Easthampton MA


Easthampton is a city[1] in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,994 at the 2000 census.

 History

Easthampton was first settled by European immigrants beginning in 1664 and was originally considered part of Northampton. In 1785, the village of Easthampton was formally named its own separate political entity, and twenty-four years later, it officially became a town.

The town grew primarily around the Manhan River, both through its phase as a strictly agricultural community and later, through the industrial revolution, when mills and factories were first built in Easthampton, mainly in connection with textile manufacturing and its offshoots. The first of these, the Williston-Knight Button Company, was established in 1847 by Samuel Williston, son of the town’s first minister, a Congregationalist named Payson Williston. The company specialized in cloth-covered buttons – a coveted item at the time – and to facilitate the operation of the machinery, a local brook was dammed, creating Nashawannuck Pond. Other mills soon opened nearby, a number of them specializing in elastic and rubber thread manufacturing.

Following this spurt of industrial development, the town’s first high school and first national bank opened in 1864, and a town hall was built in 1869. Constables were replaced by the town’s first police officer in 1871, the same year that Easthampton became a regular stop on the railroad. The town’s public library opened in 1881, and fourteen years later, the community was introduced to two new innovations, telephones and streetcars. With the influx of new residents came a number of new churches, founded for Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Methodist parishioners, as well as a second Congregational church. In 1899, the West Boylston Manufacturing Company and the Hampton Company, both specializing in cloth production, moved to Easthampton, recruiting a larger immigrant labor force, particularly from Poland and Canada.

During World War I, the town’s mills all obtained federal wartime contracts and did well financially, but long before the Great Depression hit, many factories owners were already laying off employees, seeking mergers with other companies, or looking for buyers for their facilities.

World War II provided some relief for the Easthampton economy, as several of the older textile companies as well as newer heavy manufacturing corporations received another round of federal contracts. However, beginning in the early 1960s, a number of critical closures hit the town hard, and even the opening of a new industrial park could not entirely offset the damage done.

Small farms and well-established family businesses have helped to keep Easthampton afloat, and especially in the years since the community changed its charter to become a city in 1996, the downtown area has undergone a transformation. A small but growing community of artists and young people has been lured to Easthampton because it offers a lower cost of living than nearby Northampton, long considered the major hub of the off-beat bohemian community in the area. Much of the development around Main Street, Union Street, and Cottage Street is due to the influx and interests of this new demographic. This growth has produced new arts and cultural events such as the monthly Art Walk Easthampton, held each "Second Saturday," in which visual, music and performance artists showcase their talents at venues around the city.

Demographics

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 15,994 people, 6,854 households, and 4,167 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,192.1 people per square mile (460.2/km²). There were 7,083 housing units at an average density of 527.9/sq mi (203.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.41% White, 0.64% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.72% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.13% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.10% of the population.

There were 6,854 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,185, and the median income for a family was $54,312. Males had a median income of $36,446 versus $28,756 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,922. About 5.9% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.0% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Easthampton was first established in 1785 as a town, with a Board of Selectmen acting as the executive and a Town Meeting form of legislature. Local voters enacted their newest charter in July 1996, establishing a city form of governance while retaining the name "Town" in its official name. Michael Tautznik was elected the first mayor of Easthampton in September 1996, after a charter was passed making the mayor the chief executive officer. The Town Council replaced Town Meeting as the legislative branch and consists of four at-large members and five district councilors. In 1999 the mayor and council petitioned the General Court to remove the word "town" from its name and to replace the word town with city[citation needed].

Notable residents

 Points of interest

View of Mount Tom from the center of Easthampton

Easthampton, though less of a tourist attraction than its neighbor Northampton, has a number of points of interest.

The Mount Tom State Reservation extends into parts of the city, and many local residents hike up to enjoy the view of the Pioneer Valley from the rock ledges. Mount Tom, 1202 feet (363 m), is the highest traprock peak on the Metacomet Ridge, a linear mountain range that extends from Long Island Sound to the Vermont border. Mount Tom is characterized by its high cliffs, sweeping vistas, and microclimate ecosystems. The 110-mile (180 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail traverses the mountain.

The Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, is also split between Easthampton and neighboring Northampton. Recently, the Manhan Rail Trail bicycle path was built over an old railroad line, and there are plans to connect the path to others in the area. Also near the Rail Trail and Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary are three conservation areas owned by the local non-profit land trust, Pascommuck Conservation Trust, part of the Trust’s 200 acres (0.81 km2) of holdings in Easthampton.

In and around downtown Easthampton, attractions include:

References

  1. ^ Although it is called the "Town of Easthampton," it is a statutory city of Massachusetts. See Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links

 

 
 
from wikipedia

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