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Ludlow, Massachusetts
Ludlow Town Green
Ludlow Town Green
Flag of Ludlow, Massachusetts
Flag
Official seal of Ludlow, Massachusetts
Seal
Nickname(s): 
Soccer City, The Bubble, Mini Portugal, Jute Town (archaic)
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled 1751
District March 29, 1774
Incorporation August 23, 1775
Government
 • Type Representative town meeting
Area
 • Total 28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)
 • Land 27.2 sq mi (70.3 km2)
 • Water 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)
Elevation
550 ft (168 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 21,002
 • Density 772.1/sq mi (298.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
01056
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-37175
GNIS feature ID 0618187
Website http://www.ludlow.ma.us/

Ludlow is a New England town in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 21,002 as of the 2020 census, and it is considered part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located just northeast of Springfield across the Chicopee River, it is one of the city's suburbs. It has a sizable and visible Portuguese and Polish community.

History

MA Route 21 northbound entering Ludlow, MA
Put's Bridge looking towards Ludlow

Although plans were drawn up for settlement as early as 1685, within the original boundaries of Springfield, Massachusetts was settled in 1751 as Stony Hill Parish. However, the town was later renamed Ludlow and incorporated as a separate entity in 1774, just before the breakout of the American Revolution. For much of its early history the town was agrarian and today many of Ludlow's street names are derived from the names of these farming families (e.g. Chapin Street, Miller Street, Alden Street, Fuller Street). Ludlow was home to many sawmills and gristmills, utilizing the power from several sources of water nearby, the Chicopee River, Broad Brook, Higher Brook, and Stony Brook. Before the Civil War, the town began to develop into a mill town. This included the manufacturing of glass bottles by the many glassware companies, including John Sikes. The District was renamed from Stony Hill to Ludlow for reasons unknown to this day. Then Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Thomas Hutchinson renamed the town from the District of Stony Hill to Ludlow. The town of Ludlow was possibly named after Roger Ludlow, one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony or named after Ludlow, a town in England.

In 1868, the largest mill was opened and operated by the Ludlow Company (The Ludlow Clock Tower is depicted on the town seal), who produced jute yarns, twine, and webbing. This company helped shape the town by providing housing, a library, schools, playgrounds, and even a clubhouse for the increasingly diverse community. In the 20th century, this company moved to India and is now known as Ludlow Jute and Specialties of Mumbai.

In the early 20th century Ludlow developed from a mill town into a streetcar suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts, with a trolley line running over the bridge from Indian Orchard. Ludlow also had two railroads that traversed the town: the Springfield, Athol and North-eastern Railroad and the Hamden Railroad. The Hamden Railroad was closed and Interstate 90 was constructed over its former tracks. The Springfield, Athol, and Northeastern Railroad was reduced in length in the late 1930s as a result of the creation of Quabbin Reservoir. The train station for this line was at the corner of Winsor Street and Sewall Street and was the last station from Boston when the railroad closed in the 1950s. The train station was demolished in 1960. In 1981, the Stony Brook Power Plant was constructed in the town providing 517 Megawatts of electricity to 24 municipalities. In 1983, the plant became the first combined-cycle power plant in Massachusetts.

Ludlow's population boomed in the 1950s with the creation of Interstate 90, known in Massachusetts as the Massachusetts Turnpike. John F. Thompson, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Massachusetts General Court at the time, was influential in gaining an exit on the Turnpike for Ludlow (now Exit 7) and subsequently the Turnpike influenced the growth of Ludlow as a suburb of Springfield. Since the 1950s, the development of numerous subdivisions has added to Ludlow's growth.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73 km2), of which 27.1 square miles (70 km2) are land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) (3.83%) is water. Ludlow is bordered by Chicopee on the west, Granby on the north, Belchertown on the northeast, Palmer on the east, Wilbraham on the south, and Springfield on the southwest.

Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1790 560 —    
1850 1,186 +111.8%
1860 1,174 −1.0%
1870 1,136 −3.2%
1880 1,526 +34.3%
1890 1,939 +27.1%
1900 3,536 +82.4%
1910 4,948 +39.9%
1920 7,470 +51.0%
1930 8,876 +18.8%
1940 8,181 −7.8%
1950 8,660 +5.9%
1960 13,805 +59.4%
1970 17,580 +27.3%
1980 18,150 +3.2%
1990 18,820 +3.7%
2000 21,209 +12.7%
2010 21,103 −0.5%
2020 21,002 −0.5%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,209 people living in the town. The population density was 752.1 people per square mile (290.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.78% White, 2.19% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, and 1.09% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.47% of the population.

Culture

Downtown Ludlow MA
Downtown Ludlow

Portuguese-Americans make up 21% of the population of the town. The Portuguese church Our Lady of Fatima puts on an annual Festa, which is one of the most significant cultural events for Portuguese-Americans in the country. Ludlow is also home to many who are of Polish and French Canadian descent. Soccer is an extremely popular sport in Ludlow. The town's high school soccer team is the most dominant in Western Mass and has recently been ranked 16th nationally by the NSCAA and has won many state championships as well, including the most recent one in 2011. The town is also home to the amateur Gremio Lusitano, and the Western Mass Pioneers and Western Mass Lady Pioneers professional soccer teams. The Pioneers play in the USL Second Division while the Lady Pioneers compete in the USL W-League. Both teams play their home games at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow. In 1996, the National Soccer Hall of Fame added Ludlow to its soccer history display.

Transportation

Ludlow is located at exit 54 on I-90, known as the Massachusetts Turnpike. State Highway 21 connects Ludlow to Springfield and Belchertown, and there are local bus routes to Springfield.

Bradley International Airport is 23 miles away and Logan International Airport is 77 miles away in Boston. There are bus stops along Center St., Winsor St. and East St. that connect Ludlow to Springfield.

The town once had a train station and almost featured two railroads. The first railroad was the Springfield, Athol and North-eastern Railroad which connected between Boston and New York. There was a spur of the railroad going to Athol but was cut off by the formation of the Quabbin Reservoir in the late 1930s. Ludlow was the last stop until 1960 when the train station shut down. The train later shut down shortly thereafter. The second railroad was an unopened bypass for the Springfield and Albany Railroad called the Hampden Bypass. It was built in the 1910s but the funding collapsed and never opened. The at grade was later used as the Massachusetts Turnpike from the Chicopee border to the Minnechaog Mountain curve about where Miller and East streets are today and continued onto Palmer. Several of the concrete structures still remain in the less populated areas of Ludlow.

Education

The town is served by two public elementary schools, East Street School and Harris Brook Elementary School. Previously students attended elementary school based on their residence, but starting with the 2009–2010 school year a reorganization plan took effect in which preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade attend East Street, and grades 2–5 attend Harris Brook. There is one public middle school, Paul R. Baird Middle School, and Ludlow High School is the town's only public high school.

The town also features St. John the Baptist, a private school serving grades K–8 affiliated with St. Elizabeth Parish. The nearest vocational high school is Pathfinder High School in Palmer.

The nearest community colleges are Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College. The nearest state universities are the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Westfield State University. The nearest private colleges from the center of Ludlow are Western New England University, American International College, and Springfield College, all in Springfield.

Notable people

  • Chester W. Chapin (1798–1883), businessman and a Massachusetts state representative
  • Nicole Fiorentino (born 1979), bass guitarist for the band Smashing Pumpkins
  • Gabriel Gonzaga (born 1979), UFC fighter
  • Dean Lombardi (born 1958), former general manager of the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks of the NHL
  • Tom Matera (born 1981), World Wrestling Entertainment star, known as Antonio Thomas
  • Mike Mushok (born 1969), guitarist from the rock band Staind
  • Gretchen Palmer (born 1961), actress
  • Fred Pereira (born 1954), professional soccer player
  • Elisha K. Root (1808–1865), industrialist and inventor of the die-casting technique
  • John F. Thompson (1920–1965), Massachusetts state representative who served as House Speaker
  • Maura West (born 1972), actress, known for her role in the soap opera As the World Turns
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