The town of Amherst, founded in 1703, is located in the Connecticut Valley in Hampshire County. It was named for Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British general in the French and Indian War. It has maintained its small town atmosphere even as it has evolved from its earliest beginnings as a college community to a major educational and employment center of over 35,000 residents. The town is about 100 miles west of Boston, measures 27 square miles and has a thriving central business district with a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, and book stores. In the neighboring town of Hadley there is a shopping mall with a movie theater and an indoor rollerskating rink. There are three public libraries where local residents can borrow books, videos, records, and audio cassettes, free of charge.