Western Massachusetts

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Coordinates: 42°20′N72°50′W / 42.333°N 72.833°W / 42.333; -72.833


WesternMass ma highlight.png
Map showing the area typically considered to make up Western Massachusetts (dark green). Worcester County is usually considered to be in central Massachusetts (light green), although western parts of Worcester County are sometimes considered Western Massachusetts. Map of Massachusetts highlighting Western Counties.svg
Map showing the area typically considered to make up Western Massachusetts (dark green). Worcester County is usually considered to be in central Massachusetts (light green), although western parts of Worcester County are sometimes considered Western Massachusetts.

Western Massachusetts is a region in Massachusetts, one of the six U.S. states that make up the New England region of the United States. Western Massachusetts has diverse topography; 22 colleges and universities, with approximately 100,000 students; [1] [ dead link ] and such institutions as Tanglewood, the Springfield Armory, and Jacob's Pillow.

The western part of Western Massachusetts includes the Berkshire Mountains, where there are several vacation resorts. The eastern part of the region includes the Connecticut River Valley, which has a number of university towns, the major city Springfield, and numerous agricultural hamlets. [2] In the eastern part of the area, the Quabbin region is a place of outdoor recreation. [3]


Native inhabitants

Archeological efforts in the Connecticut River Valley have revealed traces of human life dating back at least 9,000 years. Pocumtuck tradition describes the creation of Lake Hitchcock in Deerfield by a giant beaver, possibly representing the action of a glacier that retracted at least 12,000 years ago. Western Massachusetts was originally settled by Native American societies, including the Pocomtuc, Nonotuck Mohawk, Nipmuck, and Mahican. Various sites indicate millennia of fishing, horticulture, beaver-hunting, and burials. The passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in 1990 ordered museums across Western Mass and the country to repatriate these remains to Native peoples, an ongoing process.

The region was inhabited by several Algonkian-speaking Native American communities, culturally connected but distinguished by the place names they assigned to their respective communities: Agawam (low land), Woronco (in a circular way), Nonotuck (in the midst of the river), Pocumtuck (narrow, swift river), and Sokoki (separated from their neighbors). The modern-day Springfield metropolitan area was inhabited by the Agawam people. [4] The Agawam, as well as other groups, belong to the larger cultural category of Alongkian Indians.

In 1634, a plague, probably smallpox, reduced the Native American population of the Connecticut River Valley to a tiny percentage of its previous size. Governor Bradford of Massachusetts writes that in Windsor, notably the site of a trading post, where European diseases often spread to Native populations, "of 1,000 of [the Indians] 150 of them died." With so many dead, British colonists were emboldened to attempt significant settlement of the region. [5]

Colonial and early Federal period

The first European explorers to reach Western Massachusetts were English Puritans, who in 1635, at the request of William Pynchon, settled the land that they considered most advantageous for both agriculture and trading - in modern Agawam, adjacent to modern Metro Center, Springfield. In 1636, a group of English settlers—lured by the promise of a "great river" and the northeast's most fertile farmland—ventured to Springfield, where they established a permanent colony. Originally, this settlement was called Agawam Plantation, and administered by the Connecticut Colony. (Springfield lies only 4 miles north of Connecticut; however, Agawam included lands as far south as Windsor Locks, as far north as Holyoke, and as far west as Westfield. [6] ) In 1640, Springfield voted to separate from the Connecticut Colony following a series of contentious incidents, and after a brief period of independence, decided to align with the coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony, shaping the region's political boundaries. The Massachusetts Bay Colony settled at the Connecticut River Valley's most fertile land - stretching from Windsor, Connecticut, (once part of Springfield,) to Northampton, Massachusetts - from 1636 to 1654.

For the next several decades, Native people experienced a complex relationship with European settlers. The fur trade stood at the heart of their economic interactions, a lucrative business that guided many other policy decisions. White settlers traded wampum, cloth and metal in exchange for furs, as well as horticultural produce. Because of the seasonal nature of goods provided by Native people, compared with the constant availability of English ones, a credit system developed. Land, the natural resource whose availability did not fluctuate, served as collateral for mortgages in which Native people bought English goods in exchange for the future promise of beavers. However, trade with the English made pelts so lucrative that the beaver was rapidly overhunted. The volume of the trade fell, from a 1654 high of 3723 pelts to a mere 191 ten years later. With every mortgage, Native people lost more land, although their population recovered and expanded from the old plague. [7]

In a process that Lisa Brooks calls “the deed game,” [8] the English took more land from Native people through debt, alcohol, and other methods. Native people began to construct and gather in palisaded “forts” - structures that were not necessary beforehand. These sites were excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries by anthropologists who took cultural objects and human remains and displayed them for years in area museums. With the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in 1990, a long process of repatriation began.

Some individuals became deeply enmeshed in colonial life, even becoming employed by white households. However, there was a simultaneous effort by the English to enforce social division, including bans on interracial marriage, English habitation among Indians, and Native presence in English towns during nighttime hours.

In 1662, the leader of the Eastern Massachusetts Wampanoag Indian tribe, Wamsutta, died shortly after being questioned at gunpoint by Plymouth colonists. This came after years of English settlers encroaching upon Native land and decimating the native population with European diseases. Wamsutta's brother, Chief Metacomet (known to inhabitants of Springfield as "Philip,") began a struggle against the English known as "King Philip's War" which spread across the region. As the conflict grew in its initial months, the English in Western Massachusetts were deeply concerned with maintaining the loyalty of “their Indians.” [9] The Agawams cooperated, even providing valuable intelligence to the English.

In August 1675, English soldiers in Hadley demanded the disarming of a “fort” of Nonotuck Indians. Unwilling to relinquish their weapons, they left on the night of August 25. A hundred English soldiers pursued them, catching up to them at the foot of Sugarloaf Hill, which was a sacred space for the Nonotucks called the Great Beaver. The English attacked, but the Nonotucks forced them to withdraw and were able to keep moving. [10] The shedding of Native blood on sacred land was an attack on their entire kinship network, and caused Native peoples in Western Massachusetts to join the war.

Following the war, the greater part of the Native American population left Western Massachusetts behind. [11] Many refugees of the war joined the Wabanaki in the north, where their descendants remain today. Native American influence remains evident in the land and culture of Western Massachusetts, from the practice of tobacco farming to the names of cities and rivers [12]

In 1777, George Washington and Henry Knox selected Springfield for the site of the fledgling United States' National Armory. Built atop a high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River, Washington and Knox agreed that Springfield provided an ideal location—beside a great river and at the confluence of major rivers and highways. For the following 200 years, the Springfield Armory would bring concentrated prosperity and innovation to Springfield and its surrounding towns.

After the American Revolution, a rebellion led by Daniel Shays culminated in a battle at the National Armory in Springfield.


Berkshire Mountains

The Berkshires have long been patronized by artists (e.g. Herman Melville, who wrote Moby-Dick while living in Pittsfield; Edith Wharton, who wrote The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome while living in Lenox; and Norman Rockwell, many of whose painting were based on scenes that he observed in the town of Stockbridge. Cultural institutions include Lenox's Tanglewood, Becket's Jacob's Pillow, and Stockbridge's Norman Rockwell Museum, as well the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The city of Pittsfield is the largest community located in the Berkshires.

Connecticut River Valley

New England's largest river, the Connecticut, flows through the center of its agricultural valley. Nearly bisected by the American east coast's only east-west mountain ranges (the Holyoke Range and the Mount Tom Range), this relatively small area contains a number of college towns, urban environments, and rural hamlets. The portion of this valley in Massachusetts is also commonly referred to as the Pioneer Valley.

At its southern tip, the Springfield-Hartford region is home to 29 colleges and universities and over 160,000 university students—the United States' second highest concentration of higher learning institutions after the Boston metropolitan area. [13] [ better source needed ]

Innovations originating in the valley include the sports of basketball (James Naismith, 1895) and volleyball (William Morgan, 1895); the first American automobile (Duryea, 1893); the first motorcycle company (Indian, 1901); the first use of interchangeable parts in manufacturing (Thomas Blanchard, 1825); and the first commercial radio station, (WBZ, 1920, from Springfield's Kimball Hotel).

