Amherst, Massachusetts

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Amherst, Massachusetts
Town
Amherst Center.  Shops along the west side of South Pleasant Street, February 2005.
Amherst Center. Shops along the west side of South Pleasant Street, February 2005.
Flag of Amherst, Massachusetts
Flag
Official seal of Amherst, Massachusetts
Seal
Nickname(s): The People's Republic of Amherst[1][2][3]
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Location in Hampshire County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°23′N 72°31′W / 42.383°N 72.517°W / 42.383; -72.517
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampshire
Settled 1703
Incorporated 1759
Government
 • Type Representative town meeting
Area
 • Total 27.7 sq mi (71.8 km2)
 • Land 27.6 sq mi (71.5 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 295 ft (90 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 37,819
 • Density 1,370/sq mi (529.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 01002, 01003 (UMass), 01004, 01059 (North Amherst post office)
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-01325
GNIS feature ID 0618195
Website www.amherstma.gov

Amherst (/ˈæmərst/[4]) is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,819,[5] making it the largest municipality in Hampshire County (although the county seat is Northampton). The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, three of the Five Colleges. The name of the town is pronounced without the h ("AM-erst"),[6] giving rise to the local saying, "only the 'h' is silent", in reference both to the pronunciation and to the town's politically active populace.[7]

Amherst has three census-designated places; Amherst Center, North Amherst, and South Amherst.

Amherst is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lying 22 miles (35 km) north of the city of Springfield, Amherst is considered the northernmost town in the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor Metropolitan Region.

History[edit]

The earliest known document of the lands now comprising Amherst is the deed of purchase dated December 1658 between John Pynchon of Springfield and three native inhabitants, referred to as Umpanchla, Quonquont, and Chickwalopp.[8] According to the deed, "ye Indians of Nolwotogg (Norwottuck) upon ye River of Quinecticott (Connecticut)" sold the entire area in exchange for "two Hundred fatham of Wampam & Twenty fatham, and one large Coate at Eight fatham wch Chickwollop set of, of trusts, besides severall small giftes" [sic]. Amherst celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. The Amherst 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee and Amherst Historical Society organized events, including a book published by the Historical Society and written by Elizabeth M. Sharpe, Amherst A to Z.

Amherst was first visited by Europeans as early as 1665 when Nathaniel Dickinson (the great great grandfather of poet Emily Dickinson) surveyed the lands for its mothertown Hadley. The first permanent English settlements arrived in 1727. It gained precinct status in 1734 and eventually township in 1759.

When it incorporated, the colonial governor assigned the town the name "Amherst" after Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst. Many colonial governors at the time scattered his name amidst the influx of new town applications, which is why several towns in the Northeast bear the name. Amherst was a hero of the French and Indian War who, according to popular legend, singlehandedly won Canada for the British and banished France from North America. Popular belief has it that he supported the American side in the Revolutionary War and resigned his commission rather than fight for the British. Baron Amherst actually remained in the service of the Crown during the war—albeit in Great Britain rather than North America—where he organized the defense against the proposed Franco-Spanish Armada of 1779. Nonetheless, his previous service in the French and Indian War meant he remained popular in New England. Amherst is also infamous for recommending, in a letter to a subordinate, the use of smallpox-covered blankets in warfare against the Native Americans along with any "other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race".[9] For this reason, there have been occasional ad hoc movements to rename the town. Suggested new names have included "Emily", after Emily Dickinson.[citation needed]

Geography and climate[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Amherst has a total area of 27.7 square miles (71.8 km2), of which 27.6 square miles (71.5 km2) are land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.48%, are water.[5] The town is bordered by Hadley to the west, Sunderland and Leverett to the north, Shutesbury, Pelham, and Belchertown to the east, and Granby and South Hadley to the south. The highest point in the town is on the northern shoulder of Mount Norwottuck at the southern border of the town; the peak is in Granby but the town's high point is a few yards away and is about 1,100 feet (340 m). The town is nearly equidistant from both the northern and southern state lines.

