Agawam Massachusetts, 1890


Agawam
is a very beautiful town having two postal villages, Agawam (centre) and Feeding Hills. In 1885, it had a population of 2,357, and a territorial area of 13,775 acres, of which 2,884 are woodland. There are 280 farms, 482 dwelling-houses, and a total of 1,346 buildings. On the north, and separated by the Agawam or Westfield River, is West Springfield from which it was taken ; on the cast is Longmeadow, separated by the Connecticut River ; Southwick and Westfield bound it on the west, and Suffield in Connecticut on the south. It lies in the southern part of Hampden County, and about 100 miles southwest of Boston, by the Boston and Albany Railroad, which runs along the north bank of the Westfield River. The railroad stations are Springfield, West Springfield and Thompsonville. A fine iron bridge spans the Connecticut River at the southeast, and two the Agawam River. There is an excellent bridge connecting the town with Springfield. Trap, with the middle shales and sandstones, constitutes the geological formation. The land in the eastern part is in level, and undulations ; in the western part it is hilly and broken. Proven's Hill in the western section, rising to the height of 665 feet, affords a magnificent view of the valley of the Westfield River, of the city of Springfield, and of the towns adjoining. An affluent of the Connecticut River running through the central village furnishes valuable motive power. From the waters of these streams many shad and other valuable fish are taken.

The soil is sandy, in parts, but mostly a rich loam, and easy of cultivation. English hay, corn, rye, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and tobacco are the most valuable crops. Fruit trees abound, there being reported in 1885, 13,520 apple trees, 1,884 pear trees, and others in proportion. Milk to the amount of 624,257 gallons was sold in the same year ; when the, entire dairy product was valued at $89,556. The principal manufactures are paper and woollen goods, whose annual value is estimated at about $94,724. The establishments are the Agawam Company Woollen Mill, the Worthy Paper Mill and gin distillery. The entire product of the town in 1885 was $345,294. The valuation in 1888 was $1,218,530. The tax was $12.50 on $1,000.

There are two town-balls and seven school-houses, the school property being valued at $23,725. The four Sunday-school libraries aggregate above 1,500 volumes. At the pleasant village of Feeding Hills is a church edifice of the Congregationalists, who also have another at Agawam Centre. Besides these, the Baptists, Methodists, and the French Catholics each have a church in town.

Thomas Cooper, Abel Leonard and Thomas Merrick settled in this place about 1660. It was incorporated as the " Sixth Parish of Springfield," in 1757, containing then about 75 families. In 1773, it became the "Second Parish in West Springfield." The first church was formed November 19, 1762, and the Rev. Sylvanus Griswold was appointed pastor. The second Congregational church was organized September 5, 1819. The town was incorporated May 17, 1855, taking its name from the beautiful river which washes its northern border, then known only as the "Agawam."

pp. 105-106 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer