Rowe is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 393 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Rowe was the site of fishing and foraging for local Native American tribes. The area was first visited by white settlers in 1744, and was the site of a fort to guard against raids. In 1762, the town lands were purchased by the Rev. Cornelius Jones, who named it “Myrifield” after the Greek word for “thousand”. The town had enough settlers by 1785 to have it incorporated as a town, renamed by the Massachusetts General Court after John Rowe, a prominent Boston merchant.
The town of Rowe grew around mills on the river, but also had other industries, including sulfur, talc and soapstone mining. This was nowhere more evident than in the now abandoned settlement at the Davis Mine. In the late 1880s, with the addition of the railroad along the river, the area had become somewhat of a small resort town. But, by the advent of the 1900s, most industry had begun to dry up, leaving the town fairly rural until the 1950s. At that point, with the “baby boom” underway, Rowe became the site of Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station, the first nuclear power plant in New England, near the Sherman Dam along the Vermont border. The plant was in operation from 1960 to 1992, and the plant is now completely decommissioned, with the nuclear waste set to be transported to Yucca Mountain’s containment facilities upon their completion in 2020.
Rowe’s school system is a sub-system in the nine-town Mohawk Trail Regional School District, which serves much of western Franklin County. Town students attend the Rowe Elementary School from pre-kindergarten through sixth grades, and all students in the district attend Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Buckland. There is a private academy in neighboring Charlemont, and other private and religious schools in nearby North Adams.
The nearest community college, Greenfield Community College, is located in Greenfield. The nearest state college is Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and the nearest state university is the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The nearest private college is Williams College in Williamstown, with several others located southeast in the Northampton/Amherst area.
At the 2000 census, there were 351 people, 154 households and 105 families residing in the town. By population, Rowe ranks 24th out of the 26 cities and towns in Franklin County, and 344th out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The population density was 14.9 per square mile (5.8/km2), which ranks 24th in the county and 345th in the Commonwealth. There were 209 housing units at an average density of 8.9 per square mile (3.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.72% White, 0.28% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.
There were 154 households, of which 22.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. Of all households 26.0% were made up of individuals, and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.75.
Of the population 19.7% were under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 36.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.
The median household income was $41,944 and the median family income was $53,750. Males had a median income of $32,143 compared with $28,438 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,134. None of the families and 2.8% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under-eighteens and 3.1% of those over 64.