Amherst's ZIP Code of 01002 is the second-lowest number in the continental United States after Agawam (not counting codes used for specific government buildings such as the IRS).

Amherst has a humid continental climate that under the Köppen system marginally falls into the warm-summer category (dfb). It is interchangeable with the hot-summer subtype dfa with July means hovering around 71.4 °F (21.9 °C). Winters are cold and snowy, albeit daytime temperatures often remain above freezing.

Climate data for Amherst, Massachusetts (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
(21)
70
(21)
85
(29)
93
(34)
98
(37)
101
(38)
104
(40)
100
(38)
99
(37)
90
(32)
82
(28)
72
(22)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C) 34.6
(1.4)
38.3
(3.5)
46.5
(8.1)
59.4
(15.2)
70.2
(21.2)
78.7
(25.9)
83.4
(28.6)
81.9
(27.7)
74.5
(23.6)
62.3
(16.8)
50.8
(10.4)
39.2
(4)
59.98
(15.53)
Average low °F (°C) 13.2
(−10.4)
16.2
(−8.8)
24.4
(−4.2)
34.6
(1.4)
44.8
(7.1)
54.7
(12.6)
59.3
(15.2)
57.6
(14.2)
49.2
(9.6)
37.4
(3)
29.7
(−1.3)
20.0
(−6.7)
36.76
(2.64)
Record low °F (°C) −30
(−34)
−27
(−33)
−17
(−27)
8
(−13)
24
(−4)
29
(−2)
39
(4)
32
(0)
25
(−4)
12
(−11)
−4
(−20)
−22
(−30)
−30
(−34)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.31
(84.1)
3.12
(79.2)
3.55
(90.2)
3.87
(98.3)
4.10
(104.1)
4.12
(104.6)
4.06
(103.1)
3.71
(94.2)
4.19
(106.4)
4.75
(120.7)
3.85
(97.8)
3.48
(88.4)
46.11
(1,171.2)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 12.7
(32.3)
9.4
(23.9)
6.9
(17.5)
1.3
(3.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2.0
(5.1)
8.7
(22.1)
41.0
(104.1)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.2 8.6 10.1 10.9 12.5 11.5 10.4 10.0 9.0 9.8 10.2 10.1 123.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.5 4.0 2.7 .4 0 0 0 0 0 .1 1.0 3.4 17.1
Source: NOAA[10]

Demographics[edit]

UMass, looking southeast
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1790 1,233 —    
1800 1,258 +2.0%
1810 1,469 +16.8%
1820 1,917 +30.5%
1830 2,631 +37.2%
1840 2,550 −3.1%
1850 3,057 +19.9%
1860 3,206 +4.9%
1870 4,035 +25.9%
1880 4,298 +6.5%
1890 4,512 +5.0%
1900 5,028 +11.4%
1910 5,112 +1.7%
1920 5,550 +8.6%
1930 5,883 +6.0%
1940 6,410 +9.0%
1950 10,856 +69.4%
1960 13,718 +26.4%
1970 26,331 +91.9%
1980 33,229 +26.2%
1990 35,228 +6.0%
2000 34,874 −1.0%
2010 37,819 +8.4%
2016* 40,079 +6.0%
* = population estimate[11]
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 37,819 people, 9,259 households, and 4,484 families residing in the town. There were 9,711 housing units. The racial makeup of the town was 76.9% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 10.9% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.4% some other race, and 4.1% from two or more races. 7.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[23]

Of the 9,259 households in the town, 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were headed by married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.6% were non-families. Of all households, 27.3% were made up of individuals, and 9.7% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.88.[23]

In the town, 10.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 55.7% were from 18 to 24, 13.3% were from 25 to 44, 13.6% were from 45 to 64, and 7.4% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21.6 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.[23]

For the period 2011-15, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $48,059, and the median income for a family was $96,005. Male full-time workers had a median income of $64,750 versus $39,278 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,905. About 8.7% of families and 34.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.[24]

