About Westborough - Wikipedia article
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Westborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,997 at the 2000 census. The town is governed under the open town meeting system.
Before recorded time, the area now known as Westborough was a well travelled crossroads. As early as 7,000 B.C., prehistoric people in dugout canoes followed the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers to their headwaters in search of quartzite for tools and weapons. During the period from 1200-1600 A.D., seasonal migrations brought Nipmuc Indians to hunt and fish near Cedar Swamp and Lake Hoccomocco. Using Fay Mountain as a landmark, Indians crisscrossed Westborough on well worn paths: the old Connecticut Path leading west from Massachusetts Bay; the Narragansett Trail leading south, and the trail (along the present Milk Street) leading to Canada.
The early English explorer John Oldham followed these trails through Westborough in 1633, and settlers in search of fertile farmlands followed not long after. By late 1675, a few families had settled near Lake Chauncy, in the "west borough" of Marlborough.
On November 18, 1717, Westborough was incorporated as the hundredth town in Massachusetts, populated by twenty-seven families. Soon large farms were carved out, mills built along the Assabet River and Jack Straw Brook, and taverns flourished. Westborough's first minister, Reverend Ebenezer Parkman, shepherded the growing town of colonists through the years toward independence from Great Britain. Forty-six minutemen from Westborough fought under Captain Edmund Brigham in the Revolutionary War
In 1775, Northborough split off as the "north borough" of Westborough, much as Westborough split off from Marlborough some 58 years before. However, the two towns shared a meetinghouse for some time more.
In 1810 the route from Boston to Worcester was straightened and improved into an official turnpike (the present Route 9), and along its Westborough route, the Wesson Tavern Common, Forbush Tavern and Nathan Fisher's store prospered. The center of commerce shifted downtown in 1824 with the arrival of the steam train through Westborough's center. The railroad brought a new era to the town industry: over the next century, local factories shipped boots and shoes, straw hats, sleighs, textiles, bicycles, and eventually abrasive products, across the nation. Westborough dairies supplied cities with milk and local greenhouses shipped out carnations, while the eight orchards found ready markets for their produce.
The industrial progress of the entire country is indebted to Westborough's most famous native son Eli Whitney Jr. Born in 1765, Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1795 after graduating from Yale, In 1798 he introduced mass production to the United States at his Whitney Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut. Whitney's legacy is apparent in the modern industries located within the town's borders: AstraZeneca, Dover Electric, Proteon, Genzyme, EMC Corporation, IBM, PFPC, the US Headquarters of National Grid (US), headquarters od Bose Corporation and the global headquarters of American Superconductor.
Registered Historic Places
Westborough is home to six Nationally Registered Historic Places:
- Joseph Lothrop House, now known as 1790 Restaurant & Tavern, corner of Route 9 and Park Street. (added in 1974)
- Jonah Warren House — 64 Warren St. (added December 5, 1998)
- Lyman School for Boys — Junction of Oak St. and South St. (added August 25, 1994)
- Maples Cottage — East of Shrewsbury on Oak St. (added April 25, 1980)
- Nathan Fisher House — East of Shrewsbury on MA 9 (added April 25, 1980)
- West Main Street Historic District — Roughly bounded by Milk, Main, Blake, and Fay streets (added July 16, 1987)
- Expanded to include 83-118 West Main St. (1990)
- Westborough State Hospital — Along Lyman St. North of Chauncy Lake and junction of South St. and MA 9 (added February 21, 1994)