South Hadley, Massachusetts
The First Congregational Church and, in the background, the South Hadley Post Office and Village Commons
The First Congregational Church and, in the background, the South Hadley Post Office and Village Commons
Official seal of South Hadley, Massachusetts
Agriculture, Education, Manufactures
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°15′30″N 72°34′30″W / 42.25833°N 72.57500°W / 42.25833; -72.57500
CountryUnited States
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town AdministratorMichael Sullivan
 • Total18.4 sq mi (47.6 km2)
 • Land17.7 sq mi (45.9 km2)
 • Water0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
257 ft (78 m)
 • Total18,150
 • Density1,025.4/sq mi (395.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code413
FIPS code25-64145
GNIS feature ID0618208

South Hadley (/ˈhædl/ , HAD-lee)[1] is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,150 at the 2020 census.[2] It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

South Hadley is home to Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley High School, Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, and the Berkshire Hills Music Academy.


A flatboat typical of those used in the South Hadley Canal through the early 19th century

South Hadley was an unsettled area of Hadley from 1659 until 1721, when English settlers moved in from Hadley.[3] A separate town meeting was held in 1753, and the town was officially split and incorporated in 1775.[3][4]

The town is the home of the nation's first successful navigable canal[5] as well as the oldest continuing institution of higher education for women (Mount Holyoke College).

The Civil War Monument (believed to be by Jerome Connor)[6] in the center of the Commons was given to South Hadley by William H. Gaylord in the 1900s. The Gaylords also donated the Gaylord Memorial Library, located near the center of town.[7]


South Hadley is located in the western part of Massachusetts, specifically in the Pioneer Valley. It is bordered on the north by Hadley and Amherst, on the east by Granby, and on the south by Chicopee. The Connecticut River defines the town's western border and separates it from the cities of Holyoke and Easthampton. South Hadley is 45 miles (72 km) south of Brattleboro, Vermont, 87 miles (140 km) west of Boston, and 145 miles (233 km) from New York City.

Although no interstate highways cross South Hadley's borders, U.S. Route 202, and Massachusetts Highways 33, 47, and 116 provide primary routes of transportation. Interstate 91 can be accessed in Holyoke while Interstate 90 is accessible through Chicopee. Westover Metropolitan Airport is located in neighboring Chicopee and offers air services throughout the region. Bradley International Airport, serving the greater HartfordSpringfield area, is located 17 miles (27 km) to the south. The closest Amtrak station is the Holyoke station.

Commercial blocks in the Village Commons by Mount Holyoke College (top) and South Hadley Falls (bottom)

The Village Commons, a center for dining, shopping, and leisure, is located at the juncture of Massachusetts Routes 116 and 47, in the area commonly called South Hadley Center. Additional commercial centers are located on Massachusetts Route 33 and farther south on Route 116, including South Hadley Falls, which is across the river from Holyoke. South Hadley is also the home of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest continuously operating institution of higher education for women, founded in 1837.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.4 square miles (48 km2), of which 17.7 square miles (46 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (3.70%) is water. The mountain range called the Holyoke Range or Mount Holyoke Range passes through the north of the town and separates it from Hadley and Amherst. There are 12 reservoirs in the town fed by eight distinct streams and also six natural ponds.


The first confirmed evidence of a dinosaur to be found in North America was unearthed in South Hadley by Pliny Moody while plowing in 1802, 40 years before dinosaurs were identified as a fossil group. The sandstone slab bearing large, mysterious footprints was later purchased by Elihu Dwight, who gave the prints the name of "Noah's Raven". Professor Edward Hitchcock then obtained the slab, which is now on prominent display in the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. Hitchcock believed the fossils were made by gigantic ancient birds, long before scientists accepted that modern birds and dinosaurs are related.[8][9]


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 17,196 people, 6,586 households, and 4,208 families residing in the town. The population density was 971.0 inhabitants per square mile (374.9/km2). There were 6,784 housing units at an average density of 383.1 per square mile (147.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.05% White, 1.20% African American, 0.12% Native American, 2.53% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.36% of the population.

There were 6,586 households, out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. Of all households, 30.4% were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 19.6% under the age of 18, 14.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 72.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 65.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $46,678, and the median income for a family was $58,693. Males had a median income of $42,256 versus $31,219 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,732. About 4.1% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.8% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.


