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This little community on a hill marks one of the last townships to join what is now Berkshire County. Located in the county's northeast corner, Florida actually found itself backed into a corner economically before answering the bell and finding solid footing.
Dr. David Nelson became the first to settle here when he arrived in 1783. Daniel Pierce of Deerfield is generally credited with having settled the eastern part of Florida, which soon became known as "Zoar." Florida's other pre-1795 settlers include Paul Knowlton, Nathan Drury, Jesse King, Sylvanus Clark, and Steven Staples.
The town was incorporated in 1805, but it took nearly four generations before expanding to include 83 dwellings, five schools, a post office, and a church. Several saw mills and a wood pulp mill helped Florida's economy during the early days, but the primary source of income proved to be agriculture, which due to the area's high elevation was limited pretty much to wool, maple syrup, and potatoes.
In fact, Florida's population decreased after the first quarter of the 19th century as residents migrated towards employment opportunities in nearby manufacturing towns. But this trend eventually reversed itself, heading Florida back in the direction of steady growth.
Northern Berkshire Chamber of
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