Lanesborough is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,091 at the 2010 census.
One of the first Berkshire communities to be settled, Lanesborough was originally known as “New Framingham”, carved from part of Northern Berkshire Township #6. Lanesborough was first settled in 1753 and was officially incorporated on January 21, 1765. It was renamed Lanesborough, for the Countess of Lanesborough, a friend of Governor Francis Bernard, who incorporated the town. The town grew with small industry in the early 19th century, most of which settled along Town Brook. Berkshire Pleasure Park was a major attraction at the turn of the 20th century. It was one of the trolley parks along what is now Route 8 on the eastern side of town.
Today the town includes many small businesses, but has little industry of its own. More people from Lanesborough are employed in nearby communities or at the nearby Berkshire Mall.
The town’s most famous resident was Josh Billings, born Henry Wheeler Shaw. He was a popular humorist in the nineteenth century, rivaling Mark Twain for popularity at the time. Historic sites include the Old Stone School, an unusual stone one-room schoolhouse, built in 1832 from funds donated by Ephraim Bradley and which operated as a school until 1950. The building is currently used as a photography gallery and guesthouse.
Lanesborough, along with Williamstown, form the Mount Greylock Regional School District, which includes a middle school and a high school. The town operates Lanesborough Elementary School for students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, with the upper grades attending Mount Greylock Regional High School in Williamstown. Lanesborough Elementary has a tuition agreement to educate students from neighboring New Ashford. Additionally, there are private, parochial, charter and vocation schools in the nearby towns.
The nearest community college, Berkshire Community College, is in Pittsfield. The nearest state college is Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and the nearest university is the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Williams College in Williamstown is the nearest private college.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,990 people, 1,203 households, and 839 families residing in the town. By population, Lanesborough ranks eleventh out of the 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County, and 273rd out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The population density was 103.0 people per square mile (39.8/km2), ranking it 11th and 279th in the county and Commonwealth, respectively. There were 1,382 housing units at an average density of 47.6 per square mile (18.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.70% African American, 0.03% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.
There were 1,203 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. Of all households, 23.9% were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $46,496, and the median income for a family was $51,887. Males had a median income of $37,672 versus $24,583 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,106. About 3.7% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.