Although South Hadley's economy has changed greatly in the last two centuries, reflecting the trends of the Commonwealth and country, today it still retains businesses in agriculture, education, and manufacturing. With Mount Holyoke College being by far the largest employer in the area,[22] a number of other contractors, service providers, and businesses support the college. Additionally the area maintains a small agricultural sector with several farms,[23] and is home to several small machine shops and manufacturing firms, including a research and manufacturing facility of the E Ink Corporation.[24]


Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, winter 2016.
Gaylord Memorial Library

Mount Holyoke College, a member of the Five College Consortium, and the oldest of the Seven Sisters colleges, is located in South Hadley.

South Hadley High School is home of the 2004 state champion lacrosse team that won Division II with the smallest high school enrollment of all 81 teams. It is also home of the 2022 Division IV Boys Soccer State Champions, as well as the 2019 Division III Girls Soccer State Champions. It also won the 2005 Division IA Super Bowl in football. The 2008 boys' golf team won the Division 1 state championship. The Tigers Hockey team, composed of students from Holyoke, Granby, and South Hadley High Schools, has won WMass Championships in 1989, 2010, 2012, and 2017 as well as the 2009 and 2011 Massachusetts Division IIIA Ice Hockey State Championship. The South Hadley football team won the Division II Super Bowl vs. Putnum in 2010 after completing a season with only one loss to Division I for Longmeadow. The baseball team won the Division II Massachusetts' state championship in 2012.

The South Hadley High School Marching Band has competed in the state and/or New England USSBA Championship each year. In 2005 they placed second nationally and won Best Percussion. In 2006 they won the United States Marine Corps Esprit De corps award, second place in USSBA, and Best Percussion. In 2007 they took the best percussion for the third year in a row, Massachusetts USSBA championship, New England Championship, and seventh place in the Northern States championship. In 2008 they repeated as best percussion (for the fourth straight year) and seventh place in the Northern States championship. South Hadley continues to have one of the only competitive marching band programs in all of Western Massachusetts.

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School is a public charter school located in South Hadley, focusing in the performing arts.

Berkshire Hills Music Academy (BHMA), founded in 1999 and opened in 2001, is a private post-secondary residential school for young adults with learning or developmental disabilities.[25] The school is located on 40 acres (16 ha) at the former Joseph Skinner estate.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Hadley". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: South Hadley town, Hampshire County, Massachusetts". Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "History And Antiquities of Every Town In Massachusetts" by John Warner Barber, 1848.
  4. ^ South Hadley town website - Historical milestones Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ The Role of the South Hadley Canal in Western New England's Development Archived 2014-05-21 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Early Artisans: Jerome Connor- Elbert Hubbard: An American Original. PBS (1943-08-20). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
  7. ^ Gaylord Memorial Library Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Collections | Ichnology". Amherst College. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. ^ Meszaros, John (December 12, 2017). "The First Scientist to Study Dinosaur Footprints Thought Giant Birds Made Them". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  11. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  22. ^ Largest Employers, Economic Outlook 2016 (PDF) (Report). BusinessWest. December 14, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "CISA - Directory". CISA. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  24. ^ Cahill, Patricia (February 7, 2011). "E Ink of South Hadley is the secret behind the success of the Nook and Kindle E-readers". The Republican. Springfield, Mass.
  25. ^ "Berkshire Hills Music Academy". Berkshire Hills Music Academy. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  26. ^ "DANIEL T. BARRY (M.D., PH.D.)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  27. ^ "Joseph Brodsky, Exiled Poet Who Won Nobel, Dies at 55", The New York Times
  28. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle Almanac. 1890. p. 149. Retrieved March 25, 2016. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  29. ^ Massachusetts Election Statistics 1970. p. 63.
  30. ^ Chimelis, Ron (July 20, 2009). "South Hadley's Lesley Visser a sports journalism pioneer". MassLive. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  31. ^ "WHITE, Phineas, (1770 - 1847)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  32. ^ Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, Vol 17, online database, The Generations Network Inc., Provo, Utah (1998); original data from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, Vol. 17, Wright and Potter Printing Co., Boston (1896), pp. 798–800.
  33. ^ Frothingham, Richard, Jr.: History of the Siege of Boston and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, Second Edition, published by Charles C. Little and James Brown, Boston (1851), Chapters V and VII, regarding the Bunker Hill Battle, pp. 136, 183.