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[[Image:WesternMass ma highlight.png|300px|right]]
[[Image:WestMassGreen.JPG|frame|right|Map showing the counties typically considered to make up Western Massachusetts (dark green). Worcester County is considered to be either western or central Massachusetts (light green).]]
'''Western Massachusetts''' is a loosely defined geographical region of the [[U.S. state]] of [[Massachusetts]] which contains [[the Berkshires]], the [[Pioneer Valley]], and some or all of the [[Swift River Valley]]. The region is always considered to include [[Berkshire County, Massachusetts|Berkshire]], [[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin]], [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire]], and [[Hampden County, Massachusetts|Hampden]] counties, and the eastern parts of the [[Quabbin Reservoir]] watershed are sometimes included. The largest city in Western Massachusetts is [[Springfield, Massachusetts]], the region's economic, historic, and cultural capital.
There are 103 towns and 11 cities in Western Massachusetts, the largest of which is the City of [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]] in the [[Connecticut River Valley]]. There are four or five counties in Western Massachusetts, none of which currently serves any administrative purpose; they are: [[Hampden County, Massachusetts|Hampden]], [[Hampshire County, Massachusetts|Hampshire]], [[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin]], and [[Berkshire County|Berkshire Counties]]. [[Worcester County, Massachusetts|Worcester County]] is sometimes included, though most of it is properly considered [[Central Massachusetts]].
===The Connecticut River Valley===
The City of [[Springfield, Massachusetts]], which sits beside the [[Connecticut River]] amidst the wide [[Connecticut River Valley]], is Western Massachusetts' urban economic and cultural capital. Springfield lies only 24 miles north of [[Hartford, Connecticut]], Connecticut's state capital. The [[Hartford-Springfield]] region is known as the [[Knowledge Corridor]], due to its 29 colleges and universities, and 120,000 college students. Significant Massachusetts towns and cities in the Knowledge Corridor include [[Greenfield, Massachusetts|Greenfield]], [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]], [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]], [[Easthampton, Massachusetts|Easthampton]], [[Holyoke, Massachusetts|Holyoke]], [[Chicopee, Massachusetts|Chicopee]], [[West Springfield, Massachusetts|West Springfield]], [[East Longmeadow]], [[Longmeadow, Massachusetts|Longmeadow]], [[Ludlow, Massachusetts|Ludlow]], [[Agawam, Massachusetts|Agawam]], and [[Westfield, Massachusetts|Westfield]].
The Connecticut River Valley is an ancient downfaulted [[graben]] or [[rift valley]] that formed during the [[Mesozoic]] [[Era#Geological_era|Era]] when rifting developed in the [[Pangaea]] supercontinent to separate North America from Europe and South America from Africa. Secondary rifts branched off the main crustal fracture and this one was eventually occupied by the Connecticut River. [[Metacomet Ridge]] is a series of narrow [[Basalt|Traprock]] ridges where lava penetrated this rift zone, beginning at the northern end of the graben near Greenfield and extending south across Massachusetts and Connecticut to [[Long Island Sound]]. Fossil [[Connecticut River Valley trackways|dinosaur footprints]] in [[Holyoke, Massachusetts|Holyoke]] also represent the Mesozoic.
As continental [[glacier]]s receded near the end of the [[last glacial period]], a [[moraine]] at [[Rocky Hill, Connecticut]] dammed the river to create ephemeral [[Lake Hitchcock]], extending north some 200 miles (320 km.). Accumulation of fine sediments in this lake accounts for the valley's rich agricultural lands, which attracted settlers—mostly English [[Puritan]]s—as early as 1636. Although the Connecticut River Valley's soil is the richest in New England, many of its fields have been covered by urban and suburban development. Regardless, the valley remains [[New England]]'s most productive farmland. Tobacco, tomatoes, sweet corn and other vegetables are still produced there in commercial quantities.
