Easthampton, MA

Dec 29 2009
Published by under Easthampton
Downtown Easthampton - Fall 2009

Downtown Easthampton – Payson Avenue

Easthampton, originally part of Northampton, was settled in 1664. It became a separate village in 1785, a town in 1809, and a city in 1996, switching from a town council form of government to a mayor. Michael Tauznik was elected the first mayor, was re-elected several times and served through 2103. Karen Cadioux, his former assistant, won the mayoral race and took over in January, 2014.

In 1847 Samuel Williston established the Williston-Knight Button Company, and dammed a local brook to create Nashawannock Pond and a power source for his factory. The pond, located right in downtown, separates the upper area around the rotary from the lower area beginning with Cottage Street and the factory building which has become home to a number of artists, the Cottage Street Studios.

Nashawannock Pond

Nashawannock Pond after dredging, Fall 2009

In 1895 a rail line was brought into Easthampton. You could take the trolley to Northampton and across the river into Hadley and Amherst. Much of the original railway has been converted into bike paths.

Once largely agricultural and industrial, in recent years the city has been transformed into a small arts community, as people seek lower rents and housing prices than they can find in Northampton. However, despite this demographic change and recent development along Route 10, the town still has large areas of farmland.

Easthampton, MA farmland

Easthampton Farmland

Both the Mount Tom State Reservation and the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary border the town. The Manhan Rail trail connects Easthampton to Northampton.

The most recent city census included a survey regarding economic development in town, including the question of big box development. You can download a summary and analysis of the survey results (pdf).

Easthampton Links

  • Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee – unfortunately, this site doesn’t appear to be updated very often. However, it has information on the Barnes Aquifer, which provides water to the city and may end up with a landfill on top of it.
  • City of Easthampton – official city website – please note that the Planning Board, which is involved in the Stop & Shop development, meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month.
  • Easthampton Community Access Television – Channel 5 – Public access television for the City of Easthampton. Their website includes film archive of school board, planning board, and other town meetings.
  • Artwalk Easthampton – The second Saturday of each month, 5-8pm. Locations all over town host visual, music and performing arts events.
  • Easthampton Bearfest 2009 Easthampton Bear Fest
    Every few years Easthampton hosts a bearfest, in which local businesses or individuals sponsor a bear for an artist to decorate. The bears are placed all around the downtown for the summer, then auctioned off in the fall, with proceeds supporting the arts community.
    Check out the 2009 Bears

    Check out the 2012 Bears
  • Art in the Orchard – A biennial event, the Park Hill Orchard allows artists who pass a selection process to set up sculpture in the orchard.  There are various events throughout the summer. In 2013 this included live music, story telling, scarecrow-making workshops, and weekly yoga in the fields or under the trees, with the Holyoke range as a backdrop.

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