Chronology of Westfield

Louis M. Dewey
Copyrighted, 1905, '10, '19, L.M.D.

1800. The new Great River bridge was made a toll bridge.
1802. March 3. Northwest corner of Feeding Hills was set off to West Springfield, (now Agawam).
1803. Second meeting house at Main and Meadow streets burned.
1811. In May, permission was granted to erect hay scales near "The Green."

A gun house was erected on Main street near White street.
1812. February 25. Hampden County was set off from old Hampshire.

On November 12, time of annual town meeting was changes from first Monday in April to second Monday in March. It was changed to first Monday in March in 1919.

Meeting house bell was tolled after the death of any person.

The War of 1812 was unpopular in New England. Few troops were furnished for anything except self-defense.

A company was raised at Westfield under Capt. A. G. Phelps to help Governor Strong and served at Boston in 1814.
1816. There were frost every month of the summer, severe draught, and very small crops.

The Ministerial Fund of the Town of Westfield was incorporated.
1817. November 16. Gen. William Shepard, the town's most famous son, died on Shepard street.
1819. November 13. First Sunday School opened.
1820. Hon. Samuel Fowler gave the site for the present town hall. The building was erected in 1837 for a town hall and a high school.
1823. The town voted to furnish stoves for the meeting house, the moderator casting the deciding vote.
1824. The first newspaper published in town was the Hampden Register.

School teachers were examined before being allowed to teach.

Seventy-five cents was a day's pay for work on the highways from March to September and fifty-eight cents for the other six months.

Reverend Emerson Davis

Reverend Emerson Davis was born in Ware, Massachusetts, graduating from Williams College in 1821; preceptor of Westfield Academy; tutor at Williams College; pastor of the First Congregational Church, 1835-66; member of the first State Board of Education and instrumental in getting the State Normal School located in Westfield in 1844. He was a remarkable man in society and educational activities and was loved by every Westfield citizen of his time. While pastor at the First Church he lived in the parsonage which stood where Hamilton and Atwater's store stands to-day.
1825. The town's system of finance was revised and the old burying ground was enlarged. New lots were sold at auction.

Hampden Bank was organized, which became a national bank in 1865.
1826. Rough and Ready fire company was organized.
1827. Canal from New Haven north was began. It was opened to Main street in 1830 and operated about seventeen years.
1829. Methodist meeting house was erected at Mundale (then Hooppole).

First Congregational Church Society was separated from the town.

First boat was launched in town, the canal boat "General Sheridan."
1830. Experiment of burning coal brought by canal from New Haven given up as too expensive, with wood at $1.50 a cord.
1832. There was a serious cholera epidemic.

Names were given to the streets.
1834. First map of the town was published complying with the state law passed in 1831.

Suction fire engine was purchased.

Mechanic street was laid out, the first to be opened for small residences.
1835. Westfield Green was located and fenced.
1837. Town voted $3,000 for a new town house and high school in April. First firemen appointed to care for apparatus.

Boundary dispute with Southwick settled.

The Surplus Fund, the town's share in the U. S. Bank, was used for the support of the common schools of the town.
1839. Bad flood, water covering the Green.
1840. Manufacture of cigars and plug tobacco was started in town.
1841. First train on the Western Railroad (now the Boston and Albany) went through to Chester.

Washington street opened.

Town farm purchased.

Pine Hill Cemetery opened.

Town Hall and Third Meeting House

Town Hall and Third Meeting House

1842. "Hooppole," changed to West Parish.

Brick yard was opened south of Great River near the canal aqueduct.
1844. State Normal School was transferred to Westfield, having been opened at Barre in 1839. It is the second oldest in America.

William A. Johnson began to make church organs at 273 Elm street.
1845. Woronoco Lodge, I. O. O. F., instituted.
1852-3. The canal was purchased by the Hampden Railroad, and Northampton and Westfield Railroad. The two railroads were chartered and combined. Line opened about two years later. Station south of Main street.

Two fire engine companies now in town, "Rough and Ready" and "Bay State."
1854. H. B. Smith and Co. began business on Main street.
1855. St. Mary's Cemetery was laid out on Northampton road.

Telegraph office was opened in railroad station.

A high school was established in the town hall.
1856. Mount Moriah Lodge. Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was instituted.
1857. A new academy building of brick was built. The old wooden building known as East Hall became the rear ell until burned in November, 1890. Town bought the buildings in 1867 and moved the high school from the town hall into them.

Mr. Abner Gibbs became principal and held the position until his death.
1858. Brick sidewalks were built from the Green to Great River bridge, also on north side of School street, and south side of Main street to the railroad. First tar walk was laid south from Great River bridge about 1890.
1859. Park and Tree Association was organized.
1860. Town hall was repaired, stone steps built, and gas put in.
1861-2. Eleven gas street lamps were installed.

Fire department was established.
1861-65. Civil was activities. Town furnished more that 575 men, 66 never came back.
First National Bank, the first in the state, incorporated, having been organized in 1863.
1866. Young Men's Christian Association organized, later building on Elm street, dedicated September 29, 1901.
1868. Crane Brothers began making paper on Mill street, having bought out Jere Horton.
1869. First police officers were appointed.

Town clock was set in spire of First Congregational Church.

Town celebrated Bicentennial of its incorporation, October 6, just after having been flooded by Great River breaking through its dike and causing damage of $60,000.

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