Palmer, Massachusetts facts for kids

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Palmer, Massachusetts
City
St. Paul's Church
St. Paul's Church
Official seal of Palmer, Massachusetts
Seal
Nickname(s): "Town of Seven Railroads"
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled 1727
Incorporated 1775
Area
 • Total 32.0 sq mi (82.9 km2)
 • Land 31.5 sq mi (81.7 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Elevation 330 ft (101 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 12,497
 • Density 396.3/sq mi (153.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01069
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-52105
GNIS feature ID 0619387
Website Town of Palmer, Massachusetts

Palmer is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,140 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Palmer adopted a home rule charter in 2004 with a council-manager form of government. Palmer is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of” in their official names.

The villages of Bondsville, Thorndike, Depot Village, and Three Rivers are located in the town.

History

Palmer is composed of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village, typically referred to simply as "Palmer" (named for the ornate Union Station railroad terminal designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson), Thorndike, Three Rivers, and Bondsville. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth. Today, each village has its own post office, and all but Thorndike have their own fire station.

Palmer was originally a part of Brimfield but separated after being too far from Brimfield. Palmer's first settler was John King. King was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England, and built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Quaboag River. The area as then known was called "The Elbow Tract". In 1731, a deed to land in today's Palmer renamed the town 'New Marlborough' after Marlborough, Massachusetts in today's Middlesex County. In 1731, residents of the borough renamed the town 'Kingsfield', after the aforementioned John King. Though in some papers in the Massachusetts General Court, it was referred to as the Elbow. A large group of Scots-Irish Presbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. Finally in 1752, it was named Palmer after Chief Justice Palmer. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer.

Depot Village became Palmer's main commercial and business center during the late 19th century and remains so today. Palmer's industry developed in Bondsville. During the 18th century, saw and grist mills were established by the rivers, and by 1825 Palmer woolen mills began to produce textiles. The Blanchard Scythe Factory, Wright Wire Woolen Mills, and the Holden-Fuller Woolen Mills developed major industrial capacity, and constructed large amounts of workers' housing. By 1900, Boston Duck (which made heavy cotton fabric) had over 500 employees in the town. The 20th century brought about a shift of immigrants in Palmer from those of French and Scottish origin to those of primarily Polish and French-Canadian extraction.

Fire and water districts

Unlike many Massachusetts communities, The Town of Palmer does not have its own water department. Instead Palmer, Bondsville and Three Rivers each have their own water department and their own fire department. Each fire department has its own fire chief, as there is no town-wide chief. Thorndike does not have its own fire department or water department instead contracting out with Palmer. The Thorndike Fire Department was disbanded following World War II.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 32.0 square miles (82.9 km²), of which 31.5 square miles (81.7 km²) are land and 0.5 square mile (1.3 km²) (1.53%) is water. The town is bordered by Ludlow and Wilbraham on the southwest, Belchertown on the northwest, Ware on the northeast, Warren on the east, Brimfield on the southeast, and Monson on the south.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,497 people, 5,078 households, and 3,331 families residing in the town. The population density was 396.3 people per square mile (153.0/km²). There were 5,402 housing units at an average density of 171.3 per square mile (66.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.82% White, 0.75% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.23% of the population.

There were 5,078 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $41,443, and the median income for a family was $49,358. Males had a median income of $35,748 versus $26,256 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,664. About 5.8% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Camp Ramah in New England is located in Palmer.


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