Leverett - Situated on 22.7 square miles in western Massachusetts, Leverett is bordered by Montague to the north, Wendell to the northeast, Shutesbury to the east, Amherst to the south, and Sunderland to the west. Its diverse population of 2,000 is a rich mixture of teachers, students, farmers, lumbermen, gardeners, artists, professionals in the areas of medicine, law, and telecommunications.
- Leverett Historical Society, is housed in the old Moore's Corner schoolhouse on North Leverett Road. The first floor features a schoolhouse exhibit. There are also artifacts from the former mills and shops, scrapbooks and photographs from the childhood days of newspaper columnist Ruby Hemenway, who lived to be over 100 years old. Hours vary. Call curator Dan Bennett (413) 367-2656.
- Rattlesnake Gutter, is a deep glacial ravine featuring scenic rock formations. Rattlesnake Gutter Road is a narrow roadway that travels along part of the ravine. The area may be reached by taking Montague Road from Route 63. The road is closed to vehicular traffice, but open for hiking and bicycling.
- Old Charcoal Kilns, on Old Coke Kiln Road near Moores Corner, are where charcoal was produced in abudance some 200 years ago. Accessible by taking Route 63 to North Leverett Road, then taking a right onto Old Coke Kiln Road.
- Leverett Pond, is located in the center of town and offers fishing, boating and swimming. There is a boat launching area on the side of the lake near the town hall.
- New England Peace Pagoda, on Cave Hill Road, is a temple of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddist order. The public is welcome. Call (413) 367-2202 for further information.
The history of Leverett's birth may go back to the late 1600s when the first hardy pioneers settled at the northernmost reaches of Sunderland. This section was called Swampfield Plantation and modern Leverett was a large part of it.
Helping to open up the area to settlement was the construction of the Lancaster Road from Lancaster to Sunderland during the 1730s. The people who built the road were granted land that became Shutesbury.
Most records agree that the first permanent settlement was in 1750 in the section now called Leverett Center. Moving into the territory were Nathan Adams, Moses Graves, Solomon Gould, Elisha Clary, Joel Smith, Jeremiah Woodbury, Joseph Hubbard, Joseph Clary, Leae Mashal, Jonathan Hubbard, Richard Montague, Barnard Wilde and Aboslom Scott. Choosing to settle farther away in the Long Plain section were the families of Josiah Cowles, Jonathan Field and Stephen Ashley.
By 1773, the settlers of Leverett decided to petition the town of Sunderland for the right to be set free and formed into a new town. Sunderland willingly granted separation and on March 5, 1774, the incorporation paper was signed by Gov. Thomas Hutchinson and Thomas Fleeker, secretary. The citizens assembled on March 24 to elect the first officers.
The choice of the name Leverett is said to have been in honor of Sir John Leverett, who had been governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Leverett had a history of opposition to British rule and religious persecution. According to legend, he was punished for his opposition to religious persecution by being hitched to cart and driven through Boston streets while receiving 20 lashes with a whip.
Early industry included production of hoes, chairs, scythes, snaths, heel rings, yarns, satinet, tables, churns, baby carriages and boxes. Manufacture of charcoal was also a leading industry.
Leverett is unusually rich in scenic beauty. Rattlesnake Gutter Road, in the heart of the town, is a two mile road through a glacial ravine, bordered by Brushy Mountain. The Sawmill River cascades over rocks in Moore’s Corner, before coming to the North Leverett millpond, and its picturesque historic mill. Leverett Pond, in the center of town, is a place of quiet beauty. The first Peace Pagoda in the U.S. sits majestically at the top of Cave Hill. Road names, such as Juggler Meadow, Teawaddle Hill, Cider Mill, Number Six, Rat Hollow, intrigue the traveler.
For more information, visit the Leverett Town Website.