Greenfield is a city in and the county seat of Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. Greenfield was first settled in 1686. The population was 17,768 at the 2020 census. Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Franklin County Fair. The city has a Main Street Historic District containing fine examples of Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian architecture.
|City of Greenfield|
|• Type||Mayor-council city|
|• Mayor||Roxann Wedegartner|
|• Total||21.88 sq mi (56.65 km2)|
|• Land||21.41 sq mi (55.46 km2)|
|• Water||0.46 sq mi (1.20 km2)|
|Elevation||250 ft (76 m)|
|• Density||829.9/sq mi (320.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618166|
Pocumtuck Indians first settled and originally inhabited the Greenfield area. Native American artifacts found in the area have been dated between 7,000 and 9,000 years B.C. The Pocumtucks planted field crops and fished local rivers. Some sources claim that they were wiped out by the Mohawks in 1664 and that the land was left unoccupied. Other sources show that the Pocumtucks joined the Wampanoag chief Metacom in August 1675 in the fight against English encroachment, indicating a continued presence in the area. The Pocumtuck also played an important role in the Battle of Great Falls / Wissantinnewag – Peskeompskut on May 19, 1676, and tribal oral tradition indicates that following the battle, elements of the Pocumtuck fled to and were incorporated into the Abenaki people to the north and the Mahican people to the west.
In 1795, the South Hadley Canal opened, enabling boats to bypass the South Hadley falls and reach Greenfield via the Connecticut River. Located at the confluence of the Deerfield and Green rivers, and not far from where they merge into the Connecticut River, Greenfield developed into a trade center. Falls provided water power for industry, and Greenfield grew into a prosperous mill town. John Russell established the Green River Works in 1834, hiring skilled German workers at what was the country's first cutlery factory. The Connecticut River Railroad was the first of several railways to enter the town, replacing the former canal trade. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Greenfield was one of the most important American centers of the tap and die business and was the home of Greenfield Tap & Die Company (GTD).
It was designated the county seat when Franklin County was created from Hampshire County in 1811.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22 square miles (56.7 km2), of which 21 square miles (55.5 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.2 km2), or 2.08%, is water. Greenfield is located at the center of the county and is bordered by Colrain, Leyden, and Bernardston to the north; Gill to the east; Montague to the southeast; Deerfield to the south; and Shelburne to the west. Greenfield is located 39 miles (63 km) north of Springfield and 90 miles (145 km) west-northwest of Boston.
Greenfield lies at the confluence of the Deerfield, Green, and Connecticut rivers. The Green River runs from the north, through town to the Deerfield, which lies along the city's southern border. From there, the Deerfield meets the Connecticut, which flows southward along the Montague border before bending eastward briefly before continuing southward. Several brooks flow into the three rivers, as well as a fourth river, the Fall River, which makes up the city's border with Gill. The city is located beside the Pocumtuck Range, the northernmost subridge of the Metacomet Ridge, and is surrounded by hills, with the town center lying on an elevated point above the rivers.
Like most of New England, Greenfield has a humid continental climate, exactly on the border between Köppen Dfa and Dfb with its warmest-month (July) mean of 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). with cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Extreme temperatures range from 100 °F (37.8 °C), recorded on July 22, 1926, and August 26, 1948, to −30 °F (−34.4 °C), recorded on January 22, 1961. Precipitation is abundant and well distributed (every month except February over 3 inches) and averages 41.3 inches per year.
|Climate data for Greenfield, Massachusetts|
|Average high °F (°C)||32.7
|Average low °F (°C)||14.0
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.2
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||15.3
|Average precipitation days||10||9||10||10||10||10||10||9||8||8||9||10||113|
|Source: Weatherbase |
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
By the 2010 census, the population had decreased to 17,456. Greenfield, as the only community in the county with a population over 10,000, is the largest community by population or population density in the county. It is also the smallest mainland county seat in the Commonwealth, as only the island towns of Edgartown and Nantucket are smaller.
As of the census of 2000, there had been 18,168 people, 7,939 households, and 4,374 families residing in the city. The population density was 836.2 people per square mile (322.8/km2). There were 8,301 housing units at an average density of 382.1 per square mile (147.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.39% White, 1.34% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.10% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 2.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.54% of the population.
There were 7,939 households, out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.9% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the town the population was spread out, with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $33,110, and the median income for a family was $46,412. Males had a median income of $33,903 versus $26,427 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,830. About 11.4% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.
Greenfield was one of several Massachusetts municipalities that applied for, and were granted, city forms of government but wished to retain "The Town of" in their official names. In December 2017, the Town Council voted to remove "The Town of" designation, making Greenfield known as the City of Greenfield. Since the charter change in 2003 Greenfield has been governed by a town council and a mayor. The former town council is now called the city council and consists of four at-large councilors and nine councilors that are each elected from one of the city's nine electoral precincts. The other city boards are appointed, with the exception of the seven-member school committee, which consists of the mayor plus six members elected at-large.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
Greenfield's first mayor, Christine Forgey, served until 2009 when she was defeated in a primary election. Greenfield's second mayor, Bill Martin, took second place in the 2009 primary as a write-in candidate and went on to win the general election in June. Martin's tenure began with a formal inauguration ceremony, the city's first, which also featured a mayoral fanfare, Long Live Our Mayor, written for the occasion in the style of Hail to the Chief. At the inauguration, Martin read a proclamation declaring July 1 as "Inauguration Day" in all following years. After Martin's retirement in 2019, Roxann Wedegartner became Greenfield's third mayor.
In Greenfield, the Mayor appoints most of the members of the various city boards, with the city council approving appointments. The mayor also serves as a voting member of the school committee, but is forbidden to serve as its chairman or vice-chair. In addition, the mayor sits as an ex officio non-voting member on all the other city boards.
The City Council consists of 13 members: four "Councilors at Large" and nine "Precinct Councilors" elected to represent each of the nine voting precincts. As of 2021[update], Penny Ricketts is the Council President, and Sheila Gilmour is the Vice-President.
Greenfield operates its own police and fire departments. As of 2014[update], ambulance service is provided under a contract with the local hospital system. The town is also patrolled by the Second (Shelburne Falls) Barracks of Troop "B" of the Massachusetts State Police. It runs a sizeable public works department and is the home base of the regional waste management system. The Greenfield Public Library is one of the larger libraries in the area, and is connected to the regional library network. Greenfield also operates numerous municipal parks and recreation areas including a town swimming center.
As county seat, Greenfield is home to many different state offices, including courthouses and one of the offices of the Northwest District Attorney, Dave Sullivan. The Franklin County Sheriff is based in Greenfield and operates the Franklin County Jail at the corner of Elm and Allen streets. The city also has the central post office for the "013" series of ZIP codes, which extends through Franklin County and several towns in Worcester County. Greenfield is home to the privately run Baystate Franklin Medical Center, which serves much of the northern Pioneer Valley.
Greenfield is part of the Second Berkshire district of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, which includes sixteen cities and towns in Berkshire and Franklin Counties. Paul Mark is the State Representative.
In the Massachusetts Senate, the town is part of the Hampshire and Franklin district, which includes much of eastern Franklin and Hampshire counties. State Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg represented this district but it now sits vacant.
Nationally, Greenfield is represented in the United States House of Representatives as part of Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district, and is represented in the 113th United States Congress by James McGovern.
The Bee ConnectionEdit
Greenfield was for many years the home of Lorenzo Langstroth, known as the "Father of Modern Beekeeping," and the city celebrates Langstroth's life and contributions with bee-themed events and attractions.
Bee Fest was launched in 2010 by Greenfield's Second Congregational Church, where Langstroth was pastor during the late 1840s. The first Bee Fest served to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Langstroth's birth and to highlight the importance of the honeybee in sustaining the environment and in human agriculture. Bee Fest, now an annual celebration held in the spring, overlooks the center of town and Court Square and offers fun and learning for all ages.
Downtown Bee SculpturesEdit
Greenfield has six large bee sculptures, installed in 2021 and together forming the largest public art project in the history of the city. Local artist Rachael Katz designed the sculptures and was a motive force in the overall project. Other local artists painted the bees in colorful themes. The project received support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, local businesses and non-profit organizations, and the community. As of fall 2021, three more bees have been commissioned and will be installed in the spring of 2022.
Other Bee-Themed AttractionsEdit
Greenfield has a pocket park with educational installations, a painted crosswalk, lamppost signage, and parking garage banners, all themed around and celebrating Langstroth and honeybees. In 2021, the entire Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade was bee-themed, with many bee-decorated floats and marchers in bee costumes.
- The Crossroads Cultural District, named by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2016.
- Historical Society of Greenfield, 43 Church Street
- Guiding Star Grange is a community hall, known for traditional music and dance in the Pioneer Valley.
- Greenfield Center School, an independent K-8th grade school, is a site of the Coalition of Essential Schools and the home of the New England Coalition of Progressive Educators.
- Greenfield Energy Park is a community greenspace featuring renewable energy exhibits, gardens, native arboretum, caboose museum, concerts, and public art in the heart of downtown Greenfield. It is the site of the former train station. Headquartered at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA).
- Leavitt-Hovey House, now the Greenfield Public Library, built in 1797 by Asher Benjamin for judge Jonathan Leavitt.
- The area is home to an optical illusion known as a gravity hill. It is located on Shelburne Road, while facing Greenfield, immediately after the Route 2 bridge. From under the overpass, the road appears to rise slightly to a crest a few hundred feet away. The illusion is slight, but convincing. A car in neutral at the "bottom" of the rise will appear to crawl uphill.
- Rocky Mountain Park features Poet's Seat Tower, a 1912 sandstone observation tower named for the site's attraction to poets, particularly Frederick Goddard Tuckerman. The annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration takes place at Poet's Seat, which overlooks Beacon Field.
- Wilson's Department Store, opened in 1882 and one of the few old-style large independent family-owned department stores remaining in America, until closing in 2020 after 138 years in business.
Greenfield lies at the junction of four highways. Interstate 91 travels north and south through the western stretch of the city and is duplexed for a 3-mile (5 km) stretch with Massachusetts Route 2. Route 2, which follows the rough path of (and is nicknamed after) the Mohawk Trail, enters over the Fall River as a surface road before becoming a limited-access highway until its concurrence with I-91. Once it leaves the interstate, Route 2 becomes a surface road again. Between the start of the limited access section of Route 2 and its split from I-91 at Exit 43, the Mohawk Trail follows Massachusetts Route 2A, which uses Route 2's former right of way through the center of Greenfield. At the town center, Route 2A meets the duplexed U.S. Route 5 and Massachusetts Route 10, which comes over the Deerfield River in the south before heading northward through town, with another interchange along the highway portion of Route 2. In October 2016, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a $7.5 million grant to the town government to build a new downtown parking garage.
The town is served by the Peter Pan and Greyhound bus lines and is the hub of the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA), whose local service extends from Bernardston to Northampton and from Orange to Charlemont. The John W. Olver Transit Center is the hub for FRTA bus service, as well as the local depot for Peter Pan and Greyhound intercity service.
Greenfield lies at the junction of two rail lines, an east–west line heading from the northern points of Worcester County towards the Hoosac Tunnel and Albany, New York, and the north–south line heading from Springfield in the south towards Vermont in the north. Freight service on both lines is operated by Pan Am Railways.
Passenger rail service resumed in Greenfield on December 29, 2014, with the rerouting of Amtrak's Vermonter, with all trains serving the Olver Transit Center. The former Greenfield train station (torn down in 1966) was located across the tracks from the current train platform, in the present-day Energy Park. In June 2018, it was announced that Greenfield would become the terminus for an extension of the New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, in a pilot program being launched by CTRail and the MassDOT. The new commuter rail service, now dubbed the Valley Flyer, made its first run August 30, 2019. It runs twice in each direction on weekdays and once on weekends, to and from New Haven, Connecticut, with connections to New York City. There is a proposal known as "Northern Tier Passenger Rail" in the early stages of planning, which would extend MBTA's Fitchburg Line westward through Greenfield and terminate at North Adams.
Greenfield operates its own public school system for the town's 1,700 students. Greenfield operates the Academy of Early Learning at North Parish for pre-kindergarten students, three elementary schools – the Four Corners School to the north, the Federal Street School centrally, and the Newton Elementary School to the west – for students from kindergarten through fourth grade, the Greenfield Middle School for students from fifth grade through seventh grades, and Greenfield High School for eighth through twelfth grades. 8th grade is separate and not part of the official high school. Greenfield's athletic teams are nicknamed the "Green Wave", and their school colors are green and white.
Alternative public schoolsEdit
Greenfield operates the Poet Seat School, an alternative middle and high school for special needs students. On July 9, 2009, Greenfield's local school committee approved creation of the Virtual Academy or "MAVA @ Greenfield", the only kindergarten-through-twelfth grade distance learning school of its kind in the state. The MAVA program is also expected to provide expanded course offerings to students in the traditional public schools. Greenfield is also home to the Four Rivers Charter Public School, which serves students in grades 7-12.
Greenfield's oldest private school is the Stoneleigh-Burnham School, a private 7th-12th grade boarding school for girls. The Center School, established in 1981, serves students from preschool through eighth grade with a progressive approach to education.
As of 2014[update] there are no religious schools in Greenfield; the Cornerstone Christian School closed in 2013, and Holy Trinity School, a K-8 parochial school, closed in 2011.
The nearest state university is the University of Massachusetts Amherst. There are also several private colleges, including members of the Five Colleges and Seven Sisters, in the region, as well as Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire.
- 95.3 WPVQ-FM (Country) Saga Communications
- 98.3 WHAI (Adult contemporary) Saga Communications
- 100.5 //WIZZ (Adult Standards) P&M Radio, LLC
- 102.9 W275AS (// WYRY-FM Country) Tri Valley Broadcast Corporation
- 107.9 WMCB-LP (Talk/Information) Greenfield Community Television¹
- 107.9 WLPV-LP (Religious) Living Waters Assembly of God Church¹
¹ – WMCB-LP/WLPV-LP operate under a "share time" agreement with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
- 15  (Public Access) Greenfield Community Television
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