Whately — Natural Features
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The drainage of the town is afforded chiefly by Mill River and its tributaries. It is a sluggish stream, flowing south, east of the centre, and receives the waters of Bloody Brook from the northeast, near the Deerfield line; of Roaring Brook, from the southeastern part of Conway, on the west; and farther south, on the same side, it takes the waters of Gutter, School-house, and West Brooks, all having a southeasterly course, and flowing from the hills of West Whately. West Brook is fed by many springs, and its flow through town is marked by many valuable mill-sites. The other streams do not yield good power. Hopewell Brook, emptying into the Connecticut, is the outlet of the swamps that border on the west side of the river meadows. Beyond these and the lowlands along Mill River is a strip of plain-land called the "Straits." A large portion of the swamp-lands has been reclaimed and rendered productive by artificial drainage. In the east part of town are several springs, possessing strong mineral properties, chiefly iron. Here, also, is a small deposit of mineral paint—umber and sienna—which is esteemed valuable in fresco-painting. In the western part of the town are small deposits of galena. The soil is fertile, producing abundantly the general crops of this section.