Chicopee was established in the late 1600s and remained a small agricultural village for the next hundred years. In 1823 industrialists began building mills along the Chicopee river. The mills harnessed the flowing water of the Chicopee river as it descended into the Connecticut river. The first mills were constructed in the Eastern side of town (Chicopee Falls) near Broadway and Main. Those textile mills operated until 2003. After the last operator of the mills went bankrupt (Facemate Corp) the city of Chicopee assumed ownership of the mills. The city demolished all of the structures in this complex in 2012. The surrounding neighborhood had been largely demolished and redeveloped as bland public housing some time ago (1960s?) The former Uniroyal tire factory which was built in stages starting in 1898 is just North of the Facemate site. The Uniroyal factory is currently abandoned and also city-owned. I'm confused as to why the city chose to demolish the historically significant Chicopee Manufacturing ( Facemate ) site but leave the less significant Uniroyal site standing.
Cabotville (Western Chicopee) and Chicopee Falls (Eastern Chicopee) had been part of Springfield until 1848 when they split off and formed the town of Chicopee. The Western side of Chicopee (Chicopee Center/Cabotville) was industrialized beginning with the construction of a power/diversion canal in 1830. Industries in this area included small arms manufacturers and others. Almost all of the worker housing and other historic buildings in Chicopee Falls were demolished some time ago and replaced with generic low density public housing. In the western section (Chicopee Center) many historic buildings are still standing although much of the area has been leveled and turned into parking lots and a strip mall. The city of Chicopee has plans to demolish a few additional buildings and redevelop others. What remains of historic Chicopee is very interesting. It seems to be much better off than nearby Holyoke however the enthusiasm Chicopee seems to have for destroying historic buildings is depressing. City of Chicopee community development documents here.
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