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Great Barrington Tours

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Great Barrington Tours

In 2012, Smithsonian Magazine named Great Barrington, Massachusetts the Best Small Town in America. In addition to its natural beauty and vibrant culture, the town boasts a rich heritage that includes people and places whose contributions to American history were significant. We invite you to explore these remarkable stories through these walking tours.

1) The Historic Great Barrington Walking Tour

Drawing on more than 250 years of history, this narrated tour includes the site of Berkshire County’s first courthouse, where the first organized resistance to British judicial rule in America took place and less than a decade later, Elizabeth Freeman became the first enslaved African American woman in the Commonwealth to successfully sue for her freedom. A short detour off Main Street leads to the banks of the Housatonic River, where William Stanley conducted the first practical demonstration of alternating current electric power that began the transformation of American cities and towns in the 19th Century.

2) W.E.B. Du Bois and the Black Berkshires

This historical tour focuses on three linked histories: the biography of civil rights pioneer W.E.B. Du Bois (arguably the town’s most famous native son), the story of Great Barrington’s first Black church, and African American heritage in the Berkshires. The narrated tour includes institutions that influenced young “Willie” Du Bois, such as the A.M.E. Zion Church — the political, social, and spiritual home for local African Americans for 150 years. Stops along a nearby side street include the homes and businesses of early Black entrepreneurs; other sites highlight contemporary efforts to educate the public about — and pay homage to — these important lives and legacies.
Town of Great Barrington