(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
The shape of the town of Charlemont, Massachusetts, is defined by the Deerfield River: the town lies along the east-west flow of the river with very little of the town more than five miles from it. The Deerfield River is one of the substantial tributaries of the Connecticut River, flowing from Vermont and emptying into the Connecticut on the northern edge of Deerfield town. The river forms a natural east-west corridor connecting the towns of the Connecticut Valley with the northern portion of Massachusetts' westernmost county, Berkshire. This corridor was used by Native Americans. Their trail ran along the ridges to the north of the river and is now known as the "Mohawk Trail." Although the river itself was not used for power during the 18th and 19th century - its floods were too intense - in the early 20th century it was dammed in many places. Today, its flow is heavily regulated, and the regularly scheduled pulses of water released offer remarkable recreation opportunities.