===The Hill Towns===
The Hill Towns include the areas of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties west of and above the [[escarpment]] bordering the ancient rift valley through which the Connecticut River flows. Elevations increase from about 200 feet (60 meters) to at least 1,000 feet in the escarpment zone. On top, elevations rise gradually to the west. [[Williamsburg, Massachusetts|Williamsburg]] in Hampshire County and [[Becket, Massachusetts|Becket]] in Berkshire County are prominent Hill Towns.
Most of this region is a rolling upland of [[schist]], [[gneiss]] and other resistant [[Metamorphic rock|metamorphics]] with intrusions of [[pegmatite]] and [[granite]]. Scraping by continental [[glacier]]s during the Pleistocene left thin, rocky soil that supported hardscrabble [[Subsistence agriculture|subsistence farming]] before the [[Industrial Revolution]]. There was hardly a [[land run|land rush]] into such marginal land, but the uplands were slowly settled by farmers throughout most of the 18th century and organized into [[township]]s. Then in the early 1800s better land opened up in [[Western New York]] and the [[Northwest Territories]]. The hilltown agricultural population went into a long decline and fields began reverting to forest.
The 1,000 foot (300 meter) elevation difference between uplands and the Connecticut River Valley produced streams and rivers with gradients around 40'/mile (8 meters/km.) flowing through steep-sided valleys, notably the [[Westfield River|Westfield]] and [[Deerfield River]]s and their larger tributaries. Mills were built to exploit the kinetic energy of falling water and [[mill town]]s grew up around them, or [[company town]]s integrating production, residential and commercial activities.
The development of steam engines to free industrialization from reliance on water power brought about the so-called [[Second Industrial Revolution]] when [[History of rail transport|railroads]] were built along the rivers to take advantage of relatively gentle grades over the Appalachians. And so as hilltop farming towns declined in importance, industrial towns in the river valleys rose to local prominence. Today, many of Western Massachusetts' hill towns are popular tourist destinations, featuring scenic beauty and recreational facilities.
[[The Berkshires]] are celebrated for their beauty, autumn foliage, and artistic venues, e.g. Lenox's [[Tanglewood]], Becket's [[Jacob's Pillow]], and Stockbridge's [[Norman Rockwell Museum]]. There are many peaceful communities set among the Berkshires rolling "purple mountains;" the largest of which is the small city of [[Pittsfield, Massachusetts]].
By convention the Berkshires are confined to [[Berkshire County]] at the western end of Massachusetts, however geologically they are a westward continuation of uplands west of the Connecticut River and a southern extension of Vermont's [[Green Mountains]]. Maximum upland elevations increase nearly 1,000' (300 meters) from east to west, and 400' (120 meters) from south to north, so maximum elevations of The Berkshires proper are about 2,000' (600 meters) in the southwest and 2,400' (730 meters) in the northwest. The practical limit of agriculture is somewhat below 2,000' (600 meters). Above this climate and ecology become increasingly [[boreal ecosystem|boreal]] with acidic soils.
The Hilltown-Berkshire upland ends at the valley of the [[Housatonic River]] which flows south to Long Island Sound, and in the extreme north west of Massachusetts at the [[Hoosic River]], a tributary of the [[Hudson River|Hudson]]. From these valleys, uplands to the east appear as a rounded mountain range, rising some 1,600 feet (500 meters) although they are actually a [[plateau]]. West of the Housatonic-Hoosic valley system rises the narrower [[Taconic Range]] along the New York border. Upper tributaries of the Hoosic separate Massachusetts' highest peak, [[Mount Greylock]] 3,491' (1,064 meters) from both ranges, however Greylock's geology connects it with the Taconics.
===The Quabbin and Quaboag Regions===
In northern Massachusetts, the higher altitude area to the east of the Connecticut River Valley is known as the North Quabbin region. These northern municipalities include [[Warwick, Massachusetts|Warwick]], [[Orange, Massachusetts|Orange]], [[Petersham, Massachusetts|Petersham]], [[Phillipston, Massachusetts|Phillipston]], [[Wendell, Massachusetts|Wendell]], [[New Salem, Massachusetts|New Salem]], and [[Athol, Massachusetts|Athol]] near the [[New Hampshire]] border.
The South Quabbin region (formerly the Swift River Valley) includes the towns of [[Barre, Massachusetts|Barre]], [[Belchertown, Massachusetts|Belchertown]], [[Pelham, Massachusetts|Pelham]], [[Ware, Massachusetts|Ware]], [[Hardwick, Massachusetts|Hardwick]], [[Leverett, Massachusetts|Leverett]], and [[Shutesbury, Massachusetts|Shutesbury]]. This area once included the four "Lost Towns" of Enfield, Dana, Greenwich, and Prescott, which were destroyed to make way for the [[Quabbin Reservoir]].
Farther south, the area called the [[Quaboag River|Quaboag Hills]] includes [[Hampden, Massachusetts|Hampden]], [[Monson, Massachusetts|Monson]], [[Wales, Massachusetts|Wales]], [[Warren, Massachusetts|Warren]], [[Holland, Massachusetts|Holland]], and [[Wilbraham, Massachusetts|Wilbraham]] on the [[Connecticut]] border. Numerous other towns stretching east towards Worcester are sometimes included in the Quaboag Valley region.
Geology is similar to the Hilltown-Berkshire uplands with resistant metamorphic rocks overlain by thin and rocky soil. With less relief, the river valleys are less pronounced, but still moderately high gradient. The Quaboag Hills and Valley, the Quabbin Regions, and populated places stretching east towards Worcester are all locally known as "Hill Towns;" a term interchangeable with the Hill Towns west of the Pioneer Valley.
Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties, in the year 2000 collectively had 814,967 residents, a population greater than that of any one of the six smallest U.S. states. The population amounted to approximately 12.84% of the 2000 population of the entire state of Massachusetts, which was 6,349,097. [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_P001&-tree_id=4001&-transpose=N&-redoLog=false&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=04000US25&-geo_id=05000US25003&-geo_id=05000US25011&-geo_id=05000US25013&-geo_id=05000US25015&-search_results=04000US25&-_showChild=Y&-format=&-_lang=en&-show_geoid=Y] Its average [[population density]] is 293.07 inhabitants per square mile (113.16/km²), compared to 422.34/km² (1,093.87/sq mi) for the rest of Massachusetts, and 312.68/km² (809.83/sq mi) for the state as a whole.
Western Massachusetts' population is concentrated in the cities and suburbs along the Connecticut River in an urban axis surrounding Springfield that is contiguous with greater [[Hartford, Connecticut]] (i.e. the [[Knowledge Corridor]].) A secondary population concentration exists in the Housatonic-Hoosic valley due to the industrial heritage of Pittsfield and North Adams, and the development of tourism throughout that valley. This far-western zone is linked to [[New York City]] and [[Albany, New York]] more than with the rest of Massachusetts, however both populated zones are ultimately part of the [[Northeastern United States#The Northeast as a megalopolis|northeast megalopolis]]. The rest of Western Massachusetts is lightly populated, particularly the Hilltowns where densities below 50 persons per square mile (20 per km2) are the rule.
In descending order of size, its largest communities are: Springfield, Chicopee, Pittsfield, Westfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Agawam, West Springfield , [[Amherst Center, Massachusetts|Amherst Center]] (CDP), Easthampton, [[Longmeadow, Massachusetts|Longmeadow]] (CDP), [[North Adams, Massachusetts|North Adams]], and [[Greenfield, Massachusetts|Greenfield]] (CDP).
===Colonial and Early Federal period===
Western Massachusetts was originally settled by [[Native Americans in the United States|Native American]] societies including the [[Pocomtuc]], Nonotuck [[Mohawk nation|Mohawk]], [[Nipmuck]], and [[Mahican]]. The first European explorers were English [[Puritan]]s who, in 1635, ventured west from the [[Massachusetts Bay Colony]] settlement of [[Boston]] to the modern site of [[Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts|Metro Center]] [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]. In 1636, a group of English settlers - lured by the promise of a "great river" and New England's most fertile farmland - returned to Springfield and established a permanent colony. Only 24 miles south of Springfield, the [[Connecticut Colony]] settlement of [[Hartford]] had been established by [[Dutch people|Dutch]] merchants in 1635. In 1638, Springfield founder [[William Pynchon]] became embroiled in a legal dispute with one of the Connecticut Colony's leading citizens, Captain John Mason. Mason charged Pynchon (and Springfield,) with dominating the Indian corn and beaver pelt trade to the detriment of Hartford and the Connecticut Colony. The dispute, which Pynchon and Springfield lost in 1638, led to Springfield forever aligning with [[Massachusetts]] instead of the more logistically - and ideologically - obvious choice, [[Connecticut]]. Springfield lies only 4 miles north of Connecticut.
The most fertile land along the Connecticut River - from Springfield to Northampton - was settled from 1636 to 1654. In 1675, Springfield was burned to the ground during [[King Phillip's War]] - North America's first great war. In 1704 the French and their Native American allies led a [[Raid on Deerfield]], [[Massachusetts]], burning that town to the ground. Massachusetts' early agricultural settlements were confined to the Connecticut River Valley because it had - and has - New England's most productive farmland due to deposits of fine sediments from ancient Lake Hitchcock, and from the semi-regular flooding of the Connecticut River.
The Hill Towns west of the valley had been nearly scraped clean of soil by glaciers and were less attractive for agricultural uses. They were not settled until the early 18th century after immigration from the British Isles had shifted from Puritans to Scots-Irish. Subsistence farming predominated in this area.
In 1777, [[George Washington]] and [[Henry Knox]] selected Springfield for the site of the fledgling United States' [[Springfield Armory|National Armory]]. Built atop high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River, Washington and Knox agreed that Springfield provided an ideal location - beside a great river and at the confluence of major highways - that was also easily defensible, due to its citadel-like location, and its position upstream the Connecticut. For the next 200 years, the presence of the Springfield Armory would help to bring concentrated prosperity and innovation to Springfield and its surrounding towns.
After the American Revolution, a rebellion led by [[Daniel Shays]], a farmer from East Pelham, culminated in a small battle at the [[Springfield Armory|National Armory]] in Springfield. Shays and his followers, the Shaysites, hoped to win government reforms, including the issue of new currency and help for Continental soldiers who had incurred debts while fighting for independence. [[Shays' Rebellion]] is often considered the watershed event in the creation of the [[United States Constitution]]. Although crushed, this rebellion led [[Thomas Jefferson]] to declare that "a little revolution every twenty years or so is a good thing."
===Critical attitude toward Boston===
More than a few residents of Western Massachusetts take a critical attitude towards [[Boston, Massachusetts|Boston]], the state's capital and largest city. The belief held by this group is that the Massachusetts legislature and executive branch know little of and care little about Western Massachusetts - over 50% of the land in the state. Among the incidents that fuel this feeling:
*The dismantling, submerging and disincorporation of four Western Massachusetts towns, [[Prescott, Massachusetts|Prescott]], [[Enfield, Massachusetts|Enfield]], [[Greenwich, Massachusetts|Greenwich]] (formerly in Hampshire County) and [[Dana, Massachusetts|Dana]] (formerly in Worcester County), to build the [[Quabbin Reservoir]] that supplies water to Boston. Also disruption of small towns accompanying flood control projects such as [[North Branch Westfield River|Knightville Reservoir]] and Cobble Mountain Reservoir, and construction of the [[Massachusetts Turnpike]].
* Extreme inequities in additional state assistances per capita for Western Massachusetts cities compared with Eastern Massachusetts cities -- for example, in 2006, for every $278.66 Boston received, its neighbor Cambridge received $176.37, Greater Boston's westernmost city, Worcester, received $67.50, and the City of Springfield received a mere $12.04 per person.
