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The Town of Northfield was an early attraction for colonial settlers due to its rich and fertile plains along the Connecticut River, and Europeans had begun farming there in 1673. However, its history was bumpy and the town was twice abandoned before a permanent settlement was achieved in 1714. Northfield's early fame was based on land, but its later international reputation was built on missionaries. The town was known for producing large numbers of Protestant missionaries. In 1879, Northfield Seminary was established. The girls' school later grew into the Mount Hermon School and became co-educational. With 450 employees, Northfield-Mount Hermon School is the third largest employer in Franklin County. Northeast Utilities sited their pumped-storage hydroelectric facility in Northfield and use the location for a wildlife exhibit and visitor center. The utility company also provides boat tours on the Connecticut River and has year-round recreational and education programs, including cross-country skiing. Northfield is also one of the cultural centers of Franklin County as the site of the Bolger Arts Center, theater group and community chorus. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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