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Located on the inside of a large meander of the Connecticut River, Northampton is viewed from the east with a vantage point above the river's wide flood plain. Ignoring the river, the drawing is oriented toward the west emphasizing its bucolic, hilly setting in the western part of the state.
By the end of the 19th century, Northampton, originally an agricultural community, boasted a diversified economy. The legend identifies seven small factories producing a variety of goods, with one manufacturing shovels and related tools and another, ladies' pocket books and accessories. Most of the factories were located near the Mill River, a small tributary of the Connecticut River, and the railroad track, which appears very prominently running through the center of the drawing.
More interestingly, the list also includes four hotels and four public institutions, emphasizing the city's importance as a resort destination and a setting for the specialized societal institutions that emerged during the last half of the 19th century. These institutions included Smith Female College, founded in 1871 and now the nation's largest liberal arts college for women; Clarke School for the Deaf, the nations oldest oral school for the deaf; and a lunatic hospital, now Northampton State Hospital. While the preferred location for such institutions was rural settings, it interesting to note that in Northampton they were located on the fringes of town and consequently appear in the drawing's background.
One of the curious features of this presentation is the vignette of Round Hill Hotel, located at the bottom center. It is also carries the quotation: Paradise of America Jenny Lind. This accolade refers to a comment made by the noted Swedish opera singer when she toured the United States in the early 1850s and honeymooned in Northampton, presumably at the hotel.