Chicopee

Chicopee

[chik-uh-pee]
Chicopee, city (1990 pop. 56,632), Hampden co., SW Mass., at the confluence of the Chicopee and the Connecticut rivers; settled c.1641, set off from Springfield 1848, inc. as a city 1890. It includes the villages of Willimansett, Fairview, Aldenville, Chicopee Center, and Chicopee Falls. Plastics, textiles, sporting goods, and machinery are among the city's manufactures. The College of Our Lady of the Elms is there. The author Edward Bellamy was born and lived in Chicopee Falls. Westover Air Base is nearby.
Chicopee is a city located on the Connecticut River in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States of America. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is made up of several neighborhoods, the result of the city's origin as a collection of villages in the northern-most part of Springfield, which it seceded from in 1848. These villages are now represented by the neighborhoods of Aldenville, Willimansett, Chicopee Center (Cabotville), Chicopee Falls, and Fairview. Although once defined by the predominant nationality of its immigrant occupants, historically largely Polish and French Canadian, these neighborhoods are now occupied by people of many cultures while still maintaining their historical, ethnic charm.

The city has since filled in most of its open space resulting in a number of new neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include Chicomansett (often referred to as part of Willimansett, this area is located at the southern intersection of Meadow and Chicopee Streets northward to Meetinghouse Road), Ferry Lane (an offshoot of Chicomansett surrounding Ferry Lane), Sandy Hill (the area overlooking Chicopee Center, connecting Cabotville and Aldenville), and the geographically isolated Burnett Road neighborhood.

Chicopee is home to Westover Air Reserve Base, built in 1940. It has one of the largest runway on the east coast at 11,597 x 301 feet. Elms College is located in Chicopee. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 54,653. The current mayor is Michael D. Bissonnette.

The Chicopee Provision Company is a major producer of Polish kielbasa under the Blue Seal brand. Chicopee also held an annual kielbasa festival until the mid 1990s, at which the World's Largest Kielbasa was proudly unveiled. Millie's Pierogi Company produces traditional Polish dumplings from its base in Chicopee Center.

Name

Chicopee is a Nipmuck name, probably from chekee - "violent", and pe - "waters" in most Algonquin dialects, with reference to rapids. The Nipmucks were the native residents of the region before the arrival of the English. Alternatively, chikkuppee ("of cedar") is the adjective form of chickkup ("cedar").

History

Chicopee was settled in 1640, but was a part of Springfield, Massachusetts until 1848. The City's original Charter was granted by the Massachusetts General Court on April 18, 1890. George Sylvester Taylor (1822-1910) became Chicopee's first mayor on January 5 1891.

In the 19th century it was noted for its cotton mills, woolen mills, brass foundries and iron foundries. During the early 20th century it became home to firearms company Crescent-Davis, which specialized in double barrel shotguns. The Ames Manufacturing Company made many machines and bronze cannons, and more swords than any other American manufacturer at the time. The Stevens Arms plant (later Savage) located there was responsible for most of the Number 4 Enfields manufactured for the British under Lend-Lease. Chicopee was home to the first gasoline-powered automobile made in the United States, Duryea. In 1991, St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church, located on Front Street, was proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II.

Chicopee was also the first city west of Boston to form a publicly funded public library. The Chicopee Public Library was formed by a donation to the city by the Cabotville Institute.

Geography

Chicopee is located at (42.170159, -72.588630).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.9 square miles (61.9 km²), of which, 22.9 square miles (59.2 km²) of it is land and 1.0 square miles (2.7 km²) of it (4.31%) is water. The Chicopee River flows through the south part of the city.

Within Chicopee lies the Chicopee Memorial State Park in the Burnett Road neighborhood. Formerly known as the Cooley Brook Reservoir and Watershed, the area has been developed into a high use active recreation area. The total area is 575 acres including two 25 acre ponds. Activities include swimming, fishing, picnicking, jogging and biking.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 54,653 people, 23,117 households, and 14,147 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,389.7 people per square mile (922.7/km²). There were 24,424 housing units at an average density of 1,067.9/sq mi (412.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.82% White, 2.28% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 4.90% from other races, and 1.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.76% of the population.

There were 23,117 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,672, and the median income for a family was $44,136. Males had a median income of $35,585 versus $25,975 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,646. About 9.6% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Chicopee is home to thriving Polish-American, Irish-American, Portuguese-American and French-American communities.

Education

Public Schools

The City of Chicopee operates fifteen public schools within the Chicopee School District, serving 7800 students. Richard W. Rege is the superintendent. There are nine elementary schools, two middle schools, one early childhood center, and three high schools (Chicopee High School, Chicopee Comprehensive High School and Chicopee Academy). Every fall the football teams from the two secondary schools maintain the competitive athletic rivalry between them, competing for a sword. Chicopee High won the 2007 Sword Game. But Chicopee Comp won the 2006 Sword Game.

Preschool

Elementary schools

Middle schools

High schools

Higher education

Private Schools

Chicopee has a multitude of Catholic schools that are operated under the Diocese of Springfield. These schools include: Holy Name School which serves Holy Name Church & Assumption Church: St. Joan of Arc/St. George School which serves St. Rose de Lima Church on Grattan Street; and St. Stanislaus School which serves the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr on Front Street.

Holyoke Catholic High School opened its doors at its new Chicopee location in September 2008.

Famous Residents

See also

References

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External links

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