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Palmer, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
St. Paul's Church
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°09′30″N 72°19′45″W / 42.15833°N 72.32917°W / 42.15833; -72.32917
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled 1727
Incorporated 1775
 - Type Council-manager
 - Councilors-at-large Michael Magiera, Council President
George Backus
Paul Burns
John Dinuovo
David Whitney
 - Town Manager Matthew Streeter
 - Total 32.0 sq mi (82.9 km2)
 - Land 31.5 sq mi (81.7 km2)
 - Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Elevation 330 ft (101 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 12,497
 Density 396.3/sq mi (153.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01069
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-52105
GNIS feature ID 0619387

The Town of Palmer is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,497 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. Although known as a town, Palmer adopted a home rule charter in 2004 with a council-manager form of government and is considered a city under Massachusetts law.

The communities of Bondsville, Thorndike, Palmer, and Three Rivers are located in the town.



Palmer is composed of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village (named for the ornate Union Station railroad terminal designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson), Thorndike, Three Rivers, and Bondsville. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century, two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth. Today, each village has its own post office and fire stations (except Thorndike).

Palmer's first settler was John King. He was born in Edwardstone, Suffolk, England. He built his home in 1716 on the banks of the Chicopee River. A large group of Scottish-Irish Presbyterians followed, arriving in 1727. In 1775, Massachusetts officially incorporated Palmer. Depot Village became Palmer's main commercial and business center during the late 19th century and remains so today. Palmer's industry developed in Bondsville. During the 18th century, saw and grist mills were established by the rivers. By 1825, Palmer woolen mills began to produce textiles. Subsequently, the Blanchard Scythe Factory, Wright Wire Woolen Mills, and the Holden-Fuller Woolen Mills developed major industrial capacity, and constructed large amounts of workers' housing. By 1900, Boston Duck (which made heavy cotton fabric) had over 500 employees in the town. Camp Ramah in New England is located in Palmer, and it is one of the older Ramah camps. The 20th century brought about a shift of immigrants in Palmer from those of French and Scottish origin to those of primarily Polish and French-Canadian extraction.

The New England Region of the Sports Car Club of America has reached an agreement with the Town of Palmer to construct a new road course near their town. Palmer Motorsports Park will operate along a similar vein as Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California, in that it will be owned and operated by a limited liability corporation formed by New England Region. This effort is to ensure that NER would have its own "flagship" racetrack, as the two tracks it currently uses - New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut - are heavily used by NASCAR. The benefits to the town would include upwards of $50,000 a year in property income taxes and increased business at local gas stations, restaurants, motels and retail stores.[1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 32.0 square miles (82.9 km²), of which, 31.5 square miles (81.7 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²) of it (1.53%) is water.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 12,497 people, 5,078 households, and 3,331 families residing in the town. The population density was 396.3 people per square mile (153.0/km²). There were 5,402 housing units at an average density of 171.3/sq mi (66.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.82% White, 0.75% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.44% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.23% of the population.

There were 5,078 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $41,443, and the median income for a family was $49,358. Males had a median income of $35,748 versus $26,256 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,664. About 5.8% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


The town of Palmer is served by four schools. Old Mill Pond Elementary School serves grades K through 4, Converse Middle School serves grades 5 through 7, and Palmer High School serves grades 8 through 12. Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School is also located in Palmer, and serves grades 9 through 12.


Camp Ramah in New England is located in Palmer.


  1. ^ Palmer Motorsports Park
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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