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PALMER

Incorporated in 1775 - Hampshire County

The Town of Palmer is made up of four separate and distinct villages: Depot Village, Thorndike Village, Three Rivers and Bondsville. There are four separate water districts, three separate fire departments and four separate village centers. In addition, there are some agricultural areas. The villages began to develop their distinctive characters in the 18th century, and by the 19th century when two rail lines and a trolley line opened the town to population growth, newcomers generally migrated to the village that appealed to them. John King was the first settler in Palmer, building his home in 1716 on the banks of the Chicopee River. He was followed by a large group of Scottish-Irish Presbyterians who arrived and put down their roots in 1727. Depot Village has been the main commercial and business center for 125 years. Bondsville is the site of much of the town's industry, beginning in the 18th century when the first saw and grist mills were established. By 1825, textile production began in town with a woolen mill. The Blanchard Scythe Factory, Wright Wire Woolen Mills and the Holden-Fuller Woolen Mills developed major industrial capacity in Palmer and constructed a large amount of workers housing. By 1900 a company like Boston Duck which made heavy cotton fabric, had housed 500 employees in the town in workers housing which remains as part of the town fabric. The last textile mill in Bondsville burned in the 1960's. Exit #8 of the Mass Turnpike allows easy access from this diverse little community to the rest of the state. (Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)

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