Significant Massachusetts towns and cities in the valley's so-called "Knowledge Corridor" include Northampton, Amherst, Easthampton, Holyoke, Chicopee, West Springfield, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Agawam, and Westfield.

The Hilltowns

The Hilltowns include the areas of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties west of and above the escarpment bordering the ancient rift valley through which the Connecticut River flows. Elevations increase from about 200 feet (60 meters) to at least 1,000 feet in the escarpment zone. On top, elevations rise gradually to the west. Williamsburg in Hampshire County and Becket in Berkshire County are prominent Hilltowns. Generally, the Hilltowns west of the Connecticut River Valley were less attractive for agricultural uses, which resulted in later migration there than, for example, the fertile Connecticut River Valley. Subsistence farming predominated in this area.

The 1,000 foot (300 meter) elevation difference between uplands and the Connecticut River Valley produced streams and rivers with gradients around 40′/mile (8 meters/km) flowing through steep-sided valleys, notably the Westfield and Deerfield Rivers and their larger tributaries. Mills were built to exploit the kinetic energy of falling water and mill towns grew up around them, or company towns integrating production, residential and commercial activities.

The development of steam engines to free industrialization from reliance on water power brought about the so-called Second Industrial Revolution when railroads were built along the rivers to take advantage of relatively gentle grades over the Appalachians. And so as hilltop farming towns declined in importance, industrial towns in the river valleys rose to local prominence.

The Quabbin and Quaboag Regions

In northern Massachusetts, the higher altitude area to the east of the Connecticut River Valley is known as the North Quabbin region. These northern municipalities include Warwick, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Wendell, New Salem, and Athol near the New Hampshire border.

The South Quabbin region (formerly the Swift River Valley) includes the towns of Barre, Belchertown, Pelham, Ware, Hardwick, Leverett, and Shutesbury. This area once included the four "Lost Towns" of Enfield, Dana, Greenwich, and Prescott, which were destroyed to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir.

Farther south, the area called the Quaboag Hills includes Hampden, Monson, Wales, Warren, Holland, and Wilbraham on the Connecticut border. Numerous other towns stretching east towards Worcester are sometimes included in the Quaboag Valley region.

Geology is similar to the Hilltown-Berkshire uplands with resistant metamorphic rocks overlain by thin and rocky soil. With less relief, the river valleys are less pronounced, but still moderately high gradient. The Quaboag Hills and Valley, the Quabbin Regions, and populated places stretching east towards Worcester are all locally known as "Hill Towns"; a term interchangeable with the Hill Towns west of the Pioneer Valley.


The mountain range in Berkshire County at the western end of Massachusetts is conventionally known as the "Berkshires". Geologically, however, the Berkshires are a westward continuation of uplands west of the Connecticut River and a southern extension of Vermont's Green Mountains.

The Hilltown-Berkshire upland ends at the valley of the Housatonic River which flows south to Long Island Sound, and in the extreme north west of Massachusetts at the Hoosic River, a tributary of the Hudson. From these valleys, uplands to the east appear as a rounded mountain range, rising some 1,600 feet (500 meters) although they are actually a plateau. West of the Housatonic-Hoosic valley system rises the narrower Taconic Range along the New York border. Upper tributaries of the Hoosic separate Massachusetts' highest peak, Mount Greylock 3,491′ (1,064 meters) from both ranges, however Greylock's geology connects it with the Taconics.

Most of this region is a rolling upland of schist, gneiss and other resistant metamorphics with intrusions of pegmatite and granite. Scraping by continental glaciers during the Pleistocene left thin, rocky soil that supported hardscrabble subsistence farming before the Industrial Revolution. There was hardly a land rush into such marginal land, but the uplands were slowly settled by farmers throughout most of the 18th century and organized into townships. Then in the early 1800s better land opened up in Western New York and the Northwest Territory. The hilltown agricultural population went into a long decline and fields began reverting to forest.

The Connecticut River Valley is an ancient downfaulted graben or rift valley that formed during the Mesozoic Era when rifting developed in the Pangaea supercontinent to separate North America from Europe and South America from Africa. Secondary rifts branched off the main crustal fracture, and this one was eventually occupied by the Connecticut River. The Metacomet Ridge is a series of narrow traprock ridges where lava penetrated this rift zone, beginning at the northern end of the graben near Greenfield and extending south across Massachusetts and Connecticut to Long Island Sound. Fossil dinosaur footprints in Holyoke attest to the life present in this region during the Mesozoic.

