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Westborough MA

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 located in the town hall.

 

History

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.[1]

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 Jackstraw 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.

Main Street in c. 1905

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 USA, headquarters of Bose Corporation and the global headquarters of American Superconductor.

 

Registered Historic Places

Westborough is home to seven Nationally Registered Historic Places:

  • Nathan Fisher House — East of Shrewsbury on MA 9 (added April 25, 1980)
  • Joseph Lothrop House, now known as 1790 Restaurant & Tavern, corner of Route 9 and Park Street. (added in 1974)
  • Lyman School for Boys — Junction of Oak St. and Milk St. (added August 25, 1994)
  • Maples Cottage — East of Shrewsbury on Oak St. (added April 25, 1980)
  • Vintonville Historic District — Roughly bounded by Cottage, Green, Pine, Brigham, Beach Streets, and rear of properties along the east side of South Street (added August 23, 2006)
  • Jonah Warren House — 64 Warren Street (added December 5, 1998)
  • 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 Street (1990)
  • Westborough State Hospital — Along Lyman St. North of Chauncy Lake and junction of Milk St. and MA 9 (added February 21, 1994)

 

Geography

Lake Chauncy

Mill Pond at sunset

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56.0 km2),of which, 20.5 square miles (53.1 km2) of it is water and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it is land or 5.09 percent. Westborough is drained by the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. The town contains numerous bodies of water, including Lake Chauncy, Mill Pond, Lake Hoccomocco, and the Westborough Reservoir. Lake Chauncy is open to swimming, boating, and fishing, and has a public beach open to residents of Westborough and Northborough during the summer months. The average elevation of the town is approximately 300 feet (91 m).

 

Adjacent towns

Westborough is located in Central Massachusetts, located about 37.5 miles (60.35 km) west of Boston and 12 miles (19 km) east of Worcester.

It is bordered by six towns:

 

Demographics

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 17,997 people (grew to 18,737 in 2004), 6,534 households, and 4,521 families residing in the town. The population density was 876.9 people per square mile (338.6/km2). There were 6,773 housing units at an average density of 330.0 per square mile (127.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 88.18% White, 1.44% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 8.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, 1.35% from two or more races, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.26% of the population.

There were 6,534 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% 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 3.21.

In the town the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $73,418, and the median income for a family was $94,610. Males had a median income of $66,157 versus $40,030 for females. The per capita income for the town was $35,063. About 3.0% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over. As of 2005 the labor force was over 9,300 people with an unemployment rate in the town of 3.1%. Additionally in 2004, the number of registered voters in the town reached 11,532.

 

Education

Westborough Public Schools operates the town’s six schools, including three elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school:

  • Hastings Elementary School
  • Armstrong Elementary School
  • Annie E. Fales Elementary School
  • Mill Pond School
  • Sarah W. Gibbons Middle School
  • Westborough High School (school mascot – Rangers)

The Mill Pond School is the newest school addition to Westborough. The Mill Pond School consists of grade 4 to 6, then Gibbons Middle School which consists of grades 7 and 8, and then Westborough High School. There are various options depending upon residents’ geographic location in the town for preschool through third grade. Graduation rates in the high school are consistently above 95% and the vast majority of these graduates attend a four-year college.

Westborough receives an extremely low education reimbursement from the Commonwealth (10th from the bottom) based upon a formula which was set in 1993. The district is working with state legislators to attempt to re-formulate Chapter 70 funding so that it is more equitable.[3]

In a 2004/2005 study by School Matters, a service of Standard and Poors, Westborough Public School system was rated as one of the top public school systems in Massachusetts that consistently outperformed peer schools on MCAS reading and math proficiency test over the last four years. Westborough was the only school system in Worcester County other than Harvard, MA to achieve this top state wide ranking. Westborough ranked 16 out of 204 school systems rated in the state of Massachusetts in this study. In 2005, Money Magazine listed Westborough #36 in its survey of Top 100 Best Places to Live, citing the financial support and staffing levels found in the Westborough Public Schools.