*Former state House Speaker [[Tom Finneran]]'s use of parliamentary rules to deny Northampton an election to fill a vacant House seat.
*Abolishing of county governance placed formerly local property and employees under the direct administration of the eastern capital. This also affected representation of low-population/large-land rural towns which previously relied on their county seat in budgeting of road maintenance funding.
*The [[Big Dig (Boston, Massachusetts)|Big Dig]] is viewed by many as Boston diverting taxpayer money for solely its own benefit, while neglecting public works in the rest of the state, revitalizing the "Taxachusetts" moniker.
* In 2011, as Massachusetts is scheduled to lose a [[United States Congress|Congressional]] seat due to [[redistricting]], it has been widely speculated that Western Massachusetts will lose one of its two Congressional seats, while Eastern Massachusetts - featuring many districts with much more homogenous populations - will keep 10 Congressional seats.
Long a haven for small, independent businesses, Western Massachusetts has expressed conflicted feelings towards [[big box]] corporations, leading to controversies about zoning changes and variances that would allow companies such as [[Wal-Mart]] to build in Western Massachusetts towns. The debate has been particularly strong in northern towns; for example, in [[Greenfield, Massachusetts]] and [[Hadley, Massachusetts]].
Whereas Western Massachusetts was once the Republican stronghold in an otherwise heavily Democratic state, it is now consistently viewed by political analysts as one of the most politically liberal regions in the United States. In 2006 and 2010, the region voted heavily in favor of Democratic gubernatorial candidate [[Deval Patrick]].
In ''Crash!ng the Party'', [[Ralph Nader]] includes Western Massachusetts, along with [[Vermont]] and his home state of Connecticut, as one of the few places in the country where he believes small-town spirit is still strong. In a recent editorial, the Boston Globe berated communities in northern Western Massachusetts for resisting efforts to force consolidation of local school districts . In response, the Franklin County School Committee Caucus released a map that overlaid the county north-to-south over Metro Boston. The overlay reached from Rhode Island in the south to New Hampshire in the north and Framingham in the west.
==Colleges and universities==
The decline of manufacturing as the region's economic engine since World War II - and in particular, since the controversial closing of the [[Springfield Armory]] - was counterbalanced in Western Massachusetts by growth in post-secondary education and healthcare.
This created new jobs, land development, and had [[Gentrification|gentrifying]] effects in many [[college towns]]. State and community-funded schools (e.g., [[University of Massachusetts Amherst]] and [[Westfield State University]]) were conspicuous in their growth, as were the region's highly regarded [[liberal arts colleges]], including [[Williams College|Williams]] founded 1793, [[Amherst College|Amherst]] founded 1821, [[Mount Holyoke College|Mount Holyoke]] founded 1837, [[Smith College|Smith]] founded 1871, and [[American International College|American International]] founded 1885.
===Colleges and universities===
*[[American International College]]
*[[Bay Path College]]
*[[Berkshire Community College]]
*[[Conway School of Landscape Design]]
*[[Five Colleges (Massachusetts)|Five Colleges Association]]
*[[Greenfield Community College]]
*[[Hallmark Institute of Photography]]
*[[Holyoke Community College]]
*[[Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts]]
*[[Mount Holyoke College]]
*[[Simon's Rock College]]
*[[Springfield Technical Community College]]
*[[Tufts University School of Medicine]]
*[[University of Massachusetts Amherst]]
*[[Westfield State University]]
*[[Western New England College]]
==Contributions to culture==
*[[James Naismith]] invented [[basketball]] in [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]] in 1891. In honor of his invention, the [[Basketball Hall of Fame]] is located in Springfield.
*The [[Springfield Armory]], which operated from 1777 until its controversial close in 1968, is currently a [[National Park]], housing one of the world's largest arms collections. The Springfield Armory also produced the famous [[Springfield Rifle]] and [[M1 Garand rifle]]s for the [[United States Armed Forces]].
