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This website provides information about our town government and services. The menu above should lead you to any information you might need. Hawley is more than its government, however.

The town was settled in 1771. It was incorporated in February 1792 and named after Revolutionary War patriot Joseph Hawley of Northampton.

Our rocky, hilly town is on the eastern slopes of the Berkshires and the western border of the Pioneer Valley. Hawley was settled by younger sons of prosperous families to the south and east. Many early settlers migrated from Cape Cod.

Hawley’s Old Town Common in 1818, ©1992 Estate of Judith Russell.

When asked where they lived, Hawleyites would traditionally joke that they resided “on the edge of Hawley.” The saying derived from the fact that there is no center of town. There was a town common in East Hawley between 1792 and 1848. After that, the buildings on and around it—a meetinghouse, taverns, a post office, a smithy—moved elsewhere or were abandoned. It is now a collection of cellar holes, although it has been revived in recent years as a historic site with interpretive signs.

Even before the demise of the common, Hawley’s remote location and steep topography prohibited many from venturing there often. By the 1880s the old town common was known as Poverty Square, an apt name for all of Hawley. Farmers found the soil rocky, and the town’s hills shaded many residents from sunshine.

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