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North America > United States of America > New England > Massachusetts > Pioneer Valley > Chicopee

Chicopee

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Basilica of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr

Chicopee is a city of 56,000 people (2018) on the Connecticut River in Hampden County, Massachusetts.

Chicopee today goes by the nickname the "Crossroads of New England" as part of a business-development marketing campaign, one that West Springfield also uses. The name reflects the city's location among a number of metropolitan areas and its transportation network.

Understand[edit]

Chicopee is a city built around several smaller former mill communities on its namesake, the Chicopee River.

The city is made up of several neighborhoods; the result of the city's origin as a collection of four villages in the northernmost part of Springfield, which seceded from it in 1848. Chicopee Falls, Chicopee Center (Cabotville), Fairview, and Willimansett continued to develop. In the early 1900s, Aldenville developed as a distinct community. Since then, the city has filled in most of its open space resulting in a number of new neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include Chicomansett, Ferry Lane, Sandy Hill and the geographically isolated Burnett Road neighborhood.

"Chicopee" is derived from the Nipmuc language, probably from the words chekee ("violent") and pe ("waters") in most Algonquian dialects, with reference to rapids. The Nipmuc were the indigenous people who occupied this area before the arrival of European colonists.

Alternatively, chikkuppee ("of cedar") may be the adjective form of chickkup ("cedar").

History[edit]

During the 19th century, the city was home to the first American producer of friction matches and a variety of other industries, including the Ames Manufacturing Company, an early pioneer in machining lathes, building upon the work of Springfield's Thomas Blanchard, and the largest producer of swords and cutlasses for the Union Army during the Civil War. By the start of the 20th century, the city's industrial plants included those of the Fisk Tire Company, one of the largest tire makers of that time, and some of the earliest sporting goods factories of A. G. Spalding.

Today the city is home to a variety of specialty manufacturers, and to Westover Air Reserve Base, the largest Air Force Reserve Base of the United States, built in 1940 during World War II.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

Four highways run through its boundaries, including I-90, I-91, I-291, and I-391, and state routes such as Route 33, 116, and 141.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

  • Ames Tower Ames Tower in Cabotville, part of the Ames Manufacturing facilities and is now part of the Ames Privilege Apartment complex.
  • Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Front Street. A 1908 brownstone, cathedral-like church built in the Baroque Revival Style of architecture. It is regarded as one of the most imposing churches in the area. The interior of the church can accommodate approximately 800 worshipers in the main and two side naves. A pipe organ was installed in the choir loft in 1920. During the parish's 1991 centennial, Pope John Paul II designated it a Minor Basilica.
  • Chicopee City Hall. Built in 1871 in the Romanesque style. It was added to the National Register of Historic Place on July 30, 1974.
  • Edward Bellamy House, 91–93 Church Street in Chicopee Falls. A National Historic Landmark. The house was built in 1852 and was the home of journalist Edward Bellamy. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
  • Facemate Tower. A historic tower on the Chicopee River in Chicopee Falls. It used to be a part of the Facemate Industrial Complex.
  • Polish Center of Discovery and Learning. A local history museum celebrating contributions made to the economy, arts, and sciences by immigrant Poles and their ancestors in Western New England. The museum also sponsors regular workshops, exhibits, concerts, conferences, seminars, films, plays, and lectures regarding the cultural traditions, contributions, and history of Poland, the Polish people, and the Polish diaspora.
  • The Cabotville Historic Sycamore Trees, trees that were present when Chicopee became a town in 1848, matured when it became a city in 1890. They were designated Heritage Trees in 1999 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • The Chicopee War Memorial, off of the intersection of Bonneville Avenue and Front Street, is home to several statues and monuments to World War II veterans and Vietnam War veterans.
  • The Emerson Gaylord Mansion, a historic mansion is located at the north edge of the Elms College campus on the corner of Springfield and Fairview Streets (199 Springfield Street). It is described by Kristin O'Connell ("The Architectural Heritage of Chicopee") as a less pure example of the French Second Empire style, because of its asymmetrical exterior and its unusually high steep roof.
  • The Uniroyal Office Building, a historic building in Chicopee Falls that was part of the Uniroyal Industrial Complex.
  • The Willimansett Dike, an elevated, artificial levee in Willimansett, built after the destructive Willimansett flood caused by The Great New England Hurricane of 1938. It stretches from Nash Field, following the Connecticut River south to I-90 bridge adjacent to the Chicopee boat ramp.
  • Westover Air Reserve Base, built in 1940 as an Army Air Corps and later Army Air Forces installation known as Westover Field. It became Westover Air Force Base when the Air Force became an independent service in 1947. From 1955 until 1974, it was a Strategic Air Command (SAC) installation. Transferred to the Air Force Reserve in 1974, it was renamed Westover Air Reserve Base and is now the home of the 439th Airlift Wing, flying the C-5 Galaxy aircraft. Westover is the largest Air Force Reserve base in the United States. A joint civil-military facility, it is also home to Westover Metropolitan Airport.

Do[edit]

  • Chicopee Memorial State Park (in the Burnett Road neighborhood). A high use active recreation area. The total area is 575 acres (2.33 km²) including two 25-acre (100,000 m²) ponds. Activities include swimming, fishing, picnicking, jogging and biking.
  • The Chicopee Canal Walk, a 1,100-foot (340-m) pedestrian walkway and park that follows the canal from the Cabotville Historic Sycamore Trees to Grape Street. The path follows a portion of a former industrial railway. Plans are to extend the path to the Deady Bridge, creating a bicycle and pedestrian route connecting Cabotville and Chicopee Falls.
  • Frank J. Szot Memorial Park, a focal point for community events in the city with accommodations for baseball, basketball, and picnicking. The stadium is typically used for local and regional soccer and football games. Features include a pond, one World War II and one Cold War era tank, several war monuments, and a fountain.

Events[edit]

  • The Great New England Air Show is an annual two-day air show held at Westover Air Reserve Base.
  • The Sword Game is an annual football game that began in 1964 after the founding of Chicopee's second high school, Chicopee Comprehensive High School. It is held every fall between Chicopee High School and Chicopee Comprehensive High School. The city's mayor presents the winning team with the Mayor's Sword, a sword that was manufactured in the 1890s by Ames Manufacturing Company in Cabotville.
  • The World Kielbasa Festival is a four-day fair featuring Polish food, polka dancing, games, and rides. It is now held at the Big E grounds in West Springfield.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Take 91 South to Springfield and Hartford.

Routes through Chicopee
AlbanyWest Springfield  W I-90.svg E  LudlowWorcester
GreenfieldWest Springfield  N I-91.svg S  SpringfieldHartford
Ends at MA Route 116.svgSouth Hadley  N MA Route 33.svg S  END
DeerfieldHolyoke  N MA Route 116.svg S  SpringfieldEnds at MA Route 20A.svg
Jct N MA Route 10.svg SHolyoke  W MA Route 141.svg E  SpringfieldEnds at US 20.svg


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