North Amherst and Cushman, villages within the town of Amherst, were settled in the early 1700s. Farms dominated the area’s rolling hills, and mills lined the fast-flowing Mill River.
In the 19th century, large factories grew in Cushman, which was then called North Amherst City. The train in Cushman and later the trolley in North Amherst made travel easy for workers, shoppers, and visitors. After the arrival of low-cost automobiles, the trolley tracks were torn up in 1925, and the little village shops acquired gas pumps.
By the end of the 1930s, all the factories had closed and their buildings were demolished. Stephen Puffer’s ice works shut down in the early 1940s, but Puffer’s Pond is now a beautiful fishing and swimming spot, and the dam carries a lovely waterfall.
With the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s expansion in the 1960s, much of the area’s farmland was developed. Today, residents seek a balance between preservation and growth.
Patricia G. Holland, a local historian, and William N. Robinson, a retired businessman with deep roots in Amherst, have collected photographs from many local residents. Some photographs also came from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, but the greatest number came from the Jones Library, Amherst’s public library.
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