As continental glaciers receded near the end of the last glacial period, a moraine at Rocky Hill, Connecticut dammed the river to create Lake Hitchcock, extending northward some 200 miles (320 km) inundating places such as Springfield, Agawam, and West Springfield, while certain highlands remained above water, (i.e. sections of Holyoke).

Accumulation of fine sediments during the era of Lake Hitchcock accounts for this region's exceptionally rich agricultural soil, which attracted settlers as early as 1635. Although the Connecticut River Valley's soil is the richest in New England, many of its fields have been covered by urban and suburban development. Regardless, the valley remains New England's most productive farmland. Tobacco, tomatoes, sweet corn, and other vegetables are still produced there in commercial quantities.


Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties, in the year 2000 collectively had 814,967 residents, a population greater than that of any one of the six smallest U.S. states. The population amounted to approximately 12.84% of the 2000 population of the entire state of Massachusetts, which was 6,349,097. [14] Its average population density is 293.07 inhabitants per square mile (113.16/km2), compared to 422.34/km2 (1,093.87/sq mi) for the rest of Massachusetts, and 312.68/km2 (809.83/sq mi) for the state as a whole.

Western Massachusetts' population is concentrated in the cities and suburbs along the Connecticut River in an urban axis surrounding Springfield that is contiguous with greater Hartford, Connecticut (i.e. the Knowledge Corridor.) A secondary population concentration exists in the Housatonic-Hoosic valley due to the industrial heritage of Pittsfield and North Adams, and the development of tourism throughout that valley. This far-western zone is linked to New York City and Albany, New York more than with the rest of Massachusetts, however both populated zones are ultimately part of the Northeast megalopolis. The rest of Western Massachusetts is lightly populated, particularly the Hilltowns where densities below 50 persons per square mile (20 per km2) are the rule.

In descending order of size, its largest communities are: Springfield, Chicopee, Pittsfield, Westfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Agawam, West Springfield, Amherst Center (CDP), Easthampton, Longmeadow (CDP), East Longmeadow, North Adams, and Greenfield (CDP).


Western Massachusetts has been compared as a microcosm of the rest of the United States. [15] The third largest city in Massachusetts, Springfield is situated in the region, and it has struggled financially coming close to bankruptcy at the beginning of the 21st century. [16] The unemployment rate in the area lags behind that of Eastern Massachusetts by double [17] [18] though officials have pushed for ways to lure more longer term business growth into the region to tap the abundance of students being turned out by colleges and universities in the area. [19] To combat the higher cost of telecommunications which were roughly double that of Eastern Massachusetts, the government of the Commonwealth invested $45.4 Million in building out a broadband network using Federal grant under the 'Massachusetts Technology Park - MassBroadband 123' initiative, [20] funds which were matched by $45 million in federal investment. [21] The 1,200 mile 'middle mile' project was completed in early 2014, [22] connecting public institutions throughout central and western Massachusetts, but also providing a fiber-optic backbone to allow for further expansion in these regions. Building off of that project, the Commonwealth launched a 'Last Mile' initiative targeting 54 communities that were unserved or under-served by broadband. That program has invested in municipal fiber-to-the-home networks, [23] which are also supported by municipal bonds; private provider projects; [24] and advanced wireless projects [25] to connect homes and businesses in these communities. Small, rural towns such as Mount Washington, Mass., now have access to internet speeds that reach 500 megabit per second (Mbps) symmetrical service. [26] In recent years there has been a push for adding high-speed rail from Western Massachusetts for Eastern Massachusetts. [27] [28] The residents of Western Massachusetts have vibrant culture in and support the local mix of arts, tourism, and culture. [29]


The decline of manufacturing as the region's economic engine since World War II—and in particular, since the controversial closing of the Springfield Armory—was counterbalanced in Western Massachusetts by growth in post-secondary education and healthcare.

