Monroe to celebrate 200th anniversary on Saturday


Staff Writer
Published: 9/12/2022 6:29:37 PM
Modified: 9/12/2022 6:25:42 PM

MONROE — The smallest town on the state’s mainland is celebrating its 200th birthday this weekend.

The town of Monroe was first settled in the early 1800s by farmers from the neighboring town of Rowe. Having difficulty getting from one side of the Deerfield River to the other, Monroe decided to break away and start its own municipality. It took several decades until the town was formally incorporated in 1822.

In honor of the 200 years since its founding, Monroe is hosting a bicentennial celebration on Saturday for all current and past residents and their families, friends and neighbors. The event begins at 11 a.m. in and around the Community Center on School Street. There will be two large tents set up with neighbors inside enjoying the day. All events are sponsored by the Monroe Historical Society.

“We are hoping to have a nice day and some fun things for people to do,” said Sharon Oakes, an organizer of the bicentennial festivities.

The celebration will start with state Rep. Paul Mark and Selectboard members giving opening remarks, Oakes said. From there, games, festivities and educational events will run throughout the afternoon.

The Historical Society will be open throughout the day for people interested in the town’s history. Visitors can see possessions of the first female Selectboard member in Franklin County, Inga Koksvik, who represented Monroe starting in 1932. Her loom from the 1930s will be on display.

There will also be a visual timeline set up under a tent. Historical photos will be exhibited recounting the stories of Monroe’s past. Oakes said people will be invited to gather there and tell stories of their personal history as well. Monroe, which was named after President James Monroe, is home to 115 residents today, including 80 registered voters.

Monroe has gone through many changes throughout its history. In the past, the railroad went through town, which was once home to a bustling paper mill. The construction of the bridge over the Deerfield River allowed the town to expand and change. Additionally, there was once a prison camp, adding 50 people to the population at any given time. All of this and more is recounted in the town’s new, 116-page history book that will be for sale at the bicentennial event.

The Fire Department will sell hot dogs and hamburgers, and a food cart from the Heath Fair will be on hand, Oakes said. Late in the afternoon, a birthday cake will be served to all in attendance, marking the town’s special day.

There will be a cornhole competition with a cash prize, as well as a band, Midnight 30, and a raffle for those who stick around to the end.

A specialty stamp was made by the U.S. Postal Service commemorating the anniversary, Oakes said. The stamp will feature a photo of the Community Center and will be available for purchase at Saturday’s event.

“Two hundred years means we are still chugging along,” Oakes said.

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or


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