(previously known as Cold Spring
and Belcher's Town
) is a town
in Hampshire County
, United States
. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area
. The population was 12,968 at the 2000 census. It is the home of Belchertown High School
, and the infamous Belchertown State School
mental institution (closed in 1992).
Part of the town is part of the census-designated place of Belchertown.
Belchertown was first settled in 1731 and was officially incorporated in 1761. At first it was nothing but a resting place at a spring for travelers. Eventually people set up residence there and opened up shops, and it was dubbed Cold Spring (although some people accidentally referred to it as Cole's Spring, as that was the name of one of the shopkeepers). Once it grew large enough the people of Cold Spring wanted to become an official town. This required an inspection of the governor of Massachusetts
at the time, Jonathan Belcher
. Request after request poured in, but he never bothered coming. Eventually they decided to name the town honor of him in hopes that he would decide to come, but died first. The next governor did inspect the town, and Belcher's body is buried in the town's first graveyard.
In 1816, part of Belchertown was combined with part of the town of Greenwich, Massachusetts to form Enfield, Massachusetts. In 1938, Enfield and Greenwich were two of the four towns that were disincorporated in 1938 to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, and part of Enfield was merged back into Belchertown.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the town has a total area of 55.4 square miles
), of which, 52.7 square miles (136.6 km²) of it is land and 2.6 square miles (6.8 km²) of it (4.77%) is water.
- Barrett's Junction
- Bay Road
- Belchertown Center
- Blue Meadow
- Chestnut Hill
- Dana Woods
- East Hill
- Lord Jeff
- Mill Valley
- Pansy Park (former railroad station)
- Slab City
- South Belchertown
- Turkey Hill
- West Hill
As of the census
of 2000, there were 12,968 people, 4,886 households, and 3,517 families residing in the town. The population density
was 245.9 people per square mile (95.0/km²). There were 5,050 housing units at an average density of 95.8/sq mi (37.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.14% White
, 0.81% Black
or African American
, 0.19% Native American
, 0.96% Asian
, 0.05% Pacific Islander
, 0.55% from other races
, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race was 1.57% of the population.
There were 4,886 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the town the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $52,467, and the median income for a family was $60,830. Males had a median income of $39,656 versus $30,909 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,938. About 5.1% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of that age 65 or over.
Points of interest
Notable Former Residents
The novelist, Raymond Kennedy
, spent his childhood in Belchertown in the 1930s.