The Story Behind This Weird Border Between Massachusetts and Connecticut
When you look at a map of the United States, you will typically see state borders, but not in a great amount of detail. You get a general idea of the shape of each state's territory. But oftentimes, if you look a little closer, you see some very strange placement of borders that make you wonder, "What were they thinking?"
Let's look at Massachusetts. All of us here in New England are very familiar with what the borders of Massachusetts look like, but I have never noticed one portion of the southern border until now. See that odd dip on the southern border with Connecticut where it's mostly a straight line?
Here's a closer view, thanks to Google Maps.
What is going on here?
Well, in 2010, Connecticut State Senator John Kissel posted an explanation for this oddity, saying it was created over a land dispute.
The area is called the Granby Notch, and is now the town of Southwick, Massachusetts. Land disputes over this area began in 1641. Connecticut put up a trading post on Massachusetts land, and they didn't like it. So, Connecticut decided to charge taxes for using the Connecticut River. Then it was on like Donkey Kong. Massachusetts threatened to charge for access to Boston, and Connecticut backed down.
In 1642, Massachusetts surveyed the land to mark the border between Connecticut and Massachusetts, and it was accidentally placed 4 to 7 miles too far south than it should have been. This started more fighting between the two states, and several towns on the border were caught in it.
The fighting went on for over 100 years until the land dispute was finally settled in 1804 with an agreement that Connecticut would regain their border towns, but lose a portion of the town of Southwick to Massachusetts. That little dip in the border is Southwick, and is there after over a century of fighting between the two states.
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