This created new jobs, land development, and had gentrifying effects in many college towns. State and community-funded schools (e.g., University of Massachusetts Amherst and Westfield State University) were conspicuous in their growth, as were the region's highly regarded liberal arts colleges, including Williams founded 1793, Amherst founded 1821, Mount Holyoke founded 1837, Smith founded 1871, and American International founded 1885.

Despite the gains in higher ed, the region has sought to obtain equitable share of the state's education budget to place into local primary education as well. Several communities in Western Mass have fought to have changes made the Chapter 70 structure which the state presently uses to allocate education funding to cities and towns. [30]

Colleges and universities

Government and politics

Western Massachusetts used to be the Republican stronghold in an otherwise heavily Democratic state, but it is now consistently viewed by political analysts as one of the most politically liberal regions in the United States. In 2006 and 2010, the region voted heavily in favor of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick.

In Crash!ng the Party, Ralph Nader includes Western Massachusetts as one of the few places in the country where he believes small-town spirit is still strong. In a 2010 editorial, the Boston Globe berated communities in northern Western Massachusetts for resisting efforts to force consolidation of local school districts. [31] In response, the Franklin County School Committee Caucus released a map that overlaid the county north-to-south over Metro Boston. The overlay reached from Rhode Island in the south to New Hampshire in the north and Framingham in the west.

In 2008 the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts opened a local office in Western Massachusetts.


The western portion of Massachusetts consists approximately of the four counties of Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Berkshire. This set of four counties is sometimes regarded as defining Western Massachusetts; for example, the Western Massachusetts Office of the Governor serves residents of these counties. Towns at the western edge of Worcester County, especially those near the Quabbin Reservoir, may be considered to be in western Massachusetts for some purposes; for example, two Worcester County towns have telephone numbers in western Massachusetts's area code 413.

Hampden County, with over half of the population of western Massachusetts, includes the City of Springfield; to the north, Hampshire County contains the college towns of Northampton, Amherst and South Hadley; further north, rural Franklin County borders Vermont and New Hampshire; to the west is Berkshire County, bordering New York, Vermont and Connecticut and the other three counties.

After a number of county governments were eliminated in Massachusetts in the late 1990s (including Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, Berkshire and Worcester), most county functions were assigned to the state government. The municipalities of Franklin and Hampshire counties then organized two voluntary county-oriented "regional councils of government".

Attitude towards Eastern Massachusetts/Boston

Some residents of Western Massachusetts are critical towards Boston, the state's capital and largest city. This group believes that the Massachusetts legislative and executive branches know little of and care little about Western Massachusetts, which comprises 20% of the total population of the state. [32] Among the incidents that have created this feeling:

Long a haven for small, independent businesses, Western Massachusetts has expressed conflicted feelings towards big box corporations, leading to controversies about zoning changes and variances that would allow companies such as Wal-Mart to build in Western Massachusetts towns. The debate has been particularly strong in northern towns; for example, in Greenfield, Massachusetts and Hadley, Massachusetts. [37]



U.S. Routes

State highways

Bridges and tunnels


Nearby airports in other states

Rail and bus

The Hartford Line provides regular commuter rail service between Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven, with tentative plans to increase service frequency and provide additional stops Hartford Line locomotive at New Haven Union Station, September 2018.JPG
The Hartford Line provides regular commuter rail service between Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven, with tentative plans to increase service frequency and provide additional stops

The New Haven–Springfield Line was upgraded in conjunction with the launch of the Hartford Line service. The project received funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Federal Government, and the State of Connecticut. Amtrak trains on the route between New Haven and Springfield reach speeds of 110 mph (177 km/h).

The following Regional Transit Authorities operate in Western Massachusetts:

