Hadley MA

Hadley is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 4,793 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Hadley was first settled in 1659 and was officially incorporated in 1661. Its settlers were primarily a discontented group of families from the puritan colonies of Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut, who petitioned to start a new colony up north after some controversy over doctrine in the local church. At the time, Hadley encompassed a wide radius of land on both sides of the Connecticut River, but mostly on the eastern shore. In the following century, these were broken off into precincts and eventually the separate towns of Hatfield, Amherst, South Hadley, Granby and Belchertown. The early histories of these towns are, as a result, filed under the history of Hadley.

Edward Whalley and General William Goffe, two Puritan generals hunted for their role in the execution (or "regicide") of Charles I of England, were hidden[1] in the home of the town’s minister, John Russell. During King Philip’s War, an attack by Native Americans was, by some accounts, thwarted with the aid of General Goffe. This event, compounded by the reluctance of the townsfolk to betray Goffe’s location, developed into the legend of the Angel of Hadley, which came to be included in the historical manuscript "History of Hadley" by Sylvester Judd.[1]

In 1683, eleven years before the Salem Witch Trials, Molly Webster[2] was accused and acquitted of witchcraft charges. She was unsuccessfully hanged by rowdy town folk. A description is given in Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana.

The Civil War general Joseph Hooker was a longtime resident of Hadley. Levi Stockbridge, founder of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now University of Massachusetts, Amherst), was also from Hadley where he was a farmer.


Hadley’s transformation from an old agricultural order to the new form is the direct result of expansion of the nearby University of Massachusetts Amherst during the 1960s. Much of its former farmland was swallowed in the housing market stimulated by incoming faculty and off-campus students. Route 116 was redirected in an attempt to solve traffic congestion. The central Route 9 became a hotpoint for commercial development, and large corporations such as Stop & Shop and McDonald’s moved in. To this day, the Hadley economy is a mixture of agriculture and sprawl. Recently announced development includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a Home Depot and a Lowe’s, plus more than a dozen other stores. These stores cut from through a bison farm, angering some. Residents recently passed a limit on retail store size at 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2), but it will not affect these large projects. In 2003, an organization called Hadley Neighbors for Sensible Development[2] was formed that has opposed continued large scale commercial development in Hadley by emphasizing the down side of such growth. However many local residents support commercial development and about 1,000 people signed a petition asking for a new Wal-Mart saying it would save them money on their groceries.[3]

The World Monuments Fund listed the "Cultural Landscape of Hadley, Massachusetts" on the 2010 World Monuments Watch List of Most Endangered Sites.

Watch listing seeks to raise awareness about this rare survivor of 17th-century agriculture, promote visitation, and engage the local community in its stewardship.

—World Monuments Fund, [4]

The landscape of Hadley is largely open-field farming, which was only used in the earliest New England settlements and had mostly disappeared by the 18th century; it’s survival in Hadley on such a large scale is unique. According to the World Monument Fund 165 acres are zoned for residential and commercial use, providing no long-term protection for the historic landscape.[4]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 24.7 square miles (64.0 km²), of which, 23.3 square miles (60.4 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.7 km²) of it (5.74%) is water. Hadley is bordered by Northampton to the west, Hatfield to the northwest, Sunderland to the north, Amherst to the east, and South Hadley to the south. The Mt. Holyoke range is found in Hadley, and his one of the only two mountain ranges is the U.S to go east to west.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 4,793 people, 1,895 households, and 1,248 families residing in the town. The population density was 205.7 people per square mile (79.4/km²). There were 1,953 housing units at an average density of 83.8/sq mi (32.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.91% White, 0.75% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.58% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

There were 1,895 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% 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 2.90.

The population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $51,851, and the median income for a family was $61,897. Males had a median income of $44,773 versus $34,189 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,945. About 4.8% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.6% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.


Hadley is governed by open Town Meeting, a form of government most common to New England. The Board of Selectmen consists of five members and is elected annually on the second Tuesday in April. There is a Town Administrator as well. The Town Meeting takes place the first Thursday in May.

 Points of interest

 Notable residents

Notes and references

  1. ^ Judd, Sylvester. History of Hadley Including the Early History of Hatfield, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts. H.R. Huntting (1905), pp. 137-39.
  2. ^ Hadley Neighbors for Sensible Development
  3. ^ Wal-Mart plan meets opposition Thursday The Republican May 03, 2007 By DIANE LEDERMAN
  4. ^ a b http://www.wmf.org/project/cultural-landscape-hadley-massachusetts
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ http://www.pphmuseum.org/
  7. ^ http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/skin.htm
  8. ^ http://www.hadleyonline.com/farmmuseum/
  9. ^ http://www.hadleyma.org/history.shtml

 External links


from wikipedia

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