AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Field work has been approved for canal areas in six western Massachusetts communities to determine if they are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), they will be working with the Amherst office of SWCA Environmental Consultants to formally document the Hampshire and Hampden portion of the nineteenth century New Haven & Northampton Canal in the following communities:

  1. Southwick
  2. Russell
  3. Southampton
  4. Westfield
  5. Easthampton
  6. Northampton

Massachusetts Historical Commission approved the process of field work by conducting a non-invasive walking survey of the entire length of the former canal in Massachusetts. The field work will help develop a report on the history, evolution, and existing conditions to determine if the canal areas are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

“The regional project team is very excited to be at this point of the process after launching this initiative in 2020 and holding regular virtual meetings to keep the project’s momentum,” said PVPC’s Historic Preservation Planner, Shannon Walsh.

Map exhibiting the Farmington & Hampshire & Hampden canals : together with the line of their proposed continuation through the Valley of the Connecticut River to Canada (Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library)

New Haven & Northampton Canal

According to the information provided by the PVPC, the regional Hampshire and Hampden Canal documentation project involves properties located along the approximately 30-mile historic path of the Massachusetts portion of the former canal within the municipalities of Southwick, Westfield, Russell, Southampton, Easthampton, and Northampton.

The history and evidence of the Hampshire and Hampden Canal is disappearing. In order to preserve the areas is to officially document the property in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register recognizes unique and irreplaceable historic resources.