Charlton, Massachusetts

Charlton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,981 at the 2010 census.

Coordinates: 42°8′2.63″N 71°58′8.46″W / 42.1340639°N 71.9690167°W

Charlton, Massachusetts
Charlton Center
Charlton Center
Official seal of Charlton, Massachusetts

Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°08′08″N 71°58′14″W / 42.13556°N 71.97056°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total43.8 sq mi (113.4 km2)
 • Land42.5 sq mi (110.2 km2)
 • Water1.3 sq mi (3.2 km2)
895 ft (273 m)
 • Total12,981
 • Density307.7/sq mi (118.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-12715
GNIS feature ID0618359


Charlton was first settled in 1735.[1] It was established as a District separated from Oxford on January 10, 1755, and became a Town in 1775 by a law that made all Districts into Towns.[2] It was named after Sir Francis Charlton.[3] During the 1800s, farming continued to be the major occupation, but woolen mills were being built along some of the town's brooks by the turn of the twentieth century.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 43.8 square miles (113 km2), of which 42.5 square miles (110 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (2.86%) is water.

The town is bordered on the west by Sturbridge; on the north by East Brookfield, Spencer and Leicester; on the east by Oxford; and on the south by Dudley and Southbridge.

Charlton is bisected by north-south Route 31, which runs through the historical villages of Charlton Center, Charlton City and Charlton Depot. North-south Route 169 connects Charlton City with Southbridge. East-west routes include Route 20, a major commuter road, and the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90), which crosses through Charlton but does not have an exit in the town. While there is no exit for the town, there are two rest stops on the Mass Pike that are in Charlton.


As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 11,263 people, 3,788 households, and 3,045 families residing in the town. The population density was 264.8 people per square mile (102.2/km²). There were 4,008 housing units at an average density of 94.2 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.08% White, 0.46% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.98% of the population.

There were 3,788 households out of which 45.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 14.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the town, the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $63,033, and the median income for a family was $70,208. Males had a median income of $46,727 versus $33,451 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,626. About 4.9% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

As of December 2009, there were 13,745 residents.[15]


Charlton has an open town meeting form of government, with a five-member Board of Selectmen.

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): Peter Durant (R), Paul K. Frost (R)
State Senator(s): Anne Gobi (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Richard E. Neal (D-1st District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)


The Charlton Free Public Library was established in 1882.[16][17] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Charlton spent 1.73% ($306,971) of its budget on its public library—some $24 per person.[18] The library gained national recognition in 1906 after it banned Mark Twain's short story "Eve's Diary" for its illustrations of Eve in "summer costume." Twain testified before Congress after the incident saying, "The whole episode has rather amused me. I have no feeling of vindictiveness over the stand of the librarians there — I am only amused. You see they did not object to my book; they objected to Lester Ralph's pictures. I wrote the book; I did not make the pictures. I admire the pictures, and I heartily approve them, but I did not make them. It seems curious to me — some of the incidents in this case. It appears that the pictures in Eve's Diary were first discovered by a lady librarian. When she made the dreadful find, being very careful, she jumped at no hasty conclusions — not she — she examined the horrid things in detail. It took her some time to examine them all, but she did her hateful duty! I don't blame her for this careful examination; the time she spent was, I am sure, enjoyable, for I found considerable fascination in them myself. Then she took the book to another librarian, a male this time, and he, also, took a long time to examine the unclothed ladies. He must have found something of the same sort of fascination in them that I found."


Charlton public schools are part of the Dudley–Charlton Regional School district. The town of Charlton has schools to serve children of all ages. Charlton Elementary serves students in kindergarten and first grade. The Heritage School serves students in grades 2 through 4. The Charlton Middle School serves grades 5 through 8. Charlton High Schoolers (ninth grade through twelfth grade) attend Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley.

Charlton is also home to Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School which serves Charlton and surrounding communities.

There used to be a high school in the center of town called Charlton High School. That building is now used for the Charlton Municipal Offices.

Points of interest


  1. ^ "Massachusetts City and Town Incorporation and Settlement Dates". Secretary of the Commonwealth Citizen Information Service. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
  2. ^ William O. Hultgren (Fall 2004). "Time Line for the Establishment of the Town of Charlton" (PDF). Charlton Historical Society Newsletter. Charlton Historical Society. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  3. ^ "Profile for Charlton, Massachusetts". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  4. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  5. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. ^ "The Board of Registrars Report", Town of Charlton 2009 Annual Report (PDF), Town of Charlton, 2009, p. 26
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ Retrieved 2010-11-10
  18. ^ July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-08-04

External links

Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School

Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School is a secondary school located in Charlton, Massachusetts and sits on top of Old Mugget Hill. The school serves about 1100 students grades 9 to 12 and some Post-Grad students as well.

Bement Camp and Conference Center

Bement Camp and Conference Center, also known as Camp Bement or just Bement, opened in the summer of 1948 and was in continuous operation for the next 60 years. Thousands of children passed through Bement's gates during those years. The camp grew through purchases and gifts of land. By the early 1970s it had grown to over 550 acres (2.2 km2).

Following the untimely death of Camp Director Mark Rourke in 2004 due to a glioblastoma, the camp went through a rapid series of director and staff changes and enrollment plummeted.

In the spring of 2009, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts announced the closure of the camp, and that a discernment committee would be formed to determine the future of the camp.

Buffumville Lake

Buffumville Lake is a 200-acre (0.81 km2), 5.2-billion-US-gallon (20,000,000 m3) capacity United States Army Corps of Engineers flood control lake project located in Charlton, Massachusetts. The lake and surrounding grounds are open to the public for hiking, boating, fishing, and hunting. A 27-hole frisbee golf course is located next to the lake. Buffumville Lake is managed as a unit with the nearby Hodges Village Dam flood control project.

The 92-mile (148 km) Midstate Trail is accessible from the north end of the lake.

Charlton Center Historic District

Charlton Center Historic District is an historic district roughly on Main Street from Mugget Hill Road to Masonic Home Road and adjacent roads in Charlton, Massachusetts. The district, which encompasses the historic center of the town, includes the first architect-designed building in the center, the Shingle style Overlook Hotel designed by Worcester architect George H. Clemence, as well as the 1905 Colonial Revival Town Hall designed by Frost, Briggs & Chamberlain. The town hall site is also home to a number of memorials to the town's military.The district also features various Federal and Gothic Revival houses, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

David Peters (politician)

David M. Peters (born March 1, 1954 in Hartford, Connecticut) is an American politician who represented the 6th Worcester District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1991 to 2001. From 1995 to 1997 he was the Minority Whip and from 1997 to 1999 he was the House Minority Leader. Peters was appointed Commissioner of the Division of Fisheries, Wildlife & Environmental Law Enforcement on December 12, 1998 and held that job until he was replaced by incoming Governor Mitt Romney in 2003.

John "Grizzly" Adams

John "Grizzly" Adams (also known as James Capen Adams and Grizzly Adams) (1812–1860) was a famous California mountain man and trainer of grizzly bears and other wild animals he captured for menageries, zoological gardens and circuses.

In 1974, the motion picture "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" starring Dan Haggerty was released. Its popularity led NBC to turn it into a TV series of the same name that also starred Dan Haggerty as 'Grizzly Adams,' Don Shanks as 'Nakoma,' and Denver Pyle as 'Mad Jack.' Eventually the Grizzly Adams brand was trademarked by the creator of the film and television series, Charles E. Sellier, Jr. After Sellier's passing the trademark lapsed out of his estate and is now owned by the Grizzly Adams Company of Beverly Hills, CA.

John Spurr House

The John Spurr House is an historic house on Main Street in Charlton, Massachusetts.

The house was built in 1798 and added to the National Historic Register in 1976.

Maj. Gen. John Spurr (1759–1816) served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He participated in both the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was commissioned a captain in Col. Thomas Nixon's Regiment in 1777. He fought in the second Battle of Saratoga, Sep-Oct 1777, and was present during the surrender of General John Burgoyne. He was promoted to the rank of major in 1780. He eventually held the rank of major general in the Massachusetts State Militia.

John Spurr's granddaughter, Mary Louisa Spurr, was the first wife of Sen. George Frisbie Hoar, and the mother of Congressman Rockwood Hoar.

Jordan Evans (politician)

Jordan Evans is the only openly transgender Republican Party elected official in the United States. As of 2017, Evans was Republican Town Committee secretary in Charlton, Massachusetts and elected trustee of the local library. Evans was elected Town Constable of Charlton in November 2017. Evans said she came out as trans in 2013 and again in 2015 and began transitioning to female in 2016.

Linus B. Comins

Linus Bacon Comins (November 29, 1817 – October 14, 1892) was a Massachusetts politician who served as Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1855 to 1859.

