What’s With All the Names?


Two villages, Florence and Leeds, are also part of Northampton. It can be confusing. Each community has its own identity, and even its own zip code (Northampton is 01060; Florence is 01062, and Leeds is 01053). Here’s what you need to know.

Florence is just northwest of Northampton’s downtown– follow Route 9 past the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School and you’ll find yourself in the center of Florence.

Leeds is northwest of Florence. If you were to keep going up Route 9, once you hit the Veterans Administration Medical Center (just past Look Park), you’d be in Leeds. To explore Leeds further, take a left onto Florence Street and follow any of the winding roads.

The Baystate area of town is not its own village but is a very distinct neighborhood. It’s bounded by the Mill River, Nonotuck Street, Riverside Drive, and Federal Street, which you’ll find just below the high school.

As far as the terms “Hamp” and “Noho” go, we make no judgments. A common explanation is that Northampton natives call the city “Hamp,” while newer residents (and tourists) call it “Noho.” However, we’ve heard plenty of non-natives call it “Hamp, and a number of longtime residents call it “Noho.” To play it safe, just say “Northampton.” And no matter what, the high school is  always “Hamp High.”


Northampton resident Rachel Simpson is a creative communications professional with more than 20 years of broad experience in corporate, municipal, academic, non-profit, and commercial settings.

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