HISTORY OF MONSON
In 1759, a group of residents in the town of Brimfield petitioned the General Court and formed what would be called Monson. The first Town Meeting was held in 1760.
Because of the abundant waterpower in these hills, manufacturing was a major activity. Beginning in the 1600’s, there were mills and factories located in what became Monson – sawmills, woolen mills, gristmills.
There were also blacksmiths, carriage makers, leather works and cider mills. There was a mill to extract linseed oil from flax; an industry to gather bog iron; a lead pipe manufacturer; a turning lathe for rifle barrels; a tannery and a large granite quarry that supplied building materials not only to Monson but throughout the northeast (all of the granite buildings and foundations in town are made of Monson granite). By the late 1800's’there were several hat factories, sending hats to the New York market.
The mill owners were not only extremely wealthy – at one time, Main Street with its row of mansions was called “Millionaire’s Mile” – but generous: giving the town funds for Memorial Hall, the (Lyon Memorial) Library (c.1882), the Soldiers monument (c.1884), Flynt Fountain monument (c.1882) among others.
In 1804, Monson Academy was established. It set the standard for educational excellence, and for many years, the Academy was the only high school in Monson.
Monson is a culturally rich small town, especially noted for theater, the arts and for its festivals.