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.
Downtown Westfield and Park Square
The Whip City
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
|Incorporated (town)||May 19, 1669|
|Incorporated (city)||November 2, 1920|
|• Type||Mayor-council city|
|• Mayor||Brian Sullivan|
|• Total||47.4 sq mi (122.7 km2)|
|• Land||46.3 sq mi (120.0 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2) 2.24%|
|Elevation||148 ft (45 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||887/sq mi (342.5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|Area codes||413 Exchanges: 562,564,568,572|
|GNIS feature ID||0608962|
The area was originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc tribe, and was called Woronoco (meaning "the winding land"). Trading houses were built in 1639–40 by settlers from the Connecticut Colony. Massachusetts asserted jurisdiction, and prevailed after a boundary survey. In 1647, Massachusetts made Woronoco part of Springfield. Land was incrementally purchased from the Native Americans and granted by the Springfield town meeting to English settlers, beginning in 1658. The area of Woronoco or "Streamfield" began to be permanently settled in the 1660s. In 1669, "Westfield" was incorporated as an independent town; in 1920, it would be re-incorporated as a city. The name Westfield would be named for being at the time the most westerly settlement. "Streamfield" was considered a name for the town for being settled in between two "streams" that flow downtown, the Westfield River and the Little River.
From its founding until 1725, Westfield was the westernmost settlement in the Massachusetts Colony, and portions of it fell within the Equivalent Lands. Town meetings were held in a church meeting house until 1839, when Town Hall was erected on Broad Street. This building also served as City Hall from 1920 to 1958. Due to its alluvial lands, the inhabitants of the Westfield area were entirely devoted to agricultural pursuits for about 150 years.
Early in the 19th century, manufacture of bricks, whips, and cigars became economically important. At one point in the 19th century, Westfield was a prominent center of the buggy whip industry, and the city is still known as the "Whip City". Other firms produced bicycles, paper products, pipe organs, boilers and radiators, textile machinery, abrasives, wood products, and precision tools. Westfield transformed itself from an agricultural town into a thriving industrial city in the 19th century, but in the second half of the 20th century its manufacturing base was eroded by wage competition in the U.S. Southeast, then overseas.
Meanwhile, with cheap land and convenient access to east-west and north-south interstate highways, the north side developed into a warehousing center to C & S Wholesale, Home Depot, Lowes and other corporations. South of the river, the intersecting trends of growth of Westfield State University and declining manufacturing changed the city's character. Students comprise some 15% of Westfield's population, and the old downtown business district caters increasingly to them while mainstream shopping relocates to a commercial strip called East Main Street, part of U.S. Route 20. A Home Depot store and a Price-Rite were recently added to Westfield's wide array of shopping centers. These stores are located along Route 20.
Only four buildings exceed four stories in height. Until a major fire on January 6, 1952, the Westfield Professional Building covered half a downtown city block and was six stories tall. The entire building was consumed with extensive damage to neighboring buildings because the fire department's ladder and snorkel vehicles weren't tall enough and the building did not have a sprinkler system. Subsequent zoning prohibited virtually all new construction over three stories, even after improvements in fire suppression technologies and vehicles became available. No building is allowed to be taller than the town's firetruck ladders.
In the early 20th century, Westfield was at the center of the Pure Food movement, an effort to require stricter standards on the production of food. Louis B. Allyn, a Westfield resident and pure foods expert for McClure's Magazine, lived in Westfield until his murder. In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. In June 2017, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a $300,000 grant to the city for an industrial park expansion.
Westfield is located at  It is bordered on the north by Southampton, on the northeast by Holyoke, on the east by West Springfield, on the southeast by Agawam, on the south by Southwick, on the southwest by Granville, on the west by Russell, and on the northwest by Montgomery. Westfield is split into the "South Side" and the "North Side" by the Westfield River, and the northwestern section of town is known as Wyben.(42.129492, −72.745986).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 47.4 square miles (122.7 km2), of which 46.3 square miles (120.0 km2) are land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), or 2.24%, are water.
Westfield is situated at the western edge of the downfaulted Connecticut River Valley where the Westfield River emerges from the Berkshire Hills and flows through the center of the city on its way to the Connecticut River some 10 miles (16 km) downstream. Because of its large, steep and rocky upstream watershed, the river has a history of severe flood episodes, inundating adjacent parts of Westfield several times. In spite of a complicated system of pumps, dikes, waterways, and upstream dams, Westfield lies in a floodplain zone and is still considered flood-prone.
