Greenfield is a hub of commerce and culture located at the intersection of Interstate 91 and the famous Mohawk Trail. Its 17,000+ residents live between the Connecticut River and the Berkshire foothills in 21.9 square miles. Greenfield is located at the center of the county and is bordered by Colrain, Leyden, and Bernardston to the north; Gill to the east; Montague to the southeast; Deerfield to the south; and Shelburne to the west. The city is is known for its picturesque and vibrant downtown. The rest of the city is a mix of farms, modern industry, and quiet residential neighborhoods. Home to Greenfield Community College.
Poet's Seat Tower, a 1912 sandstone lookout tower, was named after a long tradition of poets being drawn to the spot. Poets have long been inspired by the beautifule views throughout the Pioneer Valley from this vantage point. Subsequently, Francis Goddard Tuckerman, a Greenfield port of some repute --and colleague of Thoreau--composed several poems at this site. Sits atop Rocky Mountain, overlooking High Street (Route 2A), accessible from Mountain Road (take Maple Street off High). Spectacular views of surrounding hills and countryside as well as the Connecticut River from a network of well-marked woodland trails.
Greenfield Energy Park, at 50 Miles Street, is a downtown greenspace featuring timely and unique exhibits on sustainable energy, all set in beautiful gardens with perennial beds, a butterfly garden and agricultural demonstration plots. There's also a refurbished 1944 New Haven Caboose Museum (open at events), a wooden train for children to play on, picnic benches and art work throughout the park. The Station, in the style of the original railroad station, offeres a covered outdoor stage for performing arts. For a performance schedule visit the website. (413) 774-6051 x14
Historical Society of Greenfield, is housed in a Victorian Mansion on the corner of Church and Union Streets. There are three floors of exhibits and a research library. Among many exhibits tracing Greenfield's history are furniture, photographs, maps, a large collection of industrial artifacts, Indian relics, and objects belonging to author Mary P. Wells Smith, including her portrait, manuscripts and six of the original illustrations for her children's books, "Jolly Good Times" and "Young Puritans." A military room houses uniforms and weapons of wars from the French and Indian to the Persiand Gulf War. Open Sunday afternoons in the fall and for special events. Research by appointment. Call 413-774-3663 and leave a message for further information.
Covered Bridge, on Eunice Williams Drive, is a 95-foot structure spanning the Green River in an area called the "Pumping Station." It was built in 1972 to replace a 100-year old covered bridge that was burned by vandals. The bridge is currently unaccessible due to Tropical Storm Irene (2011).
Country Club of Greenfield on Country Club Road, is an 18-hole golf course. It is one of the oldest courses in the country, having been organized in 1896 and located at the present site since 1901. Call 413-773-7530 for further information.
Artspace Community Arts Center is located at 15 Mill Street. The Artspace's mission since its inception in 1973 has been to enhance the cultural life of the county. It is known for exhibits in its Art Space Gallery, arts-in-education programs and detail-rich resource and information base for artists, residents and visitors to the region. Rental space is available for organizations for meetings and classes. Call (413) 772-6811 for further information.
Griswold/GTD Conservation Area, on Lampblack Road provides a hiking trail, wetlands, grasslands and open spaces for hikers, birdwatchers, cross country skiers and others. The property spans from Lampblack Road to Interstate 91. Entrance to the trail's parking, lot is located just before the Bernardston town line. Brochures that include a map are available at the trailhead.
Museum of Our Industrial Heritage, located at 2 Mead Street. Features a collection of artifacts, archival material, and historic photos represents nearly all of Franklin County’s 26 towns and the neighboring town of Athol. The Museum of Our Industrial Heritage presents these tangible reminders of the past by focusing on the spirit of innovation that fueled each era—and explores how that same spirit might shape our future. Open year-round by appointment. Open Saturday and Sundays during the summer months, 1 to 4 pm. (413) 336-8275
Franklin County Fair, was begun in 1848. The fair is held the first Thursday after Labor Day though Sunday. An opening day parade opens the festivities. The fair includes displays of livestock and farm products, crafts, food, horse and oxen pulls, various competitions, music, stage shows, demolitioin derby and midway. Call (413) 774-4282 or check the website for further information.
Green River Festival, is held annually in mid-July on the campus of Greenfield Community College. Featuring great music, hot air balloon launches, crafts and food.
Settlement of the Greenfield area commenced during the 1680s when grants of 20 acres each along the Green River were made to settlers by the town of Deerfield. The grants were conditional, grantees should continue as residents for three years after they became 21 years old, and pay taxes and their portion of the Indian purchase. Taxes at the time were payable in "pork, corn, good and merchantable." It was not easy to establish homes in frontier wilderness, and for one reason or another, many of the land grants were forfeited.
The majority of the settlers were Deerfield men and women. These were stout-hearted, valiant people endured great hardships, attacks by Indians and terrible massacres in both 1675 and 1704 during King Philip's and the French and Indian Wars.
The first settler's identity has not been positively determined. One account was Lt. Joshua Pomroy who, in 1682, was granted a home lot and seven cow commons on the Green River and that he built a house there in 1686 was the first settler. Others credit a man named Brooks, who was granted 20 acres in 1686.
As early as 1687, home lots were granted up the Green River to Ebenezer Wells, David Hoyt, William Brooks, Edward Allyn, Samuel Smead, Job and Robert Goddard, John Severance, Jeremiah Hull and John Allyn.
The early history of the settlement is almost inseparably bound to that of Deerfield. The territory was first known as the Green River disctrict and was part of Deerfield until 1753. In 1753 it was incorporated as the separate town of Greenfield.
In 1811, when Franklin County was formed, Greenfield was designated as the county seat.
The town was known in the 1800s for its thriving tool and cutlery industry, due in part to the invention of the thread-cutting die in the 1840s by a local resident, and home of the first cutlery factory, build in 1834 by John Russell (J. Russell Cutlery Co.) on the Green River.
In 1962, Greenfield became home to Greenfield Community College, which moved to its current site in 1974.