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The Town of Easthampton is a residential and manufacturing community located in Hampshire County, approximately 14 miles north of Springfield and 96 miles west of Boston. The town, with roughly 13.6 square miles of land area is a broad, relatively level valley bordered on the east by the steep slopes of Mount Tom. Easthampton's downtown maintains a New England village character which is an architecturally attractive and historically significant feature of the community. The first settlers arrived in Easthampton around 1664, and the town was incorporated in 1785. Easthampton was an agrarian village until the mid-1800's when manufacturing became a major force in the local economy. Mills proliferated along the banks of the Manhan taking advantage of the water power. In 1861, the Nashawannuck Company became the first U.S. manufacturer to successfully use vulcanized rubber in woven goods. Industrial expansion continued into the 20th century, and by 1927 Easthampton had a dozen factories producing yarn, thread, buttons and elastic materials. Residents are committed to promoting industry and a central downtown area. Many area towns have become bedroom communities and succumbed to commercialstrip development; Easthampton is fighting to focus on the Easthampton center and industrial areas as the place for economic development. Easthampton today has twenty manufacturing firms which create 46% of the jobs in Easthampton. Several firms have headquarters or major plants in Easthampton, including Stanhome, Inc., the National Felt Company, Kellogg Brush Manufacturing Company and Tubed Products, Inc. Easthampton's location gives the town favorable access to prime transportation routes. Two highway corridors, Routes 10 and 141, serve the town. Route 10 runs north-south and provides direct access to east connecting it with I-91 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. Easthampton offers numerous opportunities for education and recreation. Nonotuck Park is a beautiful regional recreation area containing 190 acres for active and passive activities. The Massachusetts Audubon Society manages the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary which provides educational programs for adults and children. The Manhan River flows past the center of the town eventually reaching the Connecticut River, and there is fishing on Nashawannuck Pond. Easthampton is also home to the Williston Northampton School, a private secondary college prep school which recently received a blue ribbon educational award, ranking it one of the top private schools inthe country.
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