Northbridge, Massachusetts

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Northbridge, Massachusetts
Northbridge town hall.JPG
Northbridge Town Hall
Worcester County Massachusetts incorporated and unincorporated areas Northbridge highlighted.svg
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°09′05″N71°39′00″W / 42.15139°N 71.65000°W / 42.15139; -71.65000 Coordinates: 42°09′05″N71°39′00″W / 42.15139°N 71.65000°W / 42.15139; -71.65000
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Worcester
  Type Open town meeting
  Total18.1 sq mi (46.8 km2)
  Land17.2 sq mi (44.5 km2)
  Water0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
300 ft (91 m)
  Density950/sq mi (367/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
01534, 01588
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-46925
GNIS feature ID0618376

Northbridge is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 16,335 at the 2020 census. The Northbridge Town Hall is located at 7 Main Street in Whitinsville. The town is now a part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, of the National Park Service. Northbridge claims to history include: Native American Nipmuc lands, Colonel John Spring, who led the Uxbridge militia training company in the American Revolution, Samuel Spring, Revolutionary War Chaplain, the Residence of Ezra T. Benson 1830-1832, the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore's mother, Phoebe, and home to the Whitin Machine Works from 1831 to 1964


For geographic and demographic information on the village of Whitinsville, please see the article Whitinsville, Massachusetts.


Early history

The earliest residents were the Nipmuc, or "Small Pond People". They had a well-developed agriculture, made tools, and had a graphite mine at Sturbridge. Northbridge was first settled by Europeans in 1704 and was officially incorporated on July 14, 1772. The town was once part of Mendon, from 1667 to 1726, and part of Uxbridge, from 1727 to 1772. Colonel John Spring, who had agitated for the new town of Northbridge, and later reversed his position, led a company of men in the Massachusetts Militia in the Revolution. Dozens of local men fought at the Lexington alarm, and at Bunker Hill. Samuel Spring, John's son, became a Revolutionary War Chaplain commissioned in the militia at the Siege of Boston, and who also served in the Invasion of Canada (1775) under Colonel Benedict Arnold. Samuel carried Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr, his Princeton classmate, off of separate battlefields. Colonel Seth Read and his brother, Colonel Joseph Read owned more than half of the land in this town at the time of the American Revolutionary War. [1] They both fought in the Massachusetts Militia, and the Continental Army. [1] The mother of President Millard Fillmore, Phoebe Millard (Fillmore), was born in Northbridge. Ezra Taft Benson, Sr., a famous Mormon pioneer, lived here from 1830 to 1832 on his sister's farm. [2] He married Pamela Andrus, of Northbridge, and also apparently her sister, Adeline Brooks Andrus. [2] He then married six more times and served as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands, and in the Utah Territorial Legislature. [2]

Manufacturing and Mill Villages

Whitin Machine Shop, 1897. Whithin Machine Shop, 1897.jpg
Whitin Machine Shop, 1897.
The former Whitin Machine Works, now known as the Whitinsville shop, located in the village of Whitinsville in the town of Northbridge. Whitinsville Shop.jpg
The former Whitin Machine Works, now known as the Whitinsville shop, located in the village of Whitinsville in the town of Northbridge.

This suburban community near Worcester has a rich manufacturing heritage. The Blackstone and Mumford Rivers run through the Town and in the early 19th century numerous industrial developments were erected along the riverbanks, most notably the Whitin Machine Shop in Whitinsville, at its peak the largest manufacturer of textile machines in the world. [4] The textile machine company and industrial village was written up as one of the Harvard studies of history in business. [4] Northbridge stands as a testament to the success of mill villages throughout the 19th and 20th centuries when production was expanding so greatly that immigrant labor from Canada, the Netherlands and Armenia was imported. [5] Now, these mills stand, mostly renovated into housing and various businesses along the Blackstone River. Home of Lookout Rock, through which the bike trails pass and which overlooks the river below, the outskirts of the valley's community have a number of with horse farms. [5] Today most of the mill buildings are no longer used to full capacity, however, they do offer incubator space to small businesses. Further, most of the Town's architecture developed during the 19th century has been preserved.[ citation needed ]

National Heritage Corridor

Northbridge is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission and is working with its neighboring communities to "promote the region's special character and sense of history".[ citation needed ] The Blackstone River Valley was the first industrialized region in the United States. Northbridge has a number of valley sites designated by the National Park service. [6] The Reservoir of the West Hill Dam flood control project and recreation area also lies within the town limits of Northbridge.


Several goals of the town are: "to strengthen the local economy through developing and reusing industrial areas as well as retaining existing businesses"; and, "to keep Northbridge as a desirable place to live through preserving and revitalizing the village centers, maintaining and expanding town services, and protecting natural resources".[ citation needed ]

In 2009, Northbridge was named a 'Bio-Ready' community by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. [7] As of January 22, 2021, Northbridge maintains a Bronze BioReady rating. [8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.1 square miles (47 km2), of which, 17.2 square miles (45 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (4.87%) is water.