Westfield is bordered on the east by linear cliffs of volcanic trap rock known as East Mountain and Provin Mountain. They are part of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Both mountains are traversed by the 114-mile (183 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, that also crosses the Westfield River with an ill-advised fording or a safer road-walk across the bridge at the junction of Routes 187 and 20. The next road obstacle for hikers in
Westfield is the Massachusetts Turnpike, beneath which hikers can safely walk.
Westfield is on the fringe of the greater Northeast megalopolis—the most densely populated region of the United States—and has experienced substantial land development for suburban residential and commercial uses for the past six decades. Yet it borders hilltowns to the west that were depopulated of subsistence farmers in the 19th century as land became readily available on the western frontier. With population dipping below ten per square kilometer in some upland townships, forests are reverting almost to pre-settlement conditions with wild turkey, bears, coyotes and even moose returning after absences perhaps measured in centuries. This transition over a few miles from the 21st century urbanization to population densities nearly as low as early colonial times is notable if not unique.
Westfield is located 10 miles (16 km) west of Springfield, 39 miles (63 km) southeast of Pittsfield, 95 miles (153 km) west of Boston, 30 miles (48 km) north of Hartford, Connecticut, 76 miles (122 km) southeast of Albany, New York, and 145 miles (233 km) northeast of New York City.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
At the 2010 census, there were 41,094 people, 15,335 households and 10,041 families residing in the city. The population density was 860.3 per square mile (332.2/km²). There were 16,075 housing units at an average density of 331.5 per square mile (128.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.8% White, 1.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 2.2% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population.
There were 14,797 households, of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.07.
Age distribution was 23.8% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.
The median household income was $45,240, and the median family income was $55,327. Males had a median income of $38,316 versus $27,459 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,600. About 6.9% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
Westfield is governed by a mayor and a city council, elected every two years. The office of the mayor is responsible for a variety of services throughout the city, and the mayor also serves as chairman of the School Committee. The City Council meets the first and third Thursday of every month at 7:30 in City Hall.
The current mayor of Westfield is Brian Sullivan. In the Massachusetts General Court, the current senator, representing the Second Hampden and Hampshire district, is Don Humason. The representative's seat for the Fourth Hampden district is John Velis.
The Westfield City Council is composed of the following members:
|Ward||Councilor||Years on City Council|
|Ward 1||Mary Ann Babinski||2016–present|
|Ward 2||Ralph J. Figy||2014–present|
|Ward 3||Andrew K. Surprise||2016–present|
|Ward 4||Michael J. Burns||2018–present|
|Ward 5||Leslie D. LeFebvre||2019–present|
|Ward 6||William Onyski||2016–present|
|At-Large||Brent B. Bean II||2002–2007, 2010–present|
|At-Large||Cindy C. Harris||2014–present|
|At-Large||David A. Flaherty||2010–present|
|At-Large||John J. Beltrandi, III||2010–2013, 2017–present|
|At-Large||Nicholas J. Morganelli, Jr.||2008–2011, 2018–present|
The current city council president is Brent B. Bean II.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of February 1, 2017|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
The city is home to Westfield State University.
The Massachusetts Turnpike crosses Westfield just north of Westfield Center. The "Mass Pike" is part of Interstate 90 extending east to Boston and west to Albany and across the United States to Seattle. About 3 miles (5 km) east of Westfield, the turnpike intersects Interstate 91 which generally follows the Connecticut River Valley south to Springfield, Hartford and New Haven or north to Canada (Quebec).
Westfield's main north-south thoroughfare is U.S. 202/Route 10, which includes parts of Southwick Road, S. Maple Street, W. Silver Street, Pleasant Street, Court Street, Broad Street, Elm Street, and Southampton Road. At the intersection of Southampton Road and North Road, Route 10 continues on Southampton Road toward Southampton while U.S. 202 follows North Road toward Holyoke.
Apart from limited-access I-90, the main east-west thoroughfare is U.S. 20, which includes parts of Russell Road, Franklin Street, Elm Street, Main Street, and Springfield Road. Route 187 also ends in Westfield. Other main roads include Western Avenue, Granville Road, Union Street, and Montgomery Road. East Mountain Road is the longest road in Westfield. In November 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a $1.93 million grant to the city for upgrades to its segment of U.S. Route 20.
A notable choke point for north/south travel is the Great River Bridge, commonly known as the "Green Bridge", over the Westfield River. This is a three-lane through truss bridge. As of August 2007, there was an active project to create a second bridge just to the east (downstream). The new bridge is a similar through-truss bridge with two spans totaling 368 feet (112.2 m). After the second bridge was completed, the existing bridge was refurbished; each bridge now carries traffic in one direction. Blessed Sacrament Church on North Elm Street was torn down for this project to start. The church was reconstructed on Holyoke Road and was finished in October 2009. The new bridge opened for traffic and the old one was closed for renovations on August 18, 2009. The old bridge reopened in July 2011, with each bridge carrying traffic in one direction.
Westfield is at the junction of the former east-west Boston and Albany Railroad and a former north-south spur of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (now a rail trail south of the junction). The town last had eastbound passenger service in 1954, local Albany, New York - Boston, Massachusetts service operated by the New York Central Railroad; and Westfield last had local westbound service in 1953. But Pioneer Valley Railroad, a short line, and CSX, provide freight service. More than 35 motor freight carriers with nearby terminals provide competitive freight service locally and to all distant points. Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited, Vermonter and Connecticut Valley service continue to operate in Springfield, Massachusetts, 9.6 miles to the east.
The city is presently served by multiple Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) bus routes:
Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield has charter passenger services.
Albany International Airport is an alternative to Bradley, with similar flight offerings. It is 86 miles (138 km) (90 minutes drive) to the northwest via I-90.
Columbia Manufacturing Inc. is a company located in Westfield, Massachusetts that manufactures chairs, desks, and other materials. In the education industry, it is best known for making the desk chair Model 114, which is used all over the nation. Founded in 1877, it was once owned by Pope Manufacturing Company and was the brand that manufactured bicycles for the company. After Pope filed for bankruptcy in 1915, Columbia continued on to manufacture bicycles in Westfield. As of the 2010s, Columbia-branded bicycles are marketed by Columbia Bicycles, a subsidiary of Ballard Pacific.East Mountain (Massachusetts)
East Mountain is a traprock mountain ridge located in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. It is part 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. East Mountain is known for its extensive scenic cliffs, unique microclimate ecosystems, and rare plant communities. It is traversed by the 110-mile (180 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.Hampton Ponds State Park
Hampton Ponds State Park is a Massachusetts state park located in the northeast corner of the city of Westfield. The park offers water-based activities including swimming, motorized and non-motorized boating, and fishing plus facilities for picnicking. The park is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.John Greaney
John M. Greaney (born 1939) is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and director of the Macaronis Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy at Suffolk University Law School.
John Greaney was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on April 8, 1939 and graduated from St Mary's High School and from the College of the Holy Cross and New York University School of Law. Greaney served in the Massachusetts National Guard and practiced law for about 10 years before becoming a judge. In 1974, he became a judge on Hampden County Housing Court and in 1976, a Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Greaney was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court on September 9, 1989 and wrote a famous concurrence in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. In 2008 Justice Greaney retired from the court and was appointed director of the Macaronis Institute for Trial and Appellate Advocacy at Suffolk University Law School in Boston.John Velis
John Christopher Velis (born January 26, 1979) is an American politician and member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He is a Democrat from Westfield, Massachusetts and represents the 4th Hampden district.Joseph B. Ely
Joseph Buell Ely (February 22, 1881 – June 13, 1956) was an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Massachusetts. As a conservative Democrat, Ely was active in party politics from the late 1910s, helping to build, in conjunction with David I. Walsh, the Democratic coalition that would gain an enduring political ascendancy in the state. From 1931 to 1935, he served as the 52nd Governor. He was opposed to the federal expansion of the New Deal, and was a prominent intra-party voice in opposition to the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1944 he made a brief unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.Pope Model L
The Pope Model L was a motorcycle produced by Pope Manufacturing Company in Westfield, Massachusetts, between 1914 and 1920.
The Model L was, at 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), the fastest motorcycle in the world when it was introduced.It was technologically advanced for its time, with features not found on other motorcycles, such as overhead valves, chain drive (from 1918) and multi-speed transmission. It was also expensive at $250, as much then as a Model T automobile. (Another source of competition were cyclecars)Provin Mountain
Provin Mountain is a very narrow traprock mountain ridge located in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. It is part of the Metacomet Ridge which extends from Long Island Sound near New Haven, Connecticut, north through the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts to the Vermont border. Provin Mountain is known for its scenic cliffs, unique microclimate ecosystems, and rare plant communities. It is traversed by the 114 mile (183 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.Rectrix Aviation
Rectrix Aviation is a jet charter and commuter airline service that primarily serves New England, Florida and the east coast of the United States. Its commercial operations are based at Nantucket Memorial Airport and Barnstable Municipal Airport in Nantucket and Hyannis, Massachusetts, respectively. The only commercial flight it operates is between Nantucket and Hyannis. Rectrix Shuttle, the commuter service, was founded when Island Airlines of Nantucket shut down.
Rectrix's charter flights are based at Sarasota, Florida, Bedford, Massachusetts, Hyannis, and Westfield, Massachusetts. Rectrix acquired its worldwide jet operating authority in 2009 with its acquisition of New World Jet Corporation.Robinson State Park
Robinson State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located mostly in the town of Agawam with a small section in Westfield, Massachusetts. The narrow, 1,025-acre (415 ha) state park follows the course of the meandering Westfield River which forms the park's northern border. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.Saint Mary High School (Westfield, Massachusetts)
Saint Mary High School is a private, Roman Catholic high school in Westfield, Massachusetts. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.WSKB
WSKB (89.5 FM) is a radio station licensed to serve Westfield State University and the Greater Westfield, Massachusetts area. The station is owned by the Trustees of Westfield State University. It airs a College radio modern rock format.The station was assigned the WSKB call letters by the Federal Communications Commission and began operations in October, 1974.Walt Kowalczyk
Walter Joseph Kowalczyk (April 17, 1935 – November 7, 2018) was an American football defensive back and fullback in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. He also played in the American Football League for the Oakland Raiders. He played college football at Michigan State University.Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport
Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport (IATA: BAF, ICAO: KBAF, FAA LID: BAF) is a public/military airport in Hampden County, Massachusetts, three miles (6 km) north of Westfield and northwest of Springfield. It was formerly Barnes Municipal Airport; the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation facility. Westfield-Barnes is one of Massachusetts' largest airports with a strong flight training, general aviation, and military presence.Westfield High School (Massachusetts)
Westfield High School (Westfield, Massachusetts) is a public, coeducational high school located in Westfield, Massachusetts founded in 1855. It serves as the public high school for students in grades 9 through 12, and has a student enrollment of 1,269 (2016-17).Westfield River
The Westfield River is a major tributary of the Connecticut River located in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley regions of western Massachusetts. With four major tributary branches that converge west of the city of Westfield, it flows 78.1 miles (125.7 km) (measured from the source of its North Branch) before its confluence with the Connecticut River at Agawam, across from the city of Springfield's Metro Center district. Known for its whitewater rapids and scenic beauty, the Westfield River provides over 50 miles (80 km) of whitewater canoeing and kayaking, in addition to one of the largest roadless wilderness areas remaining in the Commonwealth.The Westfield River is the Connecticut River's longest tributary in Massachusetts, although the Chicopee River's basin is much larger, and contributes more water to the Connecticut. The Connecticut's northern tributary, the Deerfield River, is nearly as long as the Westfield—only 2.1 miles (3.4 km) shorter than the Westfield.
During the mid-20th century, the Westfield River was so polluted that it would change color based on the nature of the contaminant. Today, the river is clean enough for swimming. It is a state and locally managed river featuring native trout fishing and rugged mountain scenery in the context of a historical mill town settlement (at Westfield).Westfield State University
Westfield State University (also known as Westfield State and formerly known as Westfield Normal School, Westfield State Teachers College, and Westfield College) is a public university in Westfield, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1838 by Horace Mann as the first public co-educational college in America without barrier to race, gender, or economic class.Westfield Technical Academy
Westfield Technical Academy (formerly known as Westfield Vocational Technical High School), is a technical, coeducational, four-year public high school, part of the Westfield Public Schools district in Westfield, Massachusetts. The school opened on October 1, 1911 as the Westfield Independent Industrial School.William Shepard
William Shepard (December 1, 1737 [O.S. November 20, 1737] - November 16, 1817) was a United States Representative from Massachusetts (1797–1802), and a military officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. As a state militia leader he protected the Springfield Armory during Shays' Rebellion, firing cannon into the force of Daniel Shays and compelling them to disperse. He was also served in town and state government and was a member of the Massachusetts Governor's Council.
|Climate data for Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, Massachusetts (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1926–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||71
|Average high °F (°C)||32.9
|Average low °F (°C)||12.9
|Record low °F (°C)||−14
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.26
Municipalities and communities of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties