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 universities, with approximately 100,000 university students;[1] 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]

WesternMass ma highlight
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Western Counties
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.

Counties

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".

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 universities and over 160,000 university students—the United States' second highest concentration of higher learning institutions after the Boston metropolitan area.[4]

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.

Geology

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 iduring 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 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.

Geology

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.

Maximum upland elevations increase nearly 1,000' (300 meters) from east to west, and 400' (120 meters) from south to north, so maximum elevations of The Berkshires proper are about 2,000' (600 meters) in the southwest and 2,400' (730 meters) in the northwest. The practical limit of agriculture is somewhat below 2,000' (600 meters). Above this climate and ecology become increasingly boreal with acidic soils.

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.

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 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.

Geology

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.

Demographics

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.[5] 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).

History

Native inhabitants

It is difficult to estimate the origins of human habitation in the Connecticut River Valley, but there are physical signs dating back at least 9,000 years. Pocumtuck tradition describes the creation of Lake Hitchcock in Deerfield by a giant beaver, which perhaps represents the action of a glacier that retracted at least 12,000 years ago. Various sites indicate millennia of fishing, horticulture, beaver-hunting, and burials. Excavations over the last 150 years have taken many human remains from old burial places, sending them to the collections of institutions such as UMASS Amherst. The passage of the Native American Graves 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 Indians.[6] The Agawam, as well as other groups, belong the larger cultural category of Alongkian Indians.

In 1634, a devastating plague, probably smallpox, reduced the Native American population of the Connecticut River Valley a tiny percentage of its previous size. Governor Bradford of Massachusetts writes that in Windsor (notably the site of a trade post, where European diseases often spread to Native populations), "of 1,000 of [the Indians] 150 of them died." With so many dead, "rot[ting] above ground for want of burial," British colonists were emboldened to attempt significant settlement of the region. [7]

Colonial and Early Federal period

Western Massachusetts was originally settled by Native American societies, including the Pocomtuc, Nonotuck Mohawk, Nipmuck, and Mahican. 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.[8]) 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, thereby shaping the region's political boundaries. The Massachusetts Bay Colony settled 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 - even as their population base recovered and expanded from the old sickness.[9]

In a process that Lisa Brooks calls “the deed game,” [10]the English took more land from Native people through debt, alcohol, and other methods. Springfield settler Samuel Marshfield took so much land from the inhabitants of Agawam that they had “little left to plant on,” to the point that the Massachusetts General Court stepped in and forced Marshfield to allocate them 15 acres. Native people began to construct and gather in palisaded “forts” - structures that were not necessary beforehand. The Agawam fort outside of Springfield was on Long Hill, although it is commonly (incorrectly) believed that it stood in a modern-day park called “King Philip’s Stockade.” These sites were excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries by anthropologists, who, as previously noted, took cultural objects and human remains and displayed them for years in area museums. With the passage of the Native American Graves 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.

After years of encroaching upon Indian land and decimating the native population with European diseases, the leader of the Eastern Massachusetts Wampanoag Indian tribe, Wamsutta, died shortly after being questioned at gunpoint by Plymouth colonists. Wamsutta's brother, Chief Metacomet (known to Springfielders as "Philip,") began a struggle against the English which would 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 “our Indians.”[11] 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 in the night of August 25. A hundred English soldiers pursued them, catching up to them at the foot of Sugarloaf Hill, which for the Nonotucks was a sacred space called the Great Beaver. The English attacked, but the Nonotucks forced them to withdraw and were able to keep moving.[12]

The shedding of Native blood on sacred land was an attack on their entire kinship network. The war had spread to Western Massachusetts. The implications of his reality were not lost to John Pynchon. He forced the Agawams of Long Hill to send hostages down to Hartford, in a move that he hoped would prevent the Agawam people from fighting alongside their kin. Barrows, Charles (1911). The Story of Springfield in Massachusetts for the Young. The Connecticut Valley Historical Society. These efforts did not succeed, and Native people nearly forced the abandonment of his city in the Siege of Springfield.

Following the war, the greater part of the Native American population left Western Massachusetts behind, although land deeds between Native people and English continued into the 1680.[13] Many refugees of the war joined the Wabanaki in the north, where their descendants remain today. Some Native groups spent the next several decades moving between the Connecticut River and Canada, including fighting alongside the French during the Seven Years' War (Raid on Deerfield). Oral histories recall Abenaki visitors to Deerfield in the 1830s. [14]. Some Native individuals remained on the outskirts of white towns well into the 20th century, where they were often labelled the "last of" their tribe on their tombstones, even if they had living descendants.[15] 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[16]

In 1777, George Washington and Henry Knox selected Springfield for the site of the fledgling United States' National Armory. Built atop 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—it was also easily defensible, due to its position just beyond the Connecticut's tidal influence. For the following 200 years, the Springfield Armory would bring concentrated prosperity and innovation to Springfield and its surrounding towns. Nait

After the American Revolution, a rebellion led by Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran from East Pelham, culminated in a battle at the National Armory in Springfield. Shays and his followers, the Shaysites, hoped to win government reforms, including the issue of new currency and help for Continental soldiers who had incurred debts while fighting for independence. Shays' Rebellion is often considered the watershed event in the creation of the United States Constitution. Although crushed, this rebellion led Thomas Jefferson to declare that "a little revolution every twenty years or so is a good thing."

Critical attitude toward Boston

More than a few residents of Western Massachusetts take a critical attitude towards Boston, the state's capital and largest city. The belief held by this group is that the Massachusetts legislature and executive branch know little of and care little about Western Massachusetts—over 50% of the land in the state.[17] Among the incidents that fuel this feeling:

  • The dismantling, submerging and disincorporation of four Western Massachusetts towns, Prescott, Enfield, Greenwich (formerly in Hampshire County) and Dana (formerly in Worcester County), to build the Quabbin Reservoir that supplies water to Boston. Also disruption of small towns accompanying flood control projects such as Knightville Reservoir and Cobble Mountain Reservoir, and construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
  • Extreme inequities in additional state assistances per capita for Western Massachusetts cities compared with Eastern Massachusetts cities—for example, in 2006, for every $278.66 Boston received, its neighbor Cambridge received $176.37, Greater Boston's westernmost city, Worcester, received $67.50, and the City of Springfield received a mere $12.04 per person.[18]
  • Former state House Speaker Tom Finneran's use of parliamentary rules to deny Northampton an election to fill a vacant House seat.[19][20]
  • Abolishing of county governance [21] placed formerly local property and employees under the direct administration of the eastern capital. This also affected representation of low-population/large-land rural towns which previously relied on their county seat in budgeting of road maintenance funding.

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.[22]

Politics

Whereas Western Massachusetts was once the Republican stronghold in an otherwise heavily Democratic state, 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, along with Vermont and his home state of Connecticut, 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.[23] 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.

Colleges and universities

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.

Colleges and universities

Tourism sites

Outdoor recreation

See also

References

  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.
  4. ^ "Articles that mention Knowledge Corridor". Hartford Springfield News. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  6. ^ Bruhac, Margaret (May 2007). HISTORICAL ERASURE AND CULTURAL RECOVERY: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY (Thesis).
  7. ^ Wright, Henry Andrew (1949). The Story of Western Massachsetts.
  8. ^ Wayne Phaneuf, The Republican. "375 years of changing business and work landscape help define Springfield". masslive.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  9. ^ Thomas, Peter. "Chapter 1: Into the Maelstrom of Change". In Buckley, Kerry (ed.). A Place Called Paradise. ISBN I-55849-485-5 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help).
  10. ^ Brooks, Lisa (2018). Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-19673-3.
  11. ^ Pynchon, John (19 August 1675). "Cherackuson" (Letter). Letter to John Winthrop Jr.
  12. ^ Barrows, Charles (1911). The Story of Springfield in Massachusetts for the Young. The Connecticut Valley Historical Society.
  13. ^ Wright, Henry Andrew (1905). Indian Deeds of Hampden County. Lewis Historical Publishing Party Inc.
  14. ^ Bruhac, Margaret (May 2007). HISTORICAL ERASURE AND CULTURAL RECOVERY: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THE CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY (Thesis).
  15. ^ Bruhac, Margaret. "Chapter 2: Native Paradise in Nonotuck and Northampton". In Buckley, Kerry (ed.). A Place Called Paradise. ISBN I-55849-485-5 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help).
  16. ^ "Conflict and Cooperation among the First Peoples and European Settlers". Our Plural History. Springfield Technical Community College.
  17. ^ "U.S. Rep. Richard Neal calls for keeping 2 seats for Western Massachusetts in U.S. House of Representatives". masslive.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  18. ^ Springfield Panel (PDF), Urban Land Institute, 24–29 September 2006
  19. ^ "Northampton Special Election". Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15.
  20. ^ Phillips, Frank (21 December 2001). "Hampshire district's empty seat suits speaker". The Boston Globe.
  21. ^ "Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of and Abolishment of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "School Board Districts at the Elementary School Level". 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

