indian wars, these settlements near Salmon Falls (now Shelburne Falls) were abandoned.
Town records state Samuel Wilson probably settled in Deerfield Northwest as early as 1759, also John Taylor. Robert Wilson, too, came that year or perhaps the year following.
All titles to land in Shelburne were derived from the Proprietors of Deerfield.
In Deerfield's town meeting of March 1768, the Northwest inhabitants petitioned to be set off from the mother town of Deerfield into a separate district. The petition passed in the negative. A second petition at the meeting of May 9, 1768 requesting "that they will set the Hool of the Northwest division except part of kang that is Sett off to Greenfield" was passed in the affirmative and the above inhabitants were "set off." Bounds were fixed to include land "ye South side of Mr. John Taylor's lot" - a rectangular block easterly to the Seven-mile Line; so, today the original Taylor lot stands out conspicuously on the map of Shelburne. The General Courts granted a charter June 21, 1768. The first district meeting was held October 31, 1768, in the home of Daniel Nims.
Thus Shelburne became an independent district. It was seven years later in 1775 when Shelburne was made a town.