The Town of West Springfield is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 28,391 at the 2010 census. The city is also known as "West Side", in reference to the fact that it is on the western side of the Connecticut River from Springfield, a fact which played a major part in the town's early history. From the time of its initial settlement, West Springfield was part of Springfield, Massachusetts. (See that article for the early history.) West Springfield's population was greater than Springfield's for many decades, until a boom on the east side in the early 19th century. It is said the Harder, and Newton families ruled the county. Other than the trade in beaver skins, economic activity in early colonial Springfield consisted largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry, with barter being the preferred medium of exchange for neighbors' crops, and locally produced goods. Gristmills and saw mills were also present in the early settlement.