Leisure activities and places of historical interest

Outdoor recreation

See also


  1. "Colleges and Universities in Western Massachusetts". Gonewengland.about.com. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  2. "Western Massachusetts | Western MA | Things to Do in Western Mass". Massvacation.com. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  3. "Quabbin Reservoir Fishing Guide". Mass.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-07.
  5. Wright, Henry Andrew (1949). The Story of Western Massachusetts.
  6. Wayne Phaneuf. "375 years of changing business and work landscape help define Springfield". MassLive.com. The Republican. Springfield, Mass. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  7. Thomas, Peter. "Chapter 1: Into the Maelstrom of Change". In Buckley, Kerry (ed.). A Place Called Paradise. ISBN   1-55849-485-5.
  8. Brooks, Lisa (2018). Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. Yale University Press. ISBN   978-0-300-19673-3.
  9. Pynchon, John (19 August 1675). "Cherackuson". Letter to John Winthrop Jr.
  10. Barrows, Charles (1911). The Story of Springfield in Massachusetts for the Young. The Connecticut Valley Historical Society.
  11. Wright, Henry Andrew (1905). Indian Deeds of Hampden County. Lewis Historical Publishing Party Inc.
  12. "Conflict and Cooperation among the First Peoples and European Settlers". Our Plural History. Springfield Technical Community College.
  13. "Articles that mention Knowledge Corridor". Hartford Springfield News. Archived from the original on 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  14. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  15. What's It Worth To Move To Western Mass.? Maybe $10,000
  16. This Small New England City Was on the Verge of Bankruptcy. Now It’s a Turnaround Success Story.
  17. 'Most of the growth is to the east': Springfield gains jobs, but unemployment rate stays well above Worcester and Boston
  18. Economy in Springfield, Massachusetts
  19. Business 2018: Valley’s economy is riding high, experts more optimistic than they’ve been in years
  20. Federal government grants to expand broadband Internet access in Western Massachusetts, Broadband USA.
  21. "Construction, Turnover Complete on New 1,200 Mile Fiber Backbone for Western and Central Massachusetts". broadband.masstech.org (MBI). Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  22. Demers, Phil; Staff, Berkshire Eagle. "Massachusetts Broadband Institute announces completion of rural high-speed network". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  23. "'Last Mile' broadband project update for small towns in western Mass". WWLP. 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  24. Serreze, Mary (2018-09-07). "Officials celebrate Comcast broadband expansion in 9 rural Western Massachusetts towns". MassLive. The Republican. Springfield, Mass. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  25. Parnass, Larry. "Savoy, Florida back wireless route to last-mile internet". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  26. "Little engine that could: Mount Washington flips switch on fiber". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  27. East-west rail gains headway in western Mass.
  28. MA: MassDOT: East-West rail ridership could be 4 times greater than expected, but project out of reach without federal help - Jim Kinney, June 11th, 2020
  29. "Western Mass. 'Hilltowns' look for a foothold"
  30. School funding overhaul requires a much larger state commitment
  31. "School Board Districts at the Elementary School Level". 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  32. Mazarakis, James (September 20, 2016). "Bridging the divide between eastern and western Massachusetts". Op/Ed. Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  33. Springfield Panel (PDF), Urban Land Institute, 24–29 September 2006
  34. "Northampton Special Election". Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15.
  35. Phillips, Frank (21 December 2001). "Hampshire district's empty seat suits speaker". The Boston Globe.
  36. "Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of and Abolishment of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  37. "Wal-Mart Watch - Greenfield, MA stops Wal-Mart rezoning". Making Change at Walmart. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008.
  38. Yonkunas, Rachel (December 27, 2018). "State leaders are hoping to expand state rail service beyond Springfield". WFSB Eyewitness News 3.

General references

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.

Hampshire County, Massachusetts Historical and judicial county in Massachusetts

Hampshire County is a historical and judicial county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Following the dissolution of the county government in 1999, county affairs were managed by the Hampshire Council of Governments, which itself ceased operations in 2019, due to a "fundamentally flawed, unsustainable operational model". As of the 2010 census, the population was 158,080. Its most populous municipality is Amherst, its largest town in terms of landmass is Belchertown, and its traditional county seat is Northampton. The county is named after the county Hampshire, in England.

New Marlborough, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

New Marlborough is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,509 at the 2010 census. New Marlborough consists of five villages: Clayton, Hartsville, Mill River, New Marlborough Village and Southfield.

Westfield, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Westfield is a city in Hampden County, in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, United States. Westfield was first settled in 1660. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 41,094 at the 2010 census.

Pioneer Valley Massachusetts portion of the Connecticut River Valley, US

The Pioneer Valley is the colloquial and promotional name for the portion of the Connecticut River Valley that is in Massachusetts in the United States. It is generally taken to comprise the three counties of Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin. The lower Pioneer Valley corresponds to the Springfield, Massachusetts metropolitan area, the region's urban center, and the seat of Hampden County. The upper Pioneer Valley region includes the smaller cities of Northampton and Greenfield, the county seats of Hampshire and Franklin counties, respectively.