External links

Coordinates: 42°20′N 72°50′W / 42.333°N 72.833°W

Central Massachusetts

Central Massachusetts is the geographically central region of Massachusetts. Though definitions vary, most include all of Worcester County and the northwest corner of Middlesex County. Worcester, the largest city in the area and the seat of Worcester County, is often considered the cultural capital of the region. Other populous cities include Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, and arguably Marlborough.

The region is mostly wooded and hilly upland, in contrast to the Atlantic coastal plain to the east and the Connecticut River valley lowland to the west. The geographic center of Massachusetts is located in the town of Rutland.

The term is seldom used in eastern Massachusetts, where Worcester and points west are instead regarded as part of Western Mass.

Although residents of eastern Massachusetts don't use the term, residents of central Massachusetts strongly identify with the term central Massachusetts and do not identify with western Massachusetts. Likewise, residents of western Massachusetts do not consider Worcester county (central Massachusetts) to be part of western Massachusetts. Residents of central and western Massachusetts understand the differences in their communities and prefer the distinction. However, it is common for people in eastern Massachusetts to lump the communities together, in a sense, using the term western Massachusetts to describe the locations to the west of Greater Boston.

Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Public Radio is a network of public radio stations in the state of Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and eastern Long Island affiliated with NPR (National Public Radio). It is owned by Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, which also owns Connecticut Public Television.

The radio network airs primarily news and talk from NPR and brands itself on-air as "WNPR." It is headquartered with CPTV in Hartford, and operates an additional studio in New Haven.

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts

East Longmeadow is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States situated in the Pioneer Valley region of Western Massachusetts. It has a population of 15,720 at the 2010 census. East Longmeadow is 5 miles southeast of downtown Springfield, 25 miles north of Hartford, 88 miles southwest of Boston, and 142 miles north of New York City.

East Longmeadow is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, directly south of Springfield itself.

East Longmeadow hosts an annual Fourth of July Parade. It is one of the largest Fourth of July parades in western Massachusetts. East Longmeadow High School also serves as host to an annual Fourth of July fireworks display, traditionally held on July 3.

Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the five western counties of Massachusetts. Formed from a division of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, it was officially recognized at the organizing convention of November 10, 1901. At a special meeting on January 22, 1902, Alexander Hamilton Vinton, Rector of All Saints Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. was elected first diocesan bishop.

The first two Anglican parishes in what would become the diocese were started in Great Barrington in 1762 and Lanesborough in 1767 on the Housatonic River, at first served by priests from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

There are 67 congregations in the diocese. The Episcopal See is in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Since 1929, the cathedral has been Christ Church Cathedral, which was built in 1874.

Manhan River

The Manhan River is a 27.6-mile-long (44.4 km) river in western Massachusetts. It is a tributary of the Connecticut River.

The river begins near the boundary between the towns of Huntington and Westhampton, Massachusetts, and flows southeast to White Reservoir and then Tighe Carmody Reservoir in Southampton. The river continues southeast, then turns northeasterly and flows through the middle of Easthampton to its confluence with the Connecticut River at a westward curve called The Oxbow. The river provides excellent views of nearby Mount Tom.

Europeans first settled the area in 1664 and later established saw mills on the river. In 1847 large mills began with the Williston-Knight Button Company; a number of other factories sprang up nearby in the next few years. Small lead mines also were established near the river. Of particular note is the Manhan River mine near Loudville, noted for its pyromorphite and wulfenite. A former railroad has been converted to the Manhan Rail Trail, which now provides a scenic pathway along the river.

