{short description of image} 1st Traveler's Choice

Photo of Smith College in the Five College Area / Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts

Destination:
The Five College Area / Pioneer Valley
of Western Massachusetts

Hadley ... Hatfield ... Huntington

Photo: Smith College

Introduction

Lodging

Location

Norwottuck Rail Trail

Museums, Galleries, and the Arts

Attractions

Recreation

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Smith College

Amherst College and Hampshire College

Mount Holyoke College
Hadley

A town that was once saved by an angel ultimately got swept away by a corn farmer.

John Russell, who in 1659, teamed with dissenting members of a Connecticut congregation to settle what would eventually become Hadley. Russell's Congregational Church also played a pivotal role in Hadley's history when in 1675, William Gaffe, an English refugee hiding from King Charles II, entered the church's sanctuary on horseback to warn folks of an impending Indian attack. The seemingly prophetic Gaffe was later dubbed the Angel of Hadley, a moniker that may be partially attributed to the white hair and white beard he sported when making his impromptu visit to Russell's congregation.

Commerce in Hadley began in earnest when Corn farmer Levi Dickinson came to Hadley in 1786 with the seeds of a strange new corn whose tassels he managed to convert into the best brooms anyone in this neck of the woods had ever seen. Just before the turn of the century, he launched a most lucrative broom business and paved the way for broom corn becoming Hadley's number-one crop for nearly 80 years. Broom corn was finally supplanted, so to speak, by the rise in popularity of tobacco. The demand for the unusual corn began to tail off in the 1880's, and by 1920, Hadley's last broom shop had closed.

Today, Hadley is better known for its mile-long, history-filled town common, which is home to 69 historic homes, including one that dates back to 1713. Scholars claim the town common to be the longest in all of New England. The common is divided by Russell Street, honoring the town's first religious leader.

Hatfield

Hatfield is home to the founder of Smith College, one of the largest and most respected women's colleges in the world.

Sophia Smith, the Hatfield native and educational visionary who founded Smith College with money she inherited at the age of 65, was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in October 2000. The women's college was to be an institution "for the higher education of young women...to furnish for my own sex means and facilities for education equal to those which are afforded now in our colleges for young men." Ms. Smith also founded the town's high school, Smith Academy.

Ironically, Smith, the fourth of seven children born to Hatfield farmer Joseph Smith, received little education growing up in the Pioneer Valley. But she developed a vociferous appetite for poetry, prose, and journals of literary, social, and political commentary and ultimately ingratiated herself with as much self-knowledge as those around her.

Huntington

This is the home of Wayne Granger, who despite his past successes as a major league pitcher, holds the dubious distinction of having served up the only World Series grand slam ever hit by a pitcher. Granger came up to the Big Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals just six years after starring on the mound for Huntington High School in 1962.

The Five College Area
Bed & Breakfast Association
P.O. Box 3252, Amherst, MA 01004
______________________________
Towns
Amherst
Ashfield
Belchertown
Bernardston
Chesterfield
Conway
Cummington
Deerfield
Easthampton
Goshen
Granby
Greenfield
Hadley
Hatfield
Huntington
Leverett
New Salem
Northampton
Pelham
Plainfield
Shutesbury
South Hadley
Southampton
Springfield
Sunderland
Westhampton
Whately
Williamsburg
Worthington
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Introduction ..... Lodging .... Norwottuck Rail Trail ..... Museums, Galleries, and the Arts ..... Restaurants ..... Attractions ..... Recreation ..... Fall Foliage ..... University of Massachusetts at Amherst ..... Smith College ..... Amherst College ..... Hampshire College ..... Mount Holyoke College


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