Connecticut River River in the New England region of the United States

The Connecticut River is the longest river in the New England region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for 406 miles (653 km) through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with Quebec, Canada, and discharges at Long Island Sound. Its watershed encompasses 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2), covering parts of five U.S. states and one Canadian province, via 148 tributaries, 38 of which are major rivers. It produces 70% of Long Island Sound's fresh water, discharging at 18,400 cubic feet (520 m3) per second.

West Springfield, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

West Springfield is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 28,391 at the 2010 census. The city is also known as "West Side", in reference to the fact that it is on the western side of the Connecticut River from Springfield, a fact which played a major part in the town's early history.


The Berkshires are a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and northwest Connecticut. The term "Berkshires" is normally used by locals in reference to the portion of the Vermont-based Green Mountains that extend south into western Massachusetts; the portion extending further south into northwestern Connecticut is grouped with the Connecticut portion of the Taconic Mountains and referred to as either the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills.

Quabbin Reservoir Massachusetts reservoir which serves the Boston area

The Quabbin Reservoir is the largest inland body of water in Massachusetts, and was built between 1930 and 1939. Today, along with the Wachusett Reservoir, it is the primary water supply for Boston, some 65 miles (105 km) to the east as well as 40 other communities in Greater Boston. It also supplies water to three towns west of the reservoir and acts as backup supply for three others. By 1989, it supplied water for 2.5 million people, which was about 40% of the state's population at the time. It has an aggregate capacity of 412 billion US gallons (1,560 GL) and an area of 38.6 square miles (99.9 km2).

Route 9 is a 135.310-mile-long (217.760 km) major east–west state highway in Massachusetts. Along with U.S. Route 20, Route 2, and Interstate 90, Route 9 is one of the major east–west routes of Massachusetts, and like the others its eastern terminus is in Boston. Starting at Copley Square and passing along Huntington Avenue, Route 9 is a limited access route through the MetroWest suburbs to Worcester, and is also a major alternative to the Pike's toll road west of the city. After passing along major city streets in Worcester, the road becomes a country route, passing through the central Worcester Hills, the Pioneer Valley, and the city of Northampton, and into The Berkshires. The road ends near the center of the city of Pittsfield.

William Pynchon

William Pynchon was an English colonist and fur trader in North America best known as the founder of Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. He was also a colonial treasurer, original patentee of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the iconoclastic author of the New World's first banned book. An original settler of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Pynchon became dissatisfied with that town's notoriously rocky soil and in 1635, led the initial settlement expedition to Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, where he found exceptionally fertile soil and a fine spot for conducting trade. In 1636, he returned to officially purchase its land, then known as "Agawam." In 1640, Springfield was officially renamed after Pynchon's home village, now a suburb of Chelmsford in Essex, England — due to Pynchon's grace following a dispute with Hartford, Connecticut's Captain John Mason over, essentially, whether to treat local natives as friends or enemies. Pynchon was a man of peace and also very business-minded — thus he advocated for friendship with the region's natives as a means of ensuring the continued trade of goods. Pynchon's stance led to Springfield aligning with the faraway government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony rather than that of the closer Connecticut Colony.

Pocomtuc Extinct Native American tribe previously inhabiting what is now Massachusetts.

The Pocumtuc or Deerfield Indians are a prominent Native American tribe originally inhabiting western areas of what is now Massachusetts, especially around the confluence of the Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers in today's Franklin County. Their territory also included much of current-day Hampden and Hampshire Counties, plus areas now in northern Connecticut and southern Vermont. Their principal village, also known as Pocumtuck, was in the vicinity of the present day village of Deerfield. Their language, now extinct, was an R-dialect of the Algonquian language family, most likely related to the Wappinger and nearby Mahican tribes of the Hudson River Valley.

