The town of Lanesborough is located in beautiful Berkshire County, Massachusetts. One of the first Berkshire communities to be settled, Lanesborough was incorporated in 1765. Nearby are world-class cultural, educational, and artistic resources such as The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MOCA), Tanglewood, The Clark Art Museum and Williams College However, Lanesborough retains a rural character, home to the headwaters of the Housatonic and Hoosic Rivers, the shoulders of Mt. Greylock (the tallest mountain in Massachusetts), as well as numerous active farms, skiing and hiking trails, open fields, and forests.
Like many towns, Lanesborough has characters, myths, and magical moments. The mural (seen below) in our elementary school captures some of the fun and history.
The shirtless man is O.B. Joyful, born in 1872 and a self-proclaimed graduate of Harvard who chose the simple life of a vagabond merchant and philosopher. He lived here from 1900 to 1960, was a vegetarian who avoided tobacco, alcohol, and sugar, and was never seen wearing shoes or boots, even in winter. The wyvern flying toward O.B. recalls the town seal, harks from English heraldry, and is the likely roots of the the name Lanesborough. The tower on Mt. Greylock is top-center, above a group of observant Mohican, our predecessors in these fine hills. Below the wyvern is the current elementary school, and to the left is the old brick school, now demolished. Near O.B.’s dog is beautiful St. Luke’s stone church. Along the lower edge of the mural are Balance Rock, an extinct small train for rides near the Rock, the famous diving white horse, and the dwarf Dopey who, for years, lent his name to a popular restaurant in town.
While some of this is fantasy or history, much is with us today. Mt. Greylock is still a commanding presence: the diving horse is gone, but the lake is still one of the most beautiful anywhere; Dopey’s is now Bob’s Country Kitchen; the handsome stone church is very active in the summer; and the 400-ton rock still balances.
We can’t leave the mural without celebrating Josh Billings -- the man in the black suit, hat, and white beard. Josh was born in Lanesborough in 1818, and in his day was a more famous humorist than Mark Twain. His name and his phrase, “To finish is to win” are used in the Josh Billings Runaground Marathon each fall, but many other sayings are better known throughout the country. “Are you joshing me?” “Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well.” “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” “The less we know, the more we suspect.” “Lots of people mistake their imagination for their memory.”
Lanesborough is a celebrated place to live and to visit. Explore our historic sites, enjoy our recreational opportunities, and our fine dining and retail businesses!