Millennium Power Plant

The Millennium Power Plant is a 360 MW power plant located in Charlton, Massachusetts. It is a natural gas combined-cycle plant currently owned by Talen Energy and operated by Millennium Power Partners LP.

Miss America 1986

Miss America 1986, the 59th Miss America pageant, took place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 14, 1985 and was broadcast on NBC Network.

Nature's Classroom

Nature's Classroom is a non-profit outdoor environmental education program started in 1973 in the Northeast of the United States. It hosts residential programs for teachers and students at fourteen sites in New England and New York; programs range from one to five days. It has been host to hundreds of thousands of children from over 350 school districts, most of whom were in fifth through eighth grades.

Its headquarters are in Charlton, Massachusetts. The program's facilities are in:

Connecticut: Andover, Colebrook, Ivoryton, Lakeside

Maine: Ocean Park

Massachusetts: Becket, Pondside and Hilltop, Groton, Yarmouth Port

New Hampshire: Freedom, Hancock (Sargent Center)

New York: Silver Bay on Lake George

Rhode Island: Wakefield, near Narragansett PierIn addition, satellite programs have been started in other parts of the United States. These programs are independently owned and operated, under the auspices and program run by the main Nature's Classroom in New England.

Alabama: Nature's Classroom Atop Lookout Mountain, Mentone

Florida: Thonotosassa

Ohio: Carrollton

Northside Village Historic District

The Northside Village Historic District encompasses a rural village center on Stafford Road in northern Charlton, Massachusetts. Located at the junction of Stafford Road with Northside and Cemetery Roads is a small cluster of residential buildings, developed beginning in 1735 around a small tanning business, and later as a stagecoach stop. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Rider Tavern

The Rider Tavern (also Rider's Hotel or Old North Charlton Inn) is an historic tavern on Stafford Street in the Northside Village Historic District of Charlton, Massachusetts. The tavern, now a large three story wood frame building, was built c. 1797, and was for many years an important stop on the stagecoach road. It is owned by the Charlton Historical Society, and open for guided tours in the summer and special events.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and included in the Northside Village Historic District in 1977.

Route 169 (Connecticut–Massachusetts)

Route 169 is a state highway in the U.S. states of Connecticut and Massachusetts. It begins in the city of Norwich, Connecticut, and runs 38 miles (61 km) through Northeastern Connecticut, continuing across the state line into Southbridge, Massachusetts. The route ends in Charlton after another nine miles (14 km). A portion of the route in the town center of Pomfret is on the National Register of Historic Places as Pomfret Street Historic District, and 32.10 miles (51.66 km) of the road is designated as the Connecticut State Route 169 National Scenic Byway.

Rufus B. Dodge Jr.

Rufus B. Dodge Jr. (November 24, 1861 – December 13, 1935) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Tree House Brewing Company

Tree House Brewing Company is a brewery located in Charlton, Massachusetts, approximately 60 miles west of Boston. It is considered by some to be amongst the best breweries in the United States, including public beer-rating sites like Untappd (ranked 8th best brewery in the country) and Beer Advocate (brew 3 out of the top ten beers in the country), as well as sites including Forbes, the Boston Globe, and Thrillist. Founded in 2011, the brewery was originally located in Monson, Massachusetts, before a multimillion dollar project which landed them at their current site in 2017. Tree House is a non-distributing brewery—it is only available to buy on site—but given its popularity, lines at the brewery can run an hour or more on certain days.


WYQQ (90.1 FM; "The Q") is a radio station broadcasting a Christian CHR format. Licensed to Charlton, Massachusetts, United States, the station serves Southern Worcester County. The station is owned by Epic Light Network, Inc.The station signed on in 1976 as WBPV, the high school radio station at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School. It became WYCM when Christian Mix Radio bought the station in 2003 and introduced a contemporary Christian music format. On October 20, 2012, the station changed its call sign to the current WYQQ, when Epic Light purchased the station. WYQQ went on the air as "The Q 90.1 FM" in December 2012.

William T. G. Morton

William Thomas Green Morton (August 9, 1819 – July 15, 1868) was an American dentist who first publicly demonstrated the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anaesthetic in 1846. The promotion of his questionable claim to have been the discoverer of anaesthesia became an obsession for the rest of his life.

Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]
Municipalities and communities of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Ghost town
Indian reservations
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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