Settlement began in 1725 as some of the younger men and families began making homes in this area south of the Mount Holyoke Range. In 1732, this "settlement" became the "South Precinct of Hadley" with limited self-government. Formal creation of the Town of South Hadley occurred in 1753 by action of the General Court (legislature).

The nation’s first commercially successful navigable canal began operation in South Hadley in 1795. This canal provided the route for much of the commerce along the Connecticut River for many decades until 1862 when development of the railroads made the canal less profitable. Remains and remnants of the canal are still visible and efforts are underway to enhance their historic character.

Mount Holyoke Seminary & College
Mount Holyoke Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) opened its doors in 1837 under the stewardship of Mary Lyon. One of the “Seven Sisters” all women’s colleges in New England, Mount Holyoke College continues to operate as an all-women’s institution.

Historic Districts
Our community celebrates its rich history through Federal designation of historic districts (such as the Woodbridge Street District), preservation of buildings (such as the Sycamore House), and community celebrations (such as the 2003 celebration of the town’s 250th birthday). South Hadley Historical Society has undertaken efforts to restore and preserve two of the oldest homes in the community - The Sycamores and the Rawson Home on Woodbridge Street. Walk along Woodbridge Street and enjoy the rich history of some of the oldest structures in the area; take a stroll along the Canal Park and enjoy the Connecticut River; or using the “Old Homes of South Hadley” prepared by Know Your Town and The South Hadley Historical Society as a guide, drive through the community and explore the styles reflected in many of our older homes.

Historical Links of Interest