Berkshire community bestowed designation

Special signs erected to identify area

JOHNSTOWN — The New York State Department of Transportation has recently put up signs to help with identifying the Berkshire community located in the town of Johnstown.

A total of four signs have been put up throughout the community. Michael Gendron, who grew up in Berkshire and attended the Berkshire Common School said the signs are located at Route 30A South of Steele Ave. Extension, Route 30A North of 6th Ave. Extension, East Fulton St. near Stewarts and Route 29 A near the Fulton County Transfer Station.

“I think it’s terrific that these signs are going up because Berkshire has changed so much since the 1800s,”Gendron said.

Gendron said the first settlers came over to the town of Johnstown after the Revolutionary War, which ended around 1783. He said Berkshire has been called both a settlement and a hamlet. Gendron said the difference between the two is that settlements were in the early 1800s and a hamlet was in the early 1850s and a hamlet is a community without an official government.

Fulton County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino said the name Berkshire is believed to have been derived from the first settlers that came from Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

The Berkshire community developed its own schoolhouse, church, fire department, baseball park and fairgrounds. It also became a geografic landmark.

Gendron and Hall-Saladino said documentation proving that Berkshire is a community had to be sent to the NYSDOT. Gendron said he provided a list of buildings located in the area and a map of Berkshire. Gendron also gave a presentation to the Town of Johnstown in August and the board then passed a resolution to allow the signs to be put up. Assistance was also provided by Dottie MacVean from Assemblyman Marc Butler’s office.

“It was a long process, but it was worth it,” Gendron said.

“I’m extremely pleased that DOT has erected the Berkshire signs to preserve the identity of the Berkshire community for generations to come. It makes the months of paperwork worth the effort,” Gendron said.