The reason for the large population living below the poverty line is the large number of students that live in Amherst.[citation needed] According to the 2010 5-year American Community Survey estimates, occupied housing units had a median household income of $50,063, which includes both renter and owner-occupied units. More specifically, owner-occupied units had a median income of $100,208, while renter-occupied housing units had a median income of $23,925. Large disparities in income between the two groups could explain the high poverty rate and lower median income, as students are the primary tenants of renter-occupied units within Amherst.[citation needed]

Of residents 25 years old or older, 41.7% have a graduate or professional degree, and only 4.9% did not graduate from high school. The largest industry is education, health, and social services, in which 51.9% of employed persons work.

These statistics given above include some but not all of the large student population, roughly 30,000 in 2010, many of whom only reside in the town part of the year. Amherst is home to thousands of part-time and full-time residents associated with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, and Hampshire College and many of those students are involved with the liberal politics of the town.

Income[edit]

Data is from the 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.[25][26][27]

Rank ZIP Code (ZCTA) Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
Massachusetts $35,763 $66,866 $84,900 6,605,058 2,530,147
Hampshire County $29,460 $61,227 $81,385 159,267 58,828
United States $28,155 $53,046 $64,719 311,536,594 115,610,216
1 01002 $27,691 $54,422 $96,929 29,266 9,248
Amherst $19,796 $53,191 $96,733 38,651 8,583
2 01003 (UMass Amherst Campus) $3,531 $N/A $N/A 11,032 16
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 18, 2006[28]
Party Total Voters Percentage
Democratic 8,350 49.18%
Republican 1,076 6.34%
Unaffiliated 7,228 42.57%
Other Parties 326 1.92%
Total 16,980 100%

Government[edit]

Town Hall

Amherst is among relatively few towns of its size in Massachusetts without a mayor-council or council-manager form of government. Instead, it has maintained its traditional system, with a representative town meeting for the legislative branch and a select board for the executive. The Select Board hires a town manager for daily administrative issues.[29]

Amherst's town meeting is a representative town meeting structure, rather than the classic open Town Meeting. In Amherst's town meeting, the town is divided into ten precincts, each with 24 members, elected for three-year terms.[29] With an additional 14 ex officio members, who are permitted to vote, (the 5 Select Board members; the 5 School Committee members; President of the Library Trustees; Chair of the Finance Committee; Town Manager; and a Moderator), the total membership of Town Meeting is 254.[29]

In recent years, some have sought to abolish the 254-member Town Meeting with a new charter that would create a directly elected mayor and a nine-member Town Council. The charter was rejected by voters in spring 2003 by fourteen votes and defeated again on March 29, 2005, by 252 votes. A "charter commission" was also approved in 2016 to study Amherst's government.

State and federal representation[edit]

In the Massachusetts General Court, Amherst is in the "Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester" Senatorial District,[30] represented by State Senator Stanley Rosenberg, a Democrat. Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose, a Democrat elected September 8th, 2016, currently represents Amherst for the 3rd Hampshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[31]

Amherst is represented at the federal level by an all-Democratic delegation, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and by Representative Jim McGovern of the Second Congressional District of Massachusetts.

Transportation[edit]

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, funded by local governments and the Five College Consortium, provides public transportation in the area, operated by University of Massachusetts Transportation Services. Service runs well into the early morning hours on weekends when school is in session. Students attending any colleges in the Five Colleges Consortium have a fee included in their tuition bills (service fee for UMass Amherst students and student activity fees for the other colleges) for each semester that prepays their bus fares for the semester. UMass Transit buses operate via a proof-of-payment system, in which there are random checks of student identification cards and bus passes and transfers.

Peter Pan Bus Lines provides service between Amherst and Springfield, Boston, and other locations in New England.[32] Megabus provides service between New York City, Amherst, and Burlington, Vermont.[33]

Amtrak rail service is available in nearby Northampton on the Vermonter service between Washington D.C. and St. Albans, Vermont. More frequent Amtrak service to New York City and Washington, D.C., is available from Union Station in Springfield.

