Greenfield — Natural Features

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The Green River, a branch of the Deerfield, flows through the west part, from north to south. The broad interval on each side of the river is the most fertile portion of the town, and is well adapted to agricultural purposes. A little stream called Fall River flows through the northeast part of the town into the Connecticut River, opposite Turner's Falls. These streams receive several brooks that flow into them, so that the town is well watered. The surface is moderately level except along the eastern border, where a ridge of trap-rock extends parallel to the Connecticut River, and from a few rods to a mile distant from it, rising quite abruptly at some points to a height of 200 feet above the plain on the west side, sloping off More gradually to the river on the east. This ridge is called "Rocky Mountain." The highest point, about a mile northeast of the village, is known as "Poet's Seat," and commands a beautiful view in all directions. Looking toward the west, the visitor sees the village of Greenfield lying quite near, embowered in trees, the valley of the Green River, with its fertile fields, and beyond them the picturesque Shelburne Hills; to the north, the Leyden and Bernardston Hills; to the south he sees the famous broad Deerfield meadows, with the crooked stream of the Deerfield River gliding in and out among the hills and trees; farther along, the quiet village of old Deerfield, with its classic spire peering above the forest of elms and maples for which the town is justly celebrated. Turning now to the east, one sees near at hand, though several hundred feet below him, the broad stream of the Connecticut dashing over the rocks and forming beautiful cascades. Beyond the river is the little village of Montague City, a monument of disappointed hopes and ambitions. Farther to the north is the new and thriving village of Turner's Falls. Over the roofs of its factories is had a distant view of "Mount Grace," and farther on Monadnock rears its hoary head. To the southeast is the village of Montague, and beyond it Mount Toby or Mettawampe looms up proudly, and the course of the Connecticut is traced to Mount Tom and the Holyoke range. There is no view in the region, on the whole, so commanding and beautiful and so easy of access as the one from "Poet's Seat." A carriage-road is opened to it, and it is the daily resort in summer of young and old, seeking exercise and pleasure.
      The soil, especially near the streams, is quite fertile, but in the northern part of the town it is light and gravelly. It contains 344 acres of unimprovable land, chiefly on Rocky Mountains, while 5389 acres are unimproved,—that is, lying idle or in pasturing. There are 1981 acres of woodland and 3529 acres under crops. The people are largely engaged in agricultural pursuits. It appears from the census of 1875 that the yearly product of butter for sale was 48,739 pounds; for home use, 10,386 pounds; total, 59,119 pounds. The yearly product of milk is 62,618 gallons; of tobacco, 98,047 pounds, of the value of $19,000.*
      Manufacturing is carried on only to a limited extent. There are forty-six manufacturing establishments in town, representing a capital of $354,800, producing goods to the value yearly of $308,634. The leading manufactures are of carpenters' planes and plow-irons, with a capital of $77,800; value of goods made yearly, $25,000. Children's carriages, with a capital of $16,000, and an annual value of goods made of $28,000. Hardware trimmings for children's carriages, capital $62,500; goods made yearly, $47,145.

* See General Chapter XXIII.

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