Ludlow is a town in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 21,103 as of the 2010 census. It is located in western Massachusetts, north of Springfield, east of Chicopee, southeast of Granby, southwest of Belchertown, west of Wilbraham and is considered part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. 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. 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 town of Ludlow was possibly named after Roger Ludlow or named after Ludlow in England.
Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolution who led the rebels, known as "Shaysites" or "Regulators". Most of Shays' compatriots were poor farmers angered by crushing debt and taxes. Failure to repay such debts often resulted in imprisonment in debtor's prisons or the claiming of property by the government. On the night they set fire on the Springfield Armory, they snuck into Chicopee, Massachusetts and later into Ludlow around by present day West Street. They passed the town into Belchertown, Massachusetts. They stayed there for the night, then went into Enfield, Massachusetts the next day. Shay and his rebellioners were captured and surrendered at Petersham, Massachusetts.
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, as a trolley line ran 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 and today the Windsor Apartments and Charter Communications offices are located at its former site.
The population however did not boom until the 1950s with the creation of the Massachusetts Turnpike or Mass Pike. Known as the "Iron Duke", the late John F. Thompson wielded much influence in state and local politics as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Massachusetts General Court. He was incredibly influential in gaining an exit on the Mass Pike for Ludlow (now Exit 7) and subsequently the Mass Pike influenced the growth of Ludlow as a suburb of Springfield. Since the 1950s, Ludlow has experienced numerous subdivisions adding to its growth in population.