Villages in Northbridge

Adjacent towns


Climate data for Northbridge, Massachusetts
Record high °F (°C)68
Average high °F (°C)37
Average low °F (°C)15
Record low °F (°C)−25
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.89
Source: [9]


Historical population
1790 569    
1800 544−4.4%
1810 713+31.1%
1820 905+26.9%
1830 1,053+16.4%
1840 1,449+37.6%
1850 2,230+53.9%
1860 2,633+18.1%
1870 3,774+43.3%
1880 4,053+7.4%
1890 4,603+13.6%
1900 7,036+52.9%
1910 8,807+25.2%
1920 10,174+15.5%
1930 9,713−4.5%
1940 10,242+5.4%
1950 10,476+2.3%
1960 10,800+3.1%
1970 11,795+9.2%
1980 12,246+3.8%
1990 13,371+9.2%
2000 13,220−1.1%
2010 15,707+18.8%
2020 16,335+4.0%
County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts:Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney:Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds:Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate:Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): David Muradian (R)
State Senator(s):Ryan Fattman (R)
Governor's Councilor(s):Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-2nd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

As of the census [10] of 2010, there were 15,707 people, 5,896 households, and 4,097 families residing in the town. The population density was 913.2 people per square mile (353.0/km2). There were 6,172 housing units at an average density of 341 per square mile (132/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.0% White, 0.70% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.

There were 5,896 households, out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 30.5% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.1. In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.5% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $68,981, and the median income for a family was $87,359. Males had a median income of $57,076 versus $44,825 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,945. About 4.6% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.


Situated between Interstates 90 (Mass Pike), 146, 395, and 495, Northbridge has highway access to and from major cities such as Worcester, Providence and Boston. Route 146 has a small portion in the town. Also, Route 122 runs along Providence Road.

The nearest commuter rail station into Boston is located in nearby Grafton, approximately 9 miles away. The town is located equidistantly (approx. 10–12 miles) between the Franklin/495/Forge Park T-station and the Worcester T-station, both with ample parking. A section of the Blackstone River Greenway, part of the East Coast Greenway is proposed to cross the town. If completed, the trail would connect the town to Worcester's downtown Union Station, as well as to Woonsocket, Providence, and Newport. [11] The WRTA has weekday bus service to Grafton station, as well as to Millbury. [12]

Historically, Northbridge had trolleys running through some of its village centers, and was on a commuter train line running from Worcester to Providence. The train runs as a freight line currently, however, discussion has begun in Rhode Island and Massachusetts about the possible redevelopment of a commuter line on this route [13]

Whitinsville Social Library, Northbridge, 1899 - Now current town hall 1899 Northbridge public library Massachusetts.png
Whitinsville Social Library, Northbridge, 1899 - Now current town hall


Northbridge has both a public education system and a private education system. The public schools are operated by Northbridge Public Schools.

Whitinsville Christian School is located at 279 Linwood Avenue in Whitinsville. The school houses pre-K through 12th grade and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


The public library in Northbridge began in 1844. [14] [15] In fiscal year 2011, the town of Northbridge spent 0.26% ($96,756) of its budget on its public library—some $6.16 per person. [16]


Local cable TV service is served by Charter Communication, Electricity is provided by National Grid and gas by Nstar/Commonwealth Gas Company.

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 Buford, Mary Hunter (1895). Seth Read, Lieut.-Col.Continental Army; Pioneer at Geneva, New York, 1787, and at Erie, Penn., June, 1795. His Ancestors and Descendants. Boston, Mass. pp. 167 Pages on CD in PDF Format.
  2. 1 2 3 "Ezra T. Benson". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  3. Roland, Henry. "Six examples of successful shop management." Engineering Magazine 12. 1897
  4. 1 2 Navin, Thomas R (1969). The Whitin Machine Works since 1831: A textile machinery company in an industrial village; Harvard studies in business history. Russel and Russel.
  5. 1 2 "Northbridge". Retrieved 12-11-07.Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. "Plan your visit/valley sites/Douglas, Northbridge, Sutton". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  7. Weisman, Robert (2009-04-30). "'Bio-ready' communities in state named". The Boston Globe. p. B9.
  8. "BioReady Communities" . Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  9. "Northbridge, MA Monthly Weather". Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  10. United States Census
  14. C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  15. Whitinsville Social Library. Retrieved 2010-11-10
  16. July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011; cf. The FY2011 Municipal Pie: What's Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2013. Available: . Retrieved 2013-12-14

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Worcester County, Massachusetts County in Massachusetts

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Mendon, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

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Uxbridge, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

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Whitinsville, Massachusetts Census-designated place in Massachusetts, United States

Whitinsville is an unincorporated village within the town of Northbridge in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Whitinsville is a census-designated place (CDP) and its population was 6,750 at the 2020 census. Whitinsville is pronounced as if it were spelled "White-ins-ville". It was founded by the Whitin family, after whom it is also named. It is a post office jurisdiction, with a ZIP Code of 01588. It is located on the Mumford River, a tributary of the Blackstone River.