*[[Noah Webster]], who produced the first American [[Webster's Dictionary|dictionary]] in 1806, resided for ten years in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]]. The [[Merriam Webster]] dictionary company is located in Springfield.
*The [[Hoosac Tunnel]] which runs from [[Florida, Massachusetts|Florida, MA]] to [[North Adams, Massachusetts|North Adams, MA]] was once the second longest tunnel in the world and the longest tunnel in North America, and is still the longest transportation tunnel east of the [[Rocky Mountains]].
*New England's largest theme park, [[Six Flags New England]] is located in [[Agawam, Massachusetts|Agawam]].
*[[The Big E]], the New England States' collective state fair, takes place each September in [[West Springfield, Massachusetts|West Springfield]]
*In 1892, the first gasoline-powered car was produced in [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]] by [[Charles Duryea|Charles]] and [[J. Frank Duryea]].
*[[William G. Morgan]] invented [[volleyball]] in [[Holyoke, Massachusetts|Holyoke]] in 1895
*In 1901, the first American [[motorcycle]] company, [[Indian (motorcycle)|Indian Motocycle]] was founded in [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]].
*The [[Morgan horse]], the first distinctly American breed, was first bred in the late 1700s by Justin Morgan on the Morgan family farm off Birnie Avenue in [[West Springfield, Massachusetts|West Springfield]].
*The discovery of [[interchangeable parts]] for manufacturing was made by [[Thomas Blanchard]] in Springfield in 1819
*[[Granville Brothers Aircraft]], best known for the production of the Gee Bee Super Sportster air racers, were located at the Springfield Airport from 1929 until 1934.
*The first gasoline-powered fire engine was produced by [[Knox Automobile]] in Springfield in 1905.
*[[Norman Rockwell]] lived in [[Stockbridge, Massachusetts]], where he set many of his paintings.
*[[MassMutual]], [[Milton Bradley]], [[Merriam-Webster]], [[Spalding (sports equipment)|Spalding]], [[Smith and Wesson]], [[Yankee Candle Company]], [[Friendly's Ice Cream]], [[Peter Pan Bus]], [[Performance Food Group]], [[KB Toys]], [[Hampden Bank]], and [[Big Y]] corporations are all based in Western Massachusetts.
*[[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]] has a national reputation as a [[lesbian]] [[Wiktionary:mecca|mecca]]. It's also a bohemian destination, home to numerous live music venues, coffee shops, and alternative retail stores.
*[[Herman Melville]] wrote ''[[Moby Dick]]'' in his house, Arrowhead, in [[Pittsfield, Massachusetts]]
*The [[Clark Art Institute]] has a large collection of impressionist paintings.
*[[Edith Wharton]] penned her most famous works at her manion, The Mount, in [[Lenox, Massachusetts]].
*[[The Quadrangle]] in Springfield features five separate museums, including the United States' first planetarium and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden.
*[[Tanglewood]] in [[Lenox, Massachusetts]] is an outdoor music hall and the summer home of the [[Boston Symphony Orchestra]].
*[[Jacob's Pillow]] in [[Becket, Massachusetts]] is one of America's most famous dance companies.
*The [[Crane Paper Company]], based in [[Dalton, Massachusetts|Dalton]] produces the paper used by the [[U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing]] in making [[American dollar|American paper money]]
*American poet [[Emily Dickinson]] lived in [[Amherst, Massachusetts]], where she wrote nearly all of her poems.
*Junior Achievement was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1919
*[[Clarke School for the Deaf]] is located in Northampton. The school is renowned as being the first school in the United States to teach young deaf children to speak.
*[[MASS MoCA]], located in North Adams, is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country.
