Pittsfield was founded in 1761, named after British Prime Minister William Pitt (who would later take up the American colonists cause before the revolution.) In 1885, Pittsfield was selected as one of the 20 most productive agricultural communities in Massachusetts.
Pittsfield was incorporated as a city in 1891. During World War II, more than 10,000 people worked in the GE plant. Population peaked in the 1950's at about 58,000.
The city has had its fair share of famous residents who have made major contributions to the nation's history, including: Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick at Arrowhead (one of Pittsfield's Historic homes); Civil War Colonel William F. Bartlett who rose from private to become the youngest major general in the war at the age of 24; and Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Whittlesley who won the Congressional Medal of Honor as commander of the "Lost Battalion" during World War I.