Historically the town was a small textile manufacturing center. However, Hampden transitioned into a residential community with the construction of summer homes. A former cider mill and stagecoach stop are reminders of the town’s early commercial roots.
Today Hampden offers a Premier Senior Center, family-run grocery mart, convenience stores, garden and flower shops, restaurants, a thriving theater group, The Hampden Theater Guild and a flourishing boutique offering gifts, clothing and jewelry as well as small commercial operations, located in a developed industrial area.
One of Hampden’s most valuable resources is the Laughing Brook Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary, managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Laughing Brook has 356 acres of fields and woodlands with hiking trails, and a touch-and-see trail for the blind. In addition, there are many trail along Minnechaug Mountain and goat Rock allowing people to enjoy protected lands in Hampden.