Misery Mountain (Taconic Mountains)

Misery Mountain, 2,671 feet (814 m), with at least ten well-defined summits, is a prominent 6 mi (9.7 km) long rideline in the Taconic Mountains of western Massachusetts and adjacent New York. The west side of the mountain is located in New York; the east side and high point lie within Massachusetts. The summit ridge is part meadow and part wooded with red spruce, balsam fir, and northern hardwood tree species. It is notable for its views of the Hudson River Valley to the west. The 35 mi (56 km) Taconic Crest Trail traverses the crest of the ridgeline, but does not cross the summit.

Mount Raimer

Mount Raimer, 2,572 feet (784 m), is a prominent peak in the Taconic Mountains of western Massachusetts and adjacent New York. The west side and summit are located in New York; the east slopes lie within Massachusetts. The summit ridge is part meadow and part wooded with red spruce, balsam fir, and northern hardwood tree species. It is notable for its views of the Hoosic River valley and Hudson River Valley. The 35 mi (56 km) Taconic Crest Trail traverses the mountain. Much of the upper slopes and summit are within protected conservation land. The mountain is the location of a defunct ski area.

North River (Deerfield River tributary)

The North River is a 3.4-mile-long (5.5 km) river in western Massachusetts, the United States.

It is formed by the confluence of the 7.1-mile-long (11.4 km) West Branch and the 17.5-mile-long (28.2 km) East Branch of the North River in the town of Colrain, Massachusetts. The river is a tributary of the Deerfield River, joining it just north of the village of Shelburne Falls.

Rounds Mountain

Rounds Mountain, 2,257 feet (688 m), is a prominent peak in the Taconic Mountains of western Massachusetts and adjacent New York. The west side of the mountain and summit are located in New York; the east side is located within Massachusetts. The summit a bald; the slopes are wooded with northern hardwood tree species. It is notable for its views of the Hudson River Valley to the west and the Green River and Kinderhook Creek valleys of Hancock, Massachusetts to the east. The 35 mi (56 km) Taconic Crest Trail traverses the mountain. Much of the upper slopes and summit are within protected conservation land.

Scouting in Massachusetts

Scouting in Massachusetts includes both Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations. Both were founded in the 1910s in Massachusetts. With a vigorous history, both organizations actively serve thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Seven Sisters (Massachusetts)

The Seven Sisters, part of the Holyoke Range and located within the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts, are a series of basalt ridgeline knobs between Mount Holyoke and Mount Hitchcock (there are actually more than seven distinct peaks). The knobs offer scenic clifftop views interspersed with oak savanna woodlands. The highest "sister" has an elevation of 1,005 ft (306 m) and stands 800 ft (244 m) above the valley below. The terrain is very rugged; a continuous walk along the ridgeline includes an overall elevation change of 3,700 ft (1,128 m). The Seven Sisters are traversed by the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and is part of the New England National Scenic Trail

The Seven Sisters are the location of the Seven Sisters Trail Race every spring, a twelve-mile (19 km) "out-and-back" run that often leaves its runners bloody, bruised and exhausted. [1]

In response to a proposed suburban development on the Seven Sisters in the late 1990s, several non-profit groups and local governments worked together to block construction and acquire the ridgeline for the J.A. Skinner State Park.

Coincidentally, the seven sisters are near two of the Seven Sisters Colleges.

Smith Mountain (Taconic Mountains)

Smith Mountain, 2,170 feet (660 m), is a prominent peak in the Taconic Mountains of western Massachusetts, USA. The mountain is located in Pittsfield State Forest and is traversed by the 12.1 mi (19.5 km) multi-use Taconic Skyline Trail. The summit is known for its extensive stand of wild azalea and is wooded with northern hardwood tree species.

Most of Smith Mountain is located within Hancock with lower east slopes within Pittsfield. West Mountain, 1,950 feet (590 m), a spur of Smith Mountain, is located along the mountain's south ridgeline. The Taconic ridgeline continues north from Smith Mountain as Pine Mountain and Tower Mountain, and south as Doll Mountain. It is bordered by West Hill to the west across the Wyomanock Creek valley. The west side of the mountain drains into Wyomanock Creek, then into Kinderhook Creek, thence into the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. The east side drains into Smith Brook, thence to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.

Sunderland Bridge (Massachusetts)

The Sunderland Bridge is a crossing over the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts, connecting the towns of South Deerfield and Sunderland, carrying Massachusetts Route 116.

