Belchertown MA


Belchertown (previously known as Cold Spring and Belcher’s Town)[1] is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 12,968 at the 2000 census. It is the home of Belchertown High School, the infamous Belchertown State School mental institution (closed in 1992), and Boivin Racing.

Part of the town is part of the census-designated place of Belchertown.

History

In 1716, land was sold by Connecticut residents who resided in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Some of the land was granted to Jonathan Belcher, the future Royal Governor of Massachusetts.[2]

Belchertown was first settled in 1731 and was officially incorporated in 1761. There are stories from early settlers of an angry creature in the sections of forest just south of the state police barracks, he became known as the Cold Spring Wild Man. Some residents of the town believe that he is still real.

In 1816, part of Belchertown was combined with part of the town of Greenwich, Massachusetts to form Enfield, Massachusetts. In 1938, Enfield and Greenwich were two of the four towns that were disincorporated in 1938 to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, and the northwest part of Enfield was merged back into Belchertown.

 Geography and Transportation

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.4 square miles (143.4 km²), of which, 52.7 square miles (136.6 km²) of it is land and 2.6 square miles (6.8 km²) of it (4.77%) is water. Belchertown lies along the western banks of the western branch of the Quabbin Reservoir, with the lands around that water being part of the Quabbin Reservation. The town is hilly north of the town center, the hills forming part of the former Swift River Valley, with most of the rest of the town being relatively slowly sloping plains, spotted with plenty of meadow lands. Along the Swift River, which forms the eastern border of the town, lies the Herman Covey – Swift River Wildlife Management Area. Several other brooks and ponds dot the town’s landscape, with some marshy lands lying along the Broad Brook.

Belchertown lies partially along the Franklin County line to the northeast, and along the Hampden County line to the south. It is bordered by Pelham to the north, New Salem to the northeast, Ware to the east, Palmer to the southeast, Ludlow to the southwest, and Granby and Amherst to the west. The town’s center lies 14 miles (23 km) east-southeast of the county seat of Northampton, 18 miles (29 km) miles northeast of Springfield, 37 miles (60 km) west of Worcester and 77 miles west of Boston. Most of the population is centered around the town center, with most of the town being rural-residential, especially around the smaller ponds near the villages of Dwight and North Station.

The nearest interstate to the town, Interstate 90, runs just south of the town, with exits in Ludlow and Palmer. The exit in Ludlow can be reached along Route 21, which terminates at U.S. Route 202 west of the town common. (Prior to the building of the Quabbin River, Route 21 extended north along North Enfield Road towards the town of Athol.) The Palmer exit can be accessed along Route 181, which links U.S. Route 20 in Palmer and Route 202 in Belchertown, where the latter turns northwards towards Pelham along the edge of the reservoir. The town is also crossed by Route 9, the major east-west route through central Massachusetts, which heads from Ware towards Amherst, passing just north of the town center.

The New England Central Railroad and an abandoned line which once linked to the Massachusetts Central Railroad in Palmer pass through the town. The NECR carries freight on the line, though north of Belchertown it becomes part of the Amtrak Vermonter service between Vermont and the rest of the northeast. There is a private airstrip, Metropolitan Airport, in Palmer, but the nearest national air service can be reached at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

 Demographics

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 12,968 people, 4,886 households, and 3,517 families residing in the town. The population density was 245.9 people per square mile (95.0/km²). There were 5,050 housing units at an average density of 95.8/sq mi (37.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.14% White, 0.81% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 1.57% of the population.

There were 4,886 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,467, and the median income for a family was $60,830. Males had a median income of $39,656 versus $30,909 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,938. About 5.1% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of that age 65 or over.

 Points of interest

 Notable Former Residents

Porter Rockwell the body guard of Mormon figure Joseph Smith was born in Belchertown on June 28, 1812

The novelist, Raymond Kennedy, spent his childhood in Belchertown in the 1930s.

 References

  1. ^ CIS: Unincorporated and Unofficial Names of Massachusetts Communities
  2. ^ http://www.belchertown.org/departments/history/bhistory.htm
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

 External links

 

 
 
from wikipedia

One Response to “Belchertown MA”

  1. gordon says:

    minds@tonal.proviso” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info….

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