==Famous residents, past and present==
*[[Creighton Abrams]], U.S. Army General, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and Commander of Operations during the [[Vietnam War]] lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Elizabeth Banks]] actress seen in the [[Spider-Man]] franchise and [[The 40-Year-Old Virgin]], born and raised in [[Pittsfield]]
*[[Travis Best]], born and grew up in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Thomas Blanchard]], the inventor of [[interchangeable parts]] in manufacturing lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Samuel Bowles (journalist)]], renowned journalist, founder of the [[Springfield Republican]], and one of the founders of the [[United States Republican Party]] lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Milton Bradley]], famous game-maker from [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[John Brown (abolitionist)|John Brown]] began his career as an abolitionist in [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]]
*[[Nick Buoniconti]], professional football player in the [[NFL]] [[Pro Football Hall of Fame|Hall of Fame]] is from [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
* [[Thornton Burgess]], children's author, famous for "Peter Cottontail"
*[[Augusten Burroughs]], author of [[Running with Scissors (memoir)|Running With Scissors]], raised in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]].
*[[Eric Carle]], children's book author and illustrator of ''The Very Hungry Caterpillar'', among other things, currently lives in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
* [[John Cena]], WWE wrestler, lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
* [[Chester W. Chapin]], railroad magnate, lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Calvin Coolidge]] lived in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]], where he was mayor, before becoming Governor and then U.S. President
*[[Bill Cosby]] currently resides in [[Franklin County, Massachusetts|Franklin County]] in Shelburne.
*[[Matt Deis]], former bassist for [[CKY (band)|CKY]]
*[[Emily Dickinson]] spent her entire life in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]]
*[[W. E. B. Du Bois]] was born in [[Great Barrington, Massachusetts|Great Barrington]]
*[[Leo Durocher]], National League baseball player and manager was born and grew up in [[West Springfield, Massachusetts|West Springfield]]
*[[Kevin Eastman]] and [[Peter Laird]] created [[Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]] while living in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
*[[Jonathan Edwards (theologian)|Jonathan Edwards]], Puritan preacher and initiator of "The Great Awakening" lived in [[Northampton, Massachusetts]]
*[[Robert Frost]] spent several years of his life in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]]
*[[Dr. Seuss]] (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born and raised in the [[Forest Park, Springfield, Massachusetts|Forest Park]] neighborhood of [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]]
*[[Sylvester Graham]], dietary reformer, health food pioneer, inventor of graham flour, lived in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
*[[Arlo Guthrie]] attended school and later lived in [[Stockbridge, Massachusetts|Stockbridge]]
*[[Nathaniel Hawthorne]] American novelist and short story writer was born in Salem and later lived in the Berkshires
*[[Joseph Hooker]] was born in [[Hadley, Massachusetts|Hadley]]
*[[Charles Goodyear]] invented [[vulcanized rubber]] while living in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Kim Gordon]] and [[Thurston Moore]], of the band [[Sonic Youth]], live in [[Northampton]] with their daughter
*[[Penn Jillette]] was born and raised in [[Greenfield, Massachusetts|Greenfield]]
*[[Tracy Kidder]] lives in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
*[[Timothy Leary]], scientist, writer, and drug pioneer, was born in [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]]
*[[Rebecca Lobo]] was raised in Southwick, also had a street named in her honor, attended Southwick Tolland Regional School District.
*[[H. P. Lovecraft]] would spend time in [[Heath, Massachusetts|Heath]] where he would explore its rocky hills. It is believed that he used that landscape as a reference for some of the scenes in his stories mentioning "the blasted heath".
*[[Rabbit Maranville]], [[National Baseball Hall of Fame]] shortstop, was born and grew up in Springfield.
*[[J Mascis]] of [[Dinosaur Jr.]] was born and raised in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]]
*[[Charles McCarry]], American writer, resides in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
*[[Herman Melville]], American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet wrote Moby Dick from his home "Arrowhead" in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
*[[James Naismith]], invented basketball while a professor at [[Springfield College]] in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Larry O'Brien]], U.S. Postmaster General, Democratic National Committee chairman and Commissioner of the National Basketball Association lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]].
*[[Matthew Perry (actor)|Matthew Perry]] Born in [[Williamstown, Massachusetts]] known for his role in the hit sitcom Friends.