Tanglewood Music Festival

The Tanglewood Music Festival is a music festival held every summer on the Tanglewood estate in Stockbridge and Lenox in the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts.The festival consists of a series of concerts, including symphonic music, chamber music, choral music, musical theater, contemporary music, jazz, and pop music. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is in residence at the festival, but many of the concerts are put on by other groups. It is one of the premier music festivals in the United States and one of the top in the world.

The Berkshires

The Berkshires (locally ) are a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and 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 locally referred to as either the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills.Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation. Geologically, the mountains are a range of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Berkshires were named among the 200 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy.

Tower Mountain (Massachusetts)

Tower Mountain, 2,193 feet (668 m), is a prominent peak in the Taconic Mountains of western Massachusetts. The mountain is located in Pittsfield State Forest and is traversed by the 35 mi (56 km) Taconic Crest hiking trail and the 12.1 mi (19.5 km) multi-use Taconic Skyline Trail. The summit is partially open with views to the west; the slopes are wooded with northern hardwood tree species.

Tower Mountain is located within Hancock, Massachusetts; it shares the summit ridge with Pine Mountain to the east; Smith Mountain is located south along the ridgeline, and Berry Mountain to the north. It is bordered by West Hill to the west across the Wyomanock Creek valley. Tilden Swamp, a highland bog, is located just below the summit to the northeast. The west side of the mountain drains into Wyomanock Creek, then into Kinderhook Creek, thence into the Hudson River and Long Island Sound. The east side drains into Smith Brook, Parker Brook, and Onota Lake, thence to the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound.

WFCR

WFCR (88.5 MHz) is a non-commercial FM radio station licensed to Amherst, Massachusetts. It serves as the National Public Radio (NPR) member station for Western Massachusetts, including Springfield. The station operates at 13,000 watts ERP from a transmitter on Mount Lincoln in Pelham, Massachusetts 968 feet (295 meters) above average terrain. The University of Massachusetts Amherst holds the license. The station airs NPR news programs during the morning and afternoon drive times and in the early evening. Middays and overnights are devoted to classical music and jazz is heard during the later evening hours.

WFCR's broadcasting range extends to Western and Central Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut (including Hartford) as well as parts of Southern Vermont and Southern New Hampshire. WFCR's studios for most of its history were located at Hampshire House on the UMass campus. However, in 2013, the station moved most of its operations to the Fuller Building in downtown Springfield.The station signed on May 6, 1961 as a simulcast of WGBH-FM in Boston. By 1962, it had severed the electronic umbilical cord with WGBH-FM, and by 1964 it had expanded its local programming to 17 hours per day. The call letters originally represented "Four College Radio", becoming "Five College Radio" in 1966. It is a charter member of NPR, and was one of the stations that carried the initial broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.While UMass has held the license since 1967, when it was acquired from the WGBH Educational Foundation, WFCR has always received funding from the Five Colleges (UMass Amherst, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College and Hampshire College) as well as from fund drives conducted periodically over the air. Since 2011, WFCR and sister station 640 AM WNNZ have called themselves New England Public Radio.WFCR claims the distinction of being the first radio station in Western Massachusetts to transmit a signal using iBiquity's HD Radio system. It airs two digital streams. The first is a simulcast of the analog signal, the second is a 24-hour classical music station.On April 11, 2019, WFCR announced that it would consolidate operations with WGBH-owned PBS station WGBY-TV (channel 57) under the New England Public Media banner, effective in July. UMass will retain the WFCR license, and the New England Public Radio Foundation will retain the licenses to WNNZ and its satellites; NEPM will operate the stations under program service operating agreements.

WRPI

WRPI (91.5 FM) is a non-commercial free-format college radio station run entirely by students attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and staffed by community members and students. WRPI broadcasts 365 days a year with an effective radiated power of 10,000 watts, serving listeners in Albany, eastern New York, western Massachusetts, Vermont, and via webstream. The studios are located in the basement of the Darrin Communications Center and the FM signal is broadcast from North Greenbush. Programming includes a wide range of music, cultural and public affairs programs, live bands, special events, and sports simulcasts, particularly of RPI hockey, football, and baseball. WRPI has a large record library dating to the origins of the station, estimated at 43,800 albums, and a large CD library, dating to the start of the medium.

Warren, Massachusetts

Warren is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,135 at the 2010 census.

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