The closest major domestic and limited international air service is available through Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Bradley is located approximately one hour's driving time from Amherst. Major international service is available through Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston, 90 miles away.

General aviation service is close by, at Northampton Airport, Westover Metropolitan Airport, and Turners Falls Airport.

Economy[edit]

Major employers in Amherst include University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, William D. Mullins Memorial Center, Hampshire College, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School District.[34]

Sports[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Historical[edit]

Born or raised in Amherst[edit]

Live in Amherst[edit]

Points of interest[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hollander, Paul (1981). Political Pilgrims: Western Intellectuals in Search of the Good Society. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. xxv. Retrieved 2013-04-07. Brentlinger, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was robustly and proudly alienated from American society and culture...he has probably benefited from living amidst like-minded people in what has been jestingly called 'the people's republic of Amherst, Mass.' 
  2. ^ Arkes, Hadley (1996), "Response to Fund", in Schaefer, David Lewis; Schaefer, Roberta Rubel, The future of cities, Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, Inc, p. 9, retrieved 2013-04-07, I come to you from one of those places that is in America, but not quite of it...In my case it is the People's Republic of Amherst 
  3. ^ Sarat, Austin (2008), "Contested Terrain: Visions of Multiculturalism in an American Town", in Minow, Martha; Shweder, Richard A.; Markus, Hazel, Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference, New York: Russell Sage Foundation, p. 102, retrieved 2013-04-07, I live in a place whose liberal tendencies have earned it various nicknames. For example, it has been called 'The People's Republic of Amherst' 
  4. ^ "Amherst". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Amherst town, Hampshire County, Massachusetts". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ languagehat.com, uscho.com, bbc.co.uk
  7. ^ See, e.g., local T-shirt for sale[dead link]; Chris Rohmann, "Stage Struck: Silent But Deadly", Valley Advocate, Oct. 20, 2011; and "Living in Western Massachusetts" Archived 2012-08-25 at the Wayback Machine., Pioneer Valley Cohousing (last visited Sept. 16, 2012).
  8. ^ Carpenter, Edward Wilson; Charles Frederick Morehouse (1896). The History of the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Amherst, Mass.: Press of Carpenter & Morehouse. pp. 1–2. OCLC 11223569. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  9. ^ d'Errico, Peter. "Jeffrey Amherst and Smallpox Blankets". Peter d'Errico's Law Page. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (PEPANNRES): Massachusetts Minor Civil Divisions". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  13. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ amherstma.gov
  23. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (DP-1): Amherst town, Hampshire County, Massachusetts". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics: 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (DP03): Amherst town, Hampshire County, Massachusetts". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  25. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  26. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  27. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  28. ^ "2006 State Election Party Enrollment Statistics (PDF, 108k)" (PDF). Massachusetts Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  29. ^ a b c "Town Meeting", Town of Amherst Official Website (last visited March 21, 2014).
  30. ^ "Massachusetts Senatorial Districts", Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (last visited March 21, 2014)
  31. ^ "Solomon Goldstein-Rose wins the 3rd Hampshire District seat". masslive.com. Retrieved 2017-09-26. 
  32. ^ http://peterpanbus.com/
  33. ^ Megabus.com Expands service from Burlington
  34. ^ Search Results – Amherst, Massachusetts- ReferenceUSA Current Businesses
  35. ^ "College Rankings, Presented by NUTC | Ultiworld". Ultiworld. Retrieved 2017-09-25. 
  36. ^ "Nyeri Sister City Committee". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  37. ^ "La Paz Centro Sister City Committee". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  38. ^ "Kanegasaki Sister City Committee". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  39. ^ a b c d e Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 
  40. ^ "Mary Mattoon and her hero of the revolution" by Alice M. Walker, Carpenter and Morehouse, 1902
  41. ^ http://www.amherstdowntown.com/amherst-center-cultural-district/
  42. ^ "About Us". Amherst Cinema. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′01″N 72°31′01″W / 42.367°N 72.517°W / 42.367; -72.517