Palmer, Massachusetts

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Palmer, Massachusetts
St Pauls Church, Palmer MA.jpg
St. Paul's Church
PalmerMA-seal.png
Seal
Nickname(s): 
"Town of Seven Railroads" [1]
Hampden County Massachusetts incorporated and unincorporated areas Palmer highlighted.svg
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Palmer, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°09′30″N72°19′45″W / 42.15833°N 72.32917°W / 42.15833; -72.32917 Coordinates: 42°09′30″N72°19′45″W / 42.15833°N 72.32917°W / 42.15833; -72.32917
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled1727
IncorporatedAugust 23, 1775
Government
  Type Council-manager
  Councilors-at-largeLorinda Baker, Council President
Robert Lavoie, Jessica Sizer; District Councilors
Barbara Barry, Philip Hebert, Matthew Lemieux, Karl Williams
  Town ManagerRyan W. McNutt
Area
[2]
  Total32.00 sq mi (82.87 km2)
  Land31.57 sq mi (81.78 km2)
  Water0.42 sq mi (1.09 km2)
Elevation
330 ft (101 m)
Population
 (2010)
  Total12,140
  Estimate 
(2019) [3]
12,232
  Density387.41/sq mi (149.58/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
01069
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-52105
GNIS feature ID0619387
Website Town of Palmer, Massachusetts

Palmer is a town in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,140 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Palmer adopted a home rule charter in 2004 with a council-manager form of government. Palmer is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of" in their official names. [4]

Contents

The villages of Bondsville, Thorndike, Depot Village, and Three Rivers are located in the town.

History

Palmer is composed of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village, typically referred to simply as "Palmer" (named for the ornate Union Station railroad terminal designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson), Thorndike, Three Rivers, and Bondsville. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth. Today, each village has its own post office, and all but Thorndike have their own fire station.

Palmer was originally a part of Brimfield but separated after being too far from Brimfield. Palmer's first settler was John King. King was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, and built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Quaboag River. The area as then known was called "The Elbow Tract". In 1731, a deed to land in today's Palmer renamed the town 'New Marlborough' after Marlborough, Massachusetts, in today's Middlesex County. In 1731, residents of the borough renamed the town 'Kingsfield', after the aforementioned John King. Though in some papers in the Massachusetts General Court, it was referred to as the Elbow. A large group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. Finally in 1752, it was named Palmer after Chief Justice Palmer. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer. [5] [6]

Depot Village became Palmer's main commercial and business center during the late 19th century and remains so today. Palmer's industry developed in Bondsville. During the 18th century, saw and grist mills were established by the rivers, and by 1825 Palmer woolen mills began to produce textiles. The Blanchard Scythe Factory, Wright Wire Woolen Mills, and the Holden-Fuller Woolen Mills developed major industrial capacity, and constructed large amounts of workers' housing. By 1900, Boston Duck (which made heavy cotton fabric) had over 500 employees in the town. The 20th century brought about a shift of immigrants in Palmer from those of French and Scottish origin to those of primarily Polish and French-Canadian extraction.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 32.0 square miles (82.9 km2), of which 31.5 square miles (81.7 km2) are land and 0.5 square mile (1.3 km2) (1.53%) is water. The town is bordered by Ludlow and Wilbraham on the southwest, Belchertown on the northwest, Ware on the northeast, Warren on the east, Brimfield on the southeast, and Monson on the south.

Demographics

As of the census [18] of 2000, there were 12,497 people, 5,078 households, and 3,331 families residing in the town. The population density was 396.3 people per square mile (153.0/km2). There were 5,402 housing units at an average density of 171.3 per square mile (66.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.82% White, 0.75% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.23% of the population.

There were 5,078 households, out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $41,443, and the median income for a family was $49,358. Males had a median income of $35,748 versus $26,256 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,664. About 5.8% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

Future development

The New England Region of the Sports Car Club of America has reached an agreement with the Town of Palmer to construct a new road course near their town. Palmer Motorsports Park will operate along a similar vein as Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California, in that it will be owned and operated by a limited liability corporation formed by New England Region. This effort is to ensure that NER would have its own "flagship" racetrack, as the two tracks it currently uses – New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut – are heavily used by NASCAR. The benefits to the town would include upwards of $50,000 a year in property income taxes and increased business at local gas stations, restaurants, motels and retail stores.

Palmer Motor Sports Park opened for racing in May 2015. It is a 2.3 mile road course with over 190 feet in elevation change. Road & Track magazine named Palmer Motorsports Park one of the top 10 racetracks to drive in North America.

