Grafton, Massachusetts

Grafton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population, indicated by the 2014 town records is 14,268, in nearly 5,700 households. Incorporated in 1735, Grafton is the home of a Nipmuc village known as Hassanamisco Reservation, the Willard House and Clock Museum, Community Harvest Project, and the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Grafton consists of the North Grafton, Grafton, and South Grafton geographic areas, each with a separate ZIP Code. Grafton also operates the state's largest On-Call Fire Department, with 74 members.

Grafton, Massachusetts
Grafton center in 2006
Grafton center in 2006
Official seal of Grafton, Massachusetts

Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°12′25″N 71°41′10″W / 42.20694°N 71.68611°WCoordinates: 42°12′25″N 71°41′10″W / 42.20694°N 71.68611°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Town
Timothy McInerney
 • Board of
Peter Carlson
Jennifer Thomas
Bruce Spinney
Edward Prisby
Doreen DeFazio
 • Town ModeratorRay Mead
 • Total23.3 sq mi (60.3 km2)
 • Land22.7 sq mi (58.9 km2)
 • Water0.5 sq mi (1.4 km2)
425 ft (130 m)
 • Total17,765
 • Density760/sq mi (290/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
01519, 01536, 01560
Area code(s)508/774
FIPS code25-26430
GNIS feature ID0619480


Bands of the Nipmuc tribe are the indigenous inhabitants, and maintain a state-recognized reservation known as Hassanamessit, or Hassanamisco, which was formerly a Praying Indian village from 1647 when the Reverend John Eliot came and converted the Hassanamiscos to Christianity .[1] Grafton was first settled by Europeans in 1724 and was officially incorporated in 1735.

Grafton stands tall in the industrialization of the Blackstone Valley. Its Northeast Village was once known as "New England Village". The following is an excerpt from the Blackstone Daily about the history of the town:

Grafton has been a significant contributor in the success and progress of the American Industrial Revolution that was started in 1793 by Samuel Slater with his cotton mill in Pawtucket [Rhode Island]. North Grafton's Upper Mill, now known as the Washington Mills complex, that still produces abrasives, was once known as the New England Manufacturing Company. This was part of the New England Village, as North Grafton was known for generations. This part of the mill was built in 1826 and was part of a much larger complex, but most of that is now gone, mainly due to serious fires. Mill housing was built at 12, 14 and 16 Overlook Street. These central-chimney-style homes were boarding houses with ornate trim that has since been lost.[2]

Grafton Inn
Grafton Inn

The town is named for Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton,[3][4] a title created for the illegitimate son of King Charles II of England. Ethan Allen ran a gun factory in Grafton in the early 19th century. In the 1930s, a movie, Ah, Wilderness!, was filmed in the town. The moviemakers built a bandstand on the town common, which still stands there today. Grafton Common has many historic homes, churches and buildings and is considered the most quintessential common in the Blackstone Valley. The town is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the oldest industrialized region in the U.S.

North Grafton is the home of the Wyman Gordon Company. In 1955, the United States Air Force installed a 50,000-ton metal forge in North Grafton as part of its Heavy Press Program[5] in a plant operated by Wyman-Gordon. It was the largest metal forge, and indeed the largest machine, in the world at the time it was built.[6] This forge is used to form strategic metals used in commercial and military aircraft for turbine disks, shafts, and blades, landing struts and other aircraft parts where light weight and extreme strength are needed. The entire undercarriage of the space shuttles was forged in Grafton of magnesium.

From 1901 to 1973, North Grafton was home to the Grafton State Hospital. Originally an offshoot of the Worcester State Hospital, Grafton State Hospital served as a "farm colony" where chronically insane patients could live and work in somewhat normal surroundings. The campus was made up of several clusters of buildings and eventually encompassed 1,200 acres (490 ha) in Grafton, Shrewsbury, and Westborough.[7] The hospital was closed in 1973, and the campus, including many of the original buildings, was taken over by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (part of Tufts University) and the Grafton Job Corps center.

One hundred ninety acres of the Hassanamessit Woods, believed to contain the remains of the praying village were under agreement for development for more than 100 homes. This property has significant cultural importance to the Nipmuc Tribal Nation because it is thought to contain the meetinghouse and the center of the old praying village.[8] However, The Trust for Public Land, the town of Grafton, the Grafton Land Trust, the Nipmuc Nation and the state of Massachusetts intervened. The Trust for Public Land purchased the property and kept it off the market until 2004, after sufficient funding was procured to permanently protect the property.[9] The property also has ecological significance as it is adjacent to 187 acres of Grafton owned land as well as 63 acres owned by the Grafton Land Trust. These properties will provide numerous recreational benefits to the public as well as play a role in protecting the water quality of local watersheds.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.3 square miles (60 km2), of which 22.7 square miles (59 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 2.28%, is water. Grafton is located 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston and 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Worcester. Grafton includes North Grafton, Grafton, and South Grafton, as well as many other industrial revolution era villages due to its long history on the Blackstone River, including Farnumsville, Fisherville, Saundersville and Axtell Corner.


Historical population

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

By the 2010 census, the population had reached 17,765.

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 14,894 people, 5,694 households, and 3,951 families residing in the town. The population density was 655.0 inhabitants per square mile (252.9/km2). There were 5,828 housing units at an average density of 256.3 per square mile (99.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.92% White, 1.25% African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.24% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino residents of any race were 1.91% of the population.

There were 5,694 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the town, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $56,020, and the median income for a family was $66,396. Males had a median income of $48,016 versus $32,347 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,952. About 2.3% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those ages 65 or over.


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 K. Muradian, Jr. (R)
State Senator(s): Michael O. Moore (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): 2nd District
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)


Commuter rail service from Boston's South Station is provided by the MBTA with the Grafton station on its Framingham/Worcester Line.

The Grafton and Upton Railroad currently operates a freight line through the town connecting the Framingham/Worcester Line to the Franklin Line in Milford. The Grafton Upton Line goes through the center of Grafton, and crosses many streets in the center of town, The rail sneaks behind the local gas station, Cumberland Farms, crosses Route 140, (Upton Street), it then goes right behind the Grafton Inn, it crosses North Street, and continues to cross Boulevard Avenue, It then enters, North Grafton, crossing over Carol Road, crosses Snow Road, and a few other minor roads, it then ends up crossing East Street and Waterville Street, before coming to a close in the North Grafton yard. Also, there are a few more crossings on Browns Road, Sibley Street, and Westborough Road. The Westