Connecticut River Valley view from Mount Holyoke Summit, Skinner State Park, Hadley, Massachusetts.

Hadley, Massachusetts

Hadley is a small town situated in Hampshire County in the US State of Massachusetts. The town covers a total area of 63.7 sq. km and is part of the Springfield-Massachusetts metropolitan statistical area. The original town center still exists archaeologically due to the spread of large areas of open land within Hadley village.

Geography And Climate Of Hadley

View of Mount Holyoke in Skinner State Park, Hadley, Massachusetts
View of Mount Holyoke from the base of the mountain in Skinner State Park, Hadley, Massachusetts. 

The town stretches over a total area of 63.7 sq. km, of which 59.8 sq. km are land and 3.9 sq. km are covered with water. Hadley borders Hatfield from the northwest, Sunderland from the north, Amherst from the east, and South Hadley from the south. Moreover, the Connecticut River separates the town from Northampton in the west, and the Fort River, which borders the town, separates it from Holyoke and Easthampton from the southwest. The town is located close to the Mount Holyoke Range, connecting it to South Hadley, where the highest point of Hadley is found on Mount Hitchcock at a height reaching around 1,000 feet, with the Metacomet-Monadnock trail across the Holyoke Range providing panoramic views of all around.

Hadley’s climate is humid continental, with warm and wet summers and freezing snowy winters. Skies are partly cloudy throughout the year, with temperatures ranging between -9 °C and 29 °C and are rarely below -18 °C or above 33 °C. Tourists prefer to visit Hadley for warm-weather activities between June and September.

Brief History Of Hadley

Mount Holyoke College Campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts
Mount Holyoke College Campus in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Editorial credit: Feng Cheng /

In the 1600s, Hadley was inhabited by the native tribes of the Nolwotogg Indians. In 1658, John Pynchon purchased the land from the Nolwotogg Indians, to be settled by its founder Reverend John Russell in 1659. Later, the town was incorporated in 1661, and native people started taking part in the fur trade, establishing a local market-based economy. Hadley was one of the Indian preys during King Philip’s War, but his attack was turned down. Moreover, the town of Hadley used to be open-field farming until the earliest New England settlements, where those farmlands vanished mainly by the 18th century, transforming Hadley from an agricultural structure to a housing market, in parallel with the development of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst during the 1960s.

The Population And Economy Of Hadley

Big Y. Inc. Supermarket in Hadley, Massachusetts
The exterior of a Big Y. Inc. Supermarket in Hadley, Massachusetts. Editorial credit: Emma'sPhotos /

A recent survey estimated the population in Hadley as 5327 residents, of which 87.4% were born in the United States, with 60.33% having been born in Massachusetts. On the other hand, 6.8% of residents are not US citizens, with most foreign-born residents being from Latin America

Hadley's economy is primarily driven by agriculture and retail services, with the access of Massachusetts Route 9 across it east to west with plentiful stores and a wide section of farms making use of the Hadley loam. For the last two centuries, the town's climate and soils were a reason to have asparagus as its main crop, competing for markets in France and Germany and in Queen Elizabeth II's own annual spring feast in England. Besides, the most common industries in the Hadley are educational services, healthcare, and accommodation food services. Moreover, the average income of a Hadley resident is $39,118 a year, undergoing a sales tax rate of 6.3% and an income tax rate of 5.1%.

Attractions In Hadley

Hadley Farmers Museum

Located in a 1782 barn, next to the Town Hall and near the Congregational Church, the Hadley Farm Museum features a collection of equipment used on New England farms from the late 1700s to the early 20th century. The exhibit includes the first broom-making machine, spinning wheels, furnishings, tools, and many more historical artifacts of ancient times.

Moreover, the town offers a variety of outdoor parks with walkable trails and wildlife exploration opportunities, topped by Skinner State Park and Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Besides this, there are plentiful entertainment and shopping options, where the zone around the Hampshire and Mountain Farms Malls along Route 9 is a significant shopping point for the nearby communities.

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