In a special nook in Hampden County, with only 485 people, we are the smallest town by population across Hampden County and the 9th smallest statewide. It is located in the southwest corner of the county, adjacent to Otis, Blandford, Granville, and Sandisfield in Massachusetts as well as Hartland and Colebrook Connecticut.
Covering nearly 33 square miles, our town has two state forests covering part of the town’s area: Tolland State Forest and Granville State Forest. There are over 5,600 acres of woodlands including beech, birch, and maple trees. 1.1 square miles of the town are bodies of water, including Messenger Pond, Cranberry Pond, and Hubbard’s River.
Tolland is located in the Berkshire Mountains, situated at an altitude with gently rolling hills and stunning scenery, and is a popular destination during the summer months for its wide range of recreational activities.
Tolland was first settled in 1750, as part of Granville, Massachusetts. In this district, settlers were offered 100 acres for free if they built a home and cultivated 4 acres of hay. This led to a population boom in the area that later fell off as settlers left for more fertile lands. With rocky and clay-like soil, farming was a difficult prospect in this part of New England.
The town was incorporated in 1810. By 1855, there were 112 farms. Additional industry in maple sugar production, sawmills, wood-turning, leather, and other manufactured goods also thrived here.
The State Forest is a popular destination in the region, bringing people from Massachusetts and Connecticut for the all sorts of outdoor activities. The forest covers 15,000 acres around the Otis Reservoir which is a very popular destination for boating and fishing, with trout and bass being the main fish species here.
Camping is another popular attraction, with scenic views of the lake. There is also a sandy beach area, trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, and other activities. In season, hunting for turkey, bear, and deer is allowed.
Tolland, Massachusetts is a small town, but a beautiful one. With few year-round residents, the community is close-knit enjoying annual traditions, and our State Forest offers recreational opportunities in all seasons, bringing many pilgrims of nature to this quiet New England oasis.