Business advocacy

The Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce is headquartered in Palmer and is the advocate for business and community development in the Quaboag Valley area by providing the 200+ members with a voice in political, social and economic issues. [19]

Education

The town of Palmer is served by three schools. Old Mill Pond Elementary School serves grades K through 5 and Palmer High School serves grades 6 through 12. [20] Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School is also located in Palmer, and serves grades 9 through 12. Camp Ramah in New England is located in Palmer.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Railroads

Palmer has been called the "Town of Seven Railroads". These included five operating railroads (Boston & Albany, Central Vermont, Springfield, Athol & Northeastern, Ware River, and Central Massachusetts), one which was built but never operated (Hampden), and one which was not completed (Southern New England) The B&A, CV, and Ware River served Union Station, which was designed by H. H. Richardson.

The Central Vermont was sold to RailTex in 1995 and operated as the New England Central Railroad. RailTex was merged into RailAmerica in 2000, which in turn was acquired by the Genesee & Wyoming company in 2012. The B&A is now the CSX Boston Subdivision, while parts of the otherwise defunct Ware River and Central Massachusetts are operated by the Massachusetts Central Railroad. The SA&N was abandoned in the 1930s when the Quabbin Reservoir was built.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited passes through Palmer, as did the Montrealer from 1989 to 1995 and the Vermonter from 1995 to 2014, but no trains have stopped at Palmer since 1971. Union Station is privately owned and houses a restaurant.

Road

I-90 (Mass. Turnpike) currently has one exit in Palmer nearby the center of the city. This exit leads to Massachusetts Route 32, which runs south to north from Monson to the center of the city then runs through the eastern side of the city until it enters Ware. U.S. Route 20 which runs east to west, coming from Brimfield (not including a short clip through Monson), it then enters the center of the city, intersecting MA 32 and MA 181. After this U.S. 20 heads west into Wilbraham. MA 181 starts at U.S. 20 in the city center, before heading north into Three Rivers and Bondsville. After that, MA 181 enters Belchertown. MA 67 starts nearby the Monson border on U.S. 20 and stays on the extreme east side of Palmer before it heads into Warren. MA 67 goes under I-90, but never intersects the highway.

Fire and water

Unlike many Massachusetts communities, The Town of Palmer does not have its own water department. Instead Palmer, Bondsville and Three Rivers each have their own water department and their own fire department. Each fire department has its own fire chief, as there is no town-wide chief. Thorndike does not have its own fire department or water department instead contracting out with Palmer. The Thorndike Fire Department was disbanded following World War II.

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Hampden County, Massachusetts County in Massachusetts

Hampden County is a non-governmental county located in the Pioneer Valley of the state of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, Hampden County's population was 463,490. As of 2019, Hampden County's estimated population was 466,372. Its traditional county seat is Springfield, the Connecticut River Valley's largest city, and economic and cultural capital; with an estimated population of 154,758, approximately 1 in 3 residents of Hampden County live in Springfield. Hampden County was split from Hampshire County in 1812, because Northampton, Massachusetts, was made Hampshire County's "shire town" in 1794; however, Springfield—theretofore Hampshire County's traditional shire town, dating back to its founding in 1636—grew at a pace far quicker than Northampton and was granted shire town-status over its own, southerly jurisdiction. It was named for parliamentarian John Hampden. To the north of Hampden County is modern-day Hampshire County; to the west is Berkshire County; to the east is Worcester County; to the south are Litchfield County, Hartford County, and Tolland County in Connecticut.

Brimfield, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

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Ludlow, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

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Three Rivers, Massachusetts Former CDP in Massachusetts, United States

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Bondsville is an area and former census-designated place (CDP) located primarily in the city of Palmer in Hampden County in the western part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The CDP boundaries extended slightly into the adjacent town of Belchertown in Hampshire County. The population of the CDP was 1,876 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The village was named after Emelius Bond who first secured the water rights of the Swift River in 1846 to form the Bond Village Manufacturing Company.

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Springfield and Eastern Street Railway

The Springfield and Eastern Street Railway, originally the Palmer and Monson Street Railway, was a streetcar company in the towns east of Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Route 181 is a 9.43-mile-long (15.18 km) north–south state highway in Massachusetts starting at an intersection with U.S. Route 20 in Palmer, located in Hampden County. The route crosses the Mass Pike (Interstate 90), but does not intersect. The route crosses through the Bondsville section of Palmer, crossing into Hampshire County, where it enters Belchertown. In Belchertown, Route 181 comes to an end at a junction with the concurrent U.S. Route 202 and Route 21.

Turley Publications

Turley Publications Inc. is a privately owned commercial printer and publisher of more than a dozen weekly newspapers based in Palmer, Massachusetts, United States.

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References

  1. "Town of Palmer, Massachusetts". Town of Palmer, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  2. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  3. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
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  18. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. "The Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce Mission Statement". Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  20. "Palmer School District".