Area code 413 Telephone area code in western Massachusetts, United States

Area code 413 is a telephone area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for the western third of Massachusetts. It is the largest numbering plan area in the Commonwealth, and extends from the New York state line eastward into Worcester County, while excluding the Franklin County towns of Orange, New Salem, Warwick, and Wendell, which use the overlay of area codes 978 and 351. The most-populous city of area code 413 is Springfield. 413 also includes Great Barrington, Greenfield, North Adams, Northampton and Pittsfield.

Geography of Massachusetts Overview of the geography of Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the 7th smallest state in the United States with an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km2). It is bordered to the north by New Hampshire and Vermont, to the west by New York, to the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is the most populous New England state.

Metacomet-Monadnock Trail

The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail is a 114-mile-long (183 km) hiking trail that traverses the Metacomet Ridge of the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts and the central uplands of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Although less than 70 miles (110 km) from Boston and other large population centers, the trail is considered remarkably rural and scenic and includes many areas of unique ecologic, historic, and geologic interest. Notable features include waterfalls, dramatic cliff faces, exposed mountain summits, woodlands, swamps, lakes, river floodplain, farmland, significant historic sites, and the summits of Mount Monadnock, Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke. The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail is maintained largely through the efforts of the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). Much of the trail is a portion of the New England National Scenic Trail.

Holyoke Range Mountain range in Massachusetts, US

The Holyoke Range or Mount Holyoke Range is a traprock mountain range located in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. It is a sub-range of the narrow, linear Metacomet Ridge that extends from Long Island Sound near New Haven, Connecticut north through the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts to the Vermont border. A popular hiking destination, the range is known for its anomalous east–west orientation, high ledges and its scenic character. It is also notable for its unique microclimate ecosystems and rare plant communities, as well as significant historic sites, such as the Mount Holyoke Summit House and the Horse Caves.

Springfield metropolitan area, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area in Massachusetts, United States

The Springfield metropolitan area, also known as Greater Springfield, is a region that is socio-economically and culturally tied to the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the Springfield, MA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as consisting of three counties in Western Massachusetts. As of July 1, 2018, the metropolitan area's population was estimated at 631,982. Following the 2010 Census, there have been discussions about combining the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, into a greater Hartford–Springfield area, due to the region's economic interdependence and close geographic proximity. Historically the Census has also identified the region as "Springfield–Chicopee–Holyoke, Mass.–Conn." as those cities were the area's population centers as recently as 1980; since that time the population has become further distributed, including new growth in Amherst, Westfield, and West Springfield, as well as Northern Connecticut. Greater Springfield is one of two combined statistical areas in Massachusetts, the other being Greater Boston.

Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts

Metro Center is the original colonial settlement of Springfield, Massachusetts, located beside a bend in the Connecticut River. As of 2019, Metro Center features a majority of Western Massachusetts' most important cultural, business, and civic venues. Metro Center includes Springfield's Central Business District, its Club Quarter, its government center, its convention headquarters, and in recent years, it has become an increasingly popular residential district, especially among young professionals, empty-nesters, and creative types, with a population of approximately 7,000 (2010.)

History of Springfield, Massachusetts Aspect of history

Springfield, Massachusetts, was founded in 1636 as Agawam Plantation, after a nearby village of Algonkian-speaking Native Americans. It was the northernmost settlement of the Connecticut Colony. The settlement defected from Connecticut after four years, however, later joining forces with the coastal Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town changed its name to Springfield, and changed the political boundaries among what later became New England states. The history of Springfield, Massachusetts springs in large part from its favorable geography, situated on a steep bluff overlooking the Connecticut River's confluence with three tributaries. It was a Native American crossroad for two major trade routes: Boston-to-Albany and New York City-to-Montreal. Springfield also sits on some of the northeastern United States' most fertile soil.

Holyoke Street Railway

The Holyoke Street Railway (HSR) was an interurban streetcar and bus system operating in Holyoke, Massachusetts as well as surrounding communities with connections in Amherst, Belchertown, Chicopee, Easthampton, Granby, Northampton, Pelham, South Hadley, Sunderland, Westfield, and West Springfield. Throughout its history the railway system shaped the cultural institutions of Mount Tom, being operator of the mountain's famous summit houses, one of which hosted President McKinley, the Mount Tom Railroad, and the trolley park at the opposite end of this funicular line, Mountain Park.