Ludlow is a town in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 21,103 as of the 2010 census, and it is considered part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located just northeast of Springfield across the Chicopee River, it is one of the city's suburbs. It has a sizable and visible Portuguese community.
Although plans were drawn up for settlement in 1685, the northeast partition of Springfield, Massachusetts was settled in 1751 as Stony Hill District. However, the town was later renamed Ludlow and incorporated as a separate entity in 1774, just before the breakout of the American Revolution. For much of its early history the town was agrarian and today many of Ludlow's street names are derived from the names of these farming families (e.g. Chapin Street, Miller Street, Alden Street, Fuller Street). Ludlow was home to many sawmills and gristmills, utilizing the power from several sources of water nearby, including the Chicopee River, Broad Brook, Higher Brook, and Stony Brook. Before the Civil War, the town began to develop into a New England mill town. This included the manufacturing of glass bottles by the many glassware companies, including John Sikes. The District was renamed from Stony Hill to Ludlow for reasons unknown to this day. Then Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Thomas Hutchinson renamed the town from the District of Stony Hill to Ludlow. The town of Ludlow was possibly named after Roger Ludlow, one of the founders of the Connecticut Colony or named after Ludlow, a town in England.
In 1868, the largest mill was opened and operated by the Ludlow Company (The Ludlow Clock Tower is depicted on the town seal), who produced jute yarns, twine, and webbing. This company helped shape the town by providing housing, a library, schools, playgrounds, and even a clubhouse for the increasingly diverse community. In the 20th century, this company moved to India and is now known as Ludlow Jute and Specialties of Mumbai.
In the early 20th century Ludlow developed from a mill town into a streetcar suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts, with a trolley line running over the bridge from Indian Orchard. Ludlow also had two railroads that traversed the town: the Springfield, Athol and North-eastern Railroad and the Hamden Railroad. The Hamden Railroad was closed and Interstate 90 was constructed over its former tracks. The Springfield, Athol, and Northeastern Railroad was reduced in length in the late 1930s as a result of the creation of Quabbin Reservoir. The train station for this line was at the corner of Winsor Street and Sewall Street and was the last station from Boston when the railroad closed in the 1950s. The train station was demolished in 1960.
Ludlow's population boomed in the 1950s with the creation of Interstate 90, known in Massachusetts as the Massachusetts Turnpike. John F. Thompson, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Massachusetts General Court at the time, was influential in gaining an exit on the Turnpike for Ludlow (now Exit 7) and subsequently the Turnpike influenced the growth of Ludlow as a suburb of Springfield. Since the 1950s, the development of numerous subdivisions has added to Ludlow's growth.