Chester, Massachusetts is a rural town in western MA, first known as Township No. 9, it was soon sold to William Williams, opened for settlement, chartered in 1765 as Murrayfield, and incorporated in 1783 under its current name.
As in many other New England towns, water power was harnessed for grist and saw mills in the town's Factory Village, now a historic district. The Chester Glass Factory operated here, and in the 1840s when the railroad came to town, it passed through this village rather than the town Center. It became an important stop for trains in the area, and the town hall and library were later built in this village. We have the distinction of holding the record high and low temperatures for Massachusetts, one of only three cities to hold both for their states in the country. The high temperature, of 107 degrees was recorded in 1975, while the record low -35 degrees was felt in 1981.
Located in Hampden County, it is in the northwest corner of the county, at the eastern edge of the Berkshires. Surrounded by Huntington, Worthington, Middlefield, Becket, and Blandford, it covers 37.1 square miles and has a population of 1,300 people.
Here, residents enjoy some agricultural pursuits including blueberry farming and maple sugaring. The local State Forest also provides a wide range of recreational activities for the region including fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, biking, cross-country skiing.
Hikers can follow a number of paths and enjoy scenic lookouts at Sanderson Brook Falls and Observation Hill. Littleville Lake also draws people to the area offering 1,500 acres of boating and fishing, as well as a variety of winter sports. However, this lake serves as a backup water reservoir for Springfield, Massachusetts, so swimming is not allowed.
Another popular attraction that draws crowds from all over western Massachusetts, The Chester Theater Company, has grown to enjoy critical acclaim. Over their 16 year existence, 17 of the productions that began here were then transferred to other markets including Off Broadway and national tours.
This Theater Company is an integral part of the community, offering educational outreach opportunities, such as their collaborative educational program linking middle schoolers with professional actors and directors. Furthermore, their production of Random Acts has toured high schools throughout the region, touching on topics including bullying and hazing.
Chester, MA is a rural community with a proud history and tradition. From the blueberry farms to the state park and renowned theater company, this town has something to offer everyone, year-round.