Blackstone Valley

The Blackstone Valley or Blackstone River Valley is a region of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was a major factor in the American Industrial Revolution. It makes up part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and National Historical Park.

Blackstone Canal United States historic place

The Blackstone Canal was a waterway linking Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island through the Blackstone Valley via a series of locks and canals during the early 19th century.

Mumford River

The Mumford River is an 18.3-mile-long (29.5 km) river in south-central Massachusetts. It is a tributary of the Blackstone River.

James Whitin

James Fletcher Whitin was the youngest son of Paul C. Whitin, and brother of John Crane Whitin, who founded the Whitin Machine Works in 1831 at Northbridge, Massachusetts. James Whitin would also enter the family textile business, at a later age. The Whitin Machine Works grew to become one of the largest textile machinery companies in the world.

Linwood, Massachusetts Village in Massachusetts, United States

Linwood is a village with its own post office in the towns of Northbridge and Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

Paul Whitin

Col. Paul Whitin, (1767–1831) was an American blacksmith and pioneering industrialist who in 1831 in Northbridge, Massachusetts established the Whitin Machine Works, which would later become the largest maker of specialty textile machinery in the world.

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park is a part of the state park system of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). This 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) park "recalls the role of canals in transporting raw materials and manufactured goods between emerging industrial centers." The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park at Uxbridge, Massachusetts, is the midpoint of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor of the National Park System. The Blackstone River and Valley is where the industrial revolution was born in America. The southern entrance to this state park is the site of the historic Stanley Woolen Mill, currently being redeveloped for commercial and tourism. The Native American Nipmuc name for the village here was "Wacentug", translated as "bend in the river".

North Uxbridge, Massachusetts Village in Massachusetts, United States

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Rogersons Village Historic District United States historic place

Rogersons Village Historic District is a historic mill village in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, United States.

West Hill Dam

West Hill Dam Reserve is a United States Army Corps of Engineers flood control project with a recreational park and wildlife management area located at Uxbridge, Massachusetts. The West Hill Dam Project was completed in 1960. It is located on the West River, one of the branches of the Blackstone River which flows from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI. The West River originates in Grafton, Massachusetts, at Cider Mill Pond and Silver Lake, near Upton, Massachusetts, and the Upton State Forest. The dam is unusual in that it isn't filled unless there is a flood. West Hill Dam was built after devastating floods during the 1950s; it is intended to protect the Blackstone Valley from future destructive flooding. The cities and towns downriver from Uxbridge, including Millville, Blackstone, Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence, Rhode Island, suffered extensive flooding from the Blackstone during Hurricane Diane in 1955. Hurricane Donna tested this new dam in 1960 as the eyewall passed over. The West Hill Dam is located in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor near the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Park rangers provide visitor assistance and offer scheduled interpretative programs. Fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities are available year-round. The park has a recreation area, 34 picnic sites, one playground, a swimming area and five miles of hiking trails. However, access to the park from West Hill Road is currently blocked as of 2021 because of landowner disagreements. West Hill Dam is also the field office for the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area. It consists of scattered wetlands in the upper and middle Charles River watershed, between the towns of Bellingham and Needham. The wetlands provide flood storage area, fisheries, wildlife management, and recreation. The Charles River is the well-known watercourse that flows into Boston Harbor.

Linwood Historic District (Northbridge, Massachusetts) United States historic place

The Linwood Historic District is an industrial historic district in the Linwood village of Northbridge, Massachusetts. It is the site of the Linwood Cotton Mill and is roughly bounded by Linwood Avenue, Maple Court, and Pine Court. On June 16, 1989, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Whitin Machine Works

The Whitin Machine Works (WMW) was founded by Paul Whitin and his sons in 1831 on the banks of the Mumford River in South Northbridge, Massachusetts. The village of South Northbridge became known as Whitinsville in 1835, in honor of its founder.

Rockdale Common Housing District United States historic place

The Rockdale Common Housing District is a historic district at 4-20 McBride, 46-58 Plantation, and 37-42 Taft Sts. in Northbridge, Massachusetts, United States. The district is composed of a collection of tenement houses built from c. 1880 to 1920. They were built by members of the Whitin family, who owned most of the textile production capacity in Northbridge. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Whitinsville Historic District United States historic place

The Whitinsville Historic District is a historic district on Church, East, Fletcher, Hill, Woodland, Lake, and Water Sts., Castle Hill Rs., and Linwood Avenue in Northbridge, Massachusetts. The district encompasses the historic 19th century mill village of Whitinsville, which grew up around an 1826 brick mill building erected by Paul Whitin. The Whitin family came to dominate the textile trade in Northbridge, with numerous mill complexes.

The history of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, founded in 1727, may be divided into its prehistory, its colonial history and its modern industrial history. Uxbridge is located on the Massachusetts-Rhode Island state line, and became a center of the earliest industrialized region in the United States.