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Greenfield, Massachusetts
City of Greenfield
The Civil War Memorial on Court Square
The Civil War Memorial on Court Square
Flag of Greenfield, Massachusetts
Official seal of Greenfield, Massachusetts
Location in Franklin County in Massachusetts
Location in Franklin County in Massachusetts
Greenfield, Massachusetts is located in the United States
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Greenfield, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Franklin
Settled 1686
Incorporated 1753
 • Type Mayor-council city
 • Total 21.88 sq mi (56.65 km2)
 • Land 21.41 sq mi (55.46 km2)
 • Water 0.46 sq mi (1.20 km2)
250 ft (76 m)
 • Total 17,768
 • Density 829.9/sq mi (320.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-27025
GNIS feature ID 0618166

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.

Greenfield is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


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 BCE. 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. This theory may be an example of the principle of vacuum domicilium, a frequently used justification for the displacement of native peoples. 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.

The area was colonized as part of Deerfield by the English in 1686. In 1753, Greenfield, named for the Green River, was incorporated as a separate town from Deerfield.

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.


Greenfield Square Marker
The road marker in Court Square

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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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


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 nearest general aviation airport is located in the Turners Falls section of Montague, and the nearest national air service is at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.


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.


NHS Shuttle at New Haven
Engine and single-car train for the New Haven–Springfield Shuttle. Expanded train service connecting Greenfield to points south to New Haven began in Summer 2019, and has been named the Valley Flyer

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.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 2,580 —    
1860 3,198 +24.0%
1870 3,589 +12.2%
1880 3,903 +8.7%
1890 5,252 +34.6%
1900 7,927 +50.9%
1910 10,427 +31.5%
1920 15,462 +48.3%
1930 15,500 +0.2%
1940 15,672 +1.1%
1950 17,349 +10.7%
1960 17,690 +2.0%
1970 18,116 +2.4%
1980 18,436 +1.8%
1990 18,666 +1.2%
2000 18,168 −2.7%
2010 17,456 −3.9%
2020 17,768 +1.8%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
U.S. Decennial Census
The First Post Office, Greenfield, MA
The first post office c. 1910
The Weldon, Greenfield, MA
The Weldon Hotel in 1913

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.

Points of interest

Greenfield Public Library, Greenfield, MA
Leavitt-Hovey House/Greenfield Public Library c. 1910
  • 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.


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 schools

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.

Private schools

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 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.

Higher education

Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, which serves the northern Pioneer Valley and offers some courses to Greenfield High students seeking advanced learning opportunities.

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.

Notable people

Tower on Poet's Seat Greenfield MA
Poet's Seat Tower c. 1915
  • Charles Allen, jurist
  • Christopher Baldwin, comic strip artist (Bruno)
  • Stan Batinski, football player
  • Asher Benjamin, architect
  • Stan Benjamin, baseball player, teacher, coach and scout
  • Peter Bergeron, baseball player
  • Titus Billings, religious pioneer
  • Silas Bullard, Wisconsin state legislator and jurist
  • Misha Collins, television and film actor
  • Scott Crago, musician
  • Kelly Doton, field hockey player
  • Tracy Grammer, singer-songwriter
  • George Grennell, Jr., congressman
  • John W. Haigis, State of Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor (1929–1933), State House of Representatives, State Senator
  • Van Hansis, actor (As the World Turns)
  • Kevin Hassett, economist & author (now lives in Washington, D.C.)
  • Herbert Huncke, Beat Generation figure
  • Penn Jillette, illusionist & comedian, half of Penn & Teller magician team
  • Jake Lacy, actor
  • Robin Lane, musician
  • L. L. Langstroth, the “Father of American Beekeeping”
  • Jonathan Leavitt, lawyer, judge, state senator & banker
  • Roger Hooker Leavitt, prominent abolitionist
  • Winter Miller, playwright (In Darfur)
  • Michael Moschen, juggler
  • Nicco, singer songwriter
  • Steve Partenheimer, baseball player
  • George Ripley, Transcendentalist and founder of the Brook Farm communal experiment
  • John E. Russell, congressman
  • Paul Fitzpatrick Russell, Roman Catholic archbishop and diplomat
  • Rufus Saxton, brigadier general
  • Bennett Jones Sims, Episcopal bishop
  • Charles Pomeroy Stone, army officer & engineer
  • Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, poet
  • Fred Wallner, football player
  • William B. Washburn, congressman & governor
  • Rev. Samuel Merrill Woodbridge (1819–1905), Reformed minister, author, and professor at Rutgers College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary

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