The oldest village improvement society in the United States, the Laurel Hill Association was founded in 1853. The purpose of the organization is to “do such things as shall serve to improve the quality of life and of the environment in the town of Stockbridge.” By maintaining over 460 acres of LHA properties and recreational trails, by planting trees and flowers, by cooperating with town authorities for community welfare, by providing educational scholarships, and by coordinating with other organizations to preserve the approaches to the Town, the Laurel Hill Association helps to preserve the attractive character of Stockbridge.
The First Meeting – 1853
On August 22nd a notice was posted in the public places of the village inviting all citizens to assemble on Laurel Hill on Wednesday the 24th to take measures for the improvement of the burying ground, the streets, walks, public grounds and Laurel Hill.
Mary Hopkins Goodrich, with her passion for appearances and her executive ability, was the founder and inspiration of the Laurel Hill Association. In that first year, aided by generous citizens, Mary Hopkins Goodrich raised more than a thousand dollars and planted more than 400 trees. The society transformed Stockbridge from a rough, shabby village (muddy main road full of ruts and roaming cows, bare common, and dreary cemetery all brambles and weeds) into the handsome orderly town now admired by visitors.