Southwick, Massachusetts is the southernmost town in the Commonwealth, and located in Hampden County. It covers 31.7 square miles of mostly rural farming and residential living and has a community with about 9,500 residents.
Its shares its northern border with Westfield, of which it was once part. Agawam and Granville complete its Massachusetts neighbors, while Suffield and Granby Connecticut surround the town on the south. As a result of land disputes with Connecticut, Southwick has a “jog” extending south into Connecticut. On the eastern side of the town is Provin Mountain, a rocky ridgeline that is part of the Metacomet mountain range. A popular hiking trail runs through the area and up the mountain, part of the town’s recreational attractions. Additionally, the Congamond Lakes, Moto Cross 338, and large open areas draw people here from throughout the region for recreational activities.
First settled by people moving down from Westfield in the 1760's, we were known at first as the southern village of Westfield. Because we were a part of Westfield, residents had to travel north for church and political activities, a difficult journey in the winter months. This led settlers to begin petitioning in 1765 to break off from the town and form their own parish church. The petition was granted in 1770, and we became a district of Westfield, later to incorporated as a town in 1775.
The town was, and is, a farming community. One of the lucrative crops that farmers were able to export was tobacco, and during the 1880s, cigars were also produced here. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, we were a popular tourist destination for the Congamond Lakes. Here visitors would fish, swim, and ride the steamboats. The lakes also provided industry in the winter months when the ice would be harvested and shipped to New York and other cities for food preservation in ice boxes.
One of the interesting geographical features of this town is the “jog”. Interrupting the otherwise straight border between Massachusetts and Connecticut, the town juts out about two miles south past this border line, a part of land that had been in dispute for almost 30 years.
It initially began with a poorly conducted land survey in 1642 to establish the border between the colonies. While this border was considered official, it did not align with the colony charters. Through a variety of land disputes and repeated surveys, the two colonies finally arrived at an agreement. However, the people living in these areas did not agree, and some in the area around our town even petitioned for it to join Connecticut.
The land disputes finally came to a close in 1804. At this time it was determined that this disputed area would be divided between the states, using the Congamond Lakes as a border. This gave Southwick its final shape and status as the southernmost town in the state.
Southwick, Massachusetts is a rural, business, and residential community. With wide open spaces and its unique “jog” into Connecticut, it’s a town that’s really found its place on the map.