Hampshire & Hampden Canal

The Hampshire & Hampden Canal, which, with the Farmington Canal, linked Westfield to Long Island Sound in New Haven.  The canal system was planned as early as 1822, completed in 1835, and operated for a period of 17 years.

Extending as far north as Northampton, passing through Westfield, the water link was a canal four feet deep and some 34 feet wide, extending 87 miles to the sea.  The canal was used for both freight and passenger service, and the boats made their way leisurely along the route, for they were pulled by horses, and had to negotiate some 90 locks.

The canal system was abandoned in 1847 because of railroad competition and financial woes.  Eight years later, the canal route became a railroad right of way, and a railroad was built along the same route, using the drained canal bed  in some places.  The Columbia Greenway had its beginnings.

Canal as seen in downtown Westfield traveling northbound.
Canal as seen in downtown Westfield traveling northbound.
Heavy stone abutments carried clay-lined wooden aqueducts
Heavy stone abutments carried clay-lined wooden aqueducts, the longest spanning 330 feet over the Westfield River.
Map of the canal system
Map of the canal system  showing the path through the center of Westfield, later converted to railroad.  It is along this path the elevated Columbia Rail Trail will someday pass through Westfield.