The following facts published as part of the 2005 MCAS tests results give a profile of the academics throughout the Westborough Public Schools.[4]

  • Total enrollment (2004-2005): 3,507- ranked 88/328 districts
  • Grades Served: K-12
  • Racial Make-up: African-American (1.4%), Asian (11.8%), Hispanic (4%), Native American (1%), White (82.8%)
  • Gender Make-up of Student Body: Male (51.1%) Female (48.9%)
  • Students whose first language is not English: (6.8%)- ranked 79/328 districts
  • Students in Special Education: (11.9%)- ranked 285/328 districts
  • Students from low-income families: (4.9%)- ranked 246/328 districts
  • Dropouts per 100 students: (0.0%)- ranked 1/256 districts
  • Average number of Absences per student: 6
  • Percent of days the average student attended school: (96.8%)- ranked 9/328 districts
  • Students who repeated a grade: (0.6%)- ranked 216/327 districts
  • Total Number of Teachers: 272
  • Student/Teacher Ratio: 12.9 to 1- ranked 138/328 districts
  • Core Academic teachers identified as ‘highly qualified’: (96.4%)- ranked 173/328 districts
  • Teachers licensed in their teaching assignment: 96.7%
  • Average Teacher Salary: $51,590- ranked 129/328 districts
  • Total School Spending: $33,055,171
  • Per-Pupil Spending overall: $9,375- ranked 94/325 districts
  • Per-Pupil spending on Regular Education: $8,143- ranked 52/308 districts
  • Per-Pupil Spending on Special Education: $18,908- ranked 68/325 districts
  • Number of Students per Computer: 4.5- ranked 167/327 districts
  • Plans of High School Graduates: Four-year private college (42.5%), Four-year public college (37%), Two-year private college (0%), Two-year public college (6.8%), Other education (0.9%), Joined workforce (7.8%), Military Service (2.3%), Other (0%), Unknown (2.7%)

 

Transportation

The Town of Westborough is located at the strategic intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) and Interstate 495, making it easily accessible from all directions, and providing an ideal location for both residents and businesses.

Route 30 (Main Street) and Route 135 (South Street/Milk Street) intersect in a rotary at the town’s center, while Route 9 runs nearby serving much of the town’s commerce.

Growing traffic problems on Route 30 (Main Street) have recently become a major issue in town. There have recently been many construction projects to ease the traffic congestion downtown. The Bay State Commons shopping area has recently opened, and people say that traffic is even worse when commuters are heading west after a workday.

Westborough is served by a commuter rail station on the Framingham/Worcester Line

Westborough currently does not provide any public transportation apart from public school buses and free transportation for senior citizens.

 

Media

Newspapers:

Broadcast:

  • Channel 2: WGBH – (PBS) – Boston
  • Channel 4: WBZ – (CBS) – Boston, WBZ-TV
  • Channel 5: WCVB – (ABC) – Boston
  • Channel 6: WFXT – (FOX) – Boston, FOX 25
  • Channel 7: WHDH – (NBC) – Boston, 7 NBC
  • Channel 11: Westborough TV Public Notice and Community Access Channel- Westborough
  • Channel 12: Westborough TV Area Government Access Channel-Westborough
  • Channel 13: Westborough TV Educational and Area Schools Access Channel-Westborough High School
  • Channel 27: WUNI – (Univision) – Worcester

 

Sites of interest

 

Accolades

Money Magazine & CNNmoney.com 2005 Best Places to Live: 36/100 [1]

Money Magazine & CNNmoney.com 2007 Best Places to Live: 73/100 [2]

 

Annual events

  • Annual Boy Scout Troop 100 Pancake Breakfast-February/March
  • High School Musical-March
  • Middle School Musical-April
  • Spring Clean Up Day- April
  • Spring Carnival-April
  • Little League Parade-April
  • Memorial Day Parade
  • Purple Day-June
  • Dress and act like a Pirate Day, May 12th
  • High School Graduation Ceremony-June
  • 4th of July Block Party
  • Homecoming – October
  • High School Play-November
  • Middle School Play-November
  • Thanksgiving Day Football game
  • Christmas Singalong
  • Westborough High School Winter Concert-December

 

 

Notable residents

 

References

  1. ^ The section about Westborough history is based on notes titled "The Hundredth Town", written by Kristina N. Allen, which in turn are based on her 1984 book "On the Beaten Path", with the exception of the Northborough paragraph which is based on class notes from Mr. Antonio, former principal of the Eli Whitney school who later taught Westborough history at Armstrong school before retiring.
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Westborough Public Schools website
  4. ^ The State of Education: Westborough, MA, Boston.com, 2005.

 

 

 
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