*[[William Pynchon]], the leader of the first settlement in Western Massachusetts, [[Springfield, Massachusetts|Springfield]], and also the author of the first [[banned book]] in the New World
*[[William Marsh Rice]], the founder of [[Rice University]] spent much of his life in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Norman Rockwell]] worked in [[The Berkshires]]
*[[Kurt Russell]], Hollywood actor, is from [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Joey Santiago]], guitarist for [[Pixies]], spent much of his youth in [[Longmeadow, Massachusetts|Longmeadow]] and met frontman [[Black Francis]] when they shared a dorm room at UMass Amherst.
*[[Daniel Shays]], the populist rebel for which [[Shay's Rebellion]] is named, lived in [[Pelham, Massachusetts]]; much of his rebellion focused on [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Maureen Stapleton]], film and theatre actress, lived in [[Lenox, Massachusetts|Lenox]]
*[[Staind]], the band, is from [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[James Taylor]] lives in The Berkshires and alludes to Western Massachusetts in his song "[[Sweet Baby James (song)|Sweet Baby James]]."
*[[Antonio Thomas]], Professional wrestler formerly with [[World Wrestling Entertainment|WWE]] lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Uma Thurman]] was raised in [[Amherst, Massachusetts|Amherst]]; her father taught at [[Amherst College]]
*[[Sojourner Truth]], African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist lived in [[Northampton, Massachusetts]] in the 1840s
*[[Kyle Vincent]], singer/songwriter/author lives in the Pioneer Valley
*[[Kurt Vonnegut]] lived in [[Northampton, Massachusetts|Northampton]]
*[[James MacNeill Whistler]], one of America's most famous painters, lived in [[Springfield, Massachusetts]]
*[[Jane Yolen]], author, spends half her time in Western Massachusetts, and half in [[Scotland]], but considers Western Mass her home.
* [http://www.susanbanthonybirthplace.com/ Susan B. Anthony Birthplace & Museum]
*[[Arrowhead (Herman Melville)]]
*[[Basketball Hall of Fame]]
*[[The Big E]]
*[[Clark Art Institute]]
*The [[Five Colleges (Massachusetts)|Five Colleges]] - [[Amherst College]], [[Hampshire College]], [[Mount Holyoke College]], [[Smith College]] and [[UMass Amherst]]
*[[Forest Park (Springfield, Massachusetts)|Forest Park]] in Springfield - one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. featuring a zoo and ''Bright Nights'' during the holidays.
*[[Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art]]
*[[Dickinson Homestead|Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens]]
*[[Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art|MassMoCA]]
*[[National Yiddish Book Center]]
*[[The Mount (Lenox, Massachusetts)|The Mount]]
*[[Norman Rockwell Museum]]
*[[Dr. Seuss Memorial]]
*[[Six Flags New England]]
*[[Skinner State Park]]
*The [[Springfield Armory]] [[National Park]]
*[[Springfield, Massachusetts]]' entertainment district
*[[Bridge of Flowers (bridge)|Shelburne Falls Bridge of Flowers]]
*[[Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum]]
*[[Berkshire East Ski Area]]
*[[Blandford Ski Area]]
*[[Ski Butternut]] - [[Great Barrington, Massachusetts|Great Barrington]]
*[[Jiminy Peak (ski area)|Jiminy Peak]]
*[[Bash Bish Falls State Park]]
*[[Mount Everett State Reservation]]
*[[Mount Tom (Massachusetts)|Mount Tom]]
== See also ==
* [[Area code 413]]
* [[Massachusetts geography]]
* [[Seven Sisters (colleges)]]
* [[Five Colleges (Massachusetts)|Five Colleges]]
* [[List of Massachusetts counties]]
* [http://www.granbyma.net/whattodoinpioneervalley.php What to Do in Pioneer Valley]
* [http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/ma_city_town.pdf Map of Massachusetts Cities and Towns]
* [http://explorewmass.blogspot.com/ ''Exploring Western Massachusetts''] (Local history blog)