Greenfield MA

The Town of Greenfield, is a city in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,168 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Franklin County 6. Greenfield is home to Greenfield Community College, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Franklin County Fair.


Settled in 1686, Greenfield was set off from Deerfield and incorporated in 1753. Named for the Green River, the town was the eastern terminus of the Mohawk Trail, a principal route for settlers traveling west into Upstate New York. Greenfield was attacked repeatedly by Native Americans until 1735. The town is located at the confluence of the Deerfield and Green rivers, not far from where they both merge into the Connecticut River. In the 1800s, Greenfield was the site of the first cutlery factory in the country. The community has several houses designed by noted native-born architect, Asher Benjamin. His Leavitt-Hovey House, built in 1797, is now the Greenfield Public Library. “Poet’s Seat Tower,” located atop Rocky Mountain and named in honor of local 19th century bard, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, provides a dramatic view of the city. The area is home to an optical illusion known as a gravity hill. It is located on Shelburne Road, while facing Greenfield, immediately after the Route 2 bridge. From under the overpass, the road appears to rise slightly to a crest a few hundred feet away. The illusion is slight, but convincing. A car in neutral at the “bottom” of the rise will appear to crawl uphill. Greenfield’s city status was established by election of its first mayor, Christine Forgey, in 2003. When a town, it had been governed by a selectboard.

Poet’s Seat in c. 1910
Bird’s-eye View in 1917
Mansion House, c. 1908

Notable Residents

Historic Sites & Museums


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 56.8 km² (21.9 mi²). 56.3 km² (21.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.5 km² (0.2 mi²) of it (0.87%) is water. Greenfield is drained by the Deerfield and Green rivers. The town is located at latitude 42 degrees 35 minutes North, longitude 72 degrees, 36 minutes West. On a road map, Greenfield is situated at the intersection of Interstate 91 and Route 2, near where the borders of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire meet.


This article describes the town of Greenfield as a whole. Additional demographic details are available which describe only the central settlement within the city, although those details are included in the aggregate values reported here. See: Greenfield (CDP), Massachusetts.

Old Stone Mill in c. 1920

Old Stone Mill in c. 1920

As of the census2 of 2000, there were 18,168 people, 7,939 households, and 4,374 families residing in the city. The population density was 322.8/km² (836.2/mi²). There were 8,301 housing units at an average density of 147.5/km² (382.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.39% White, 1.34% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.10% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 2.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.54% of the population. There were 7,939 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.9% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.88.

The Weldon in 1913

The Weldon in 1913

In the town the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males. The median income for a household in the town was $33,110, and the median income for a family was $46,412. Males had a median income of $33,903 versus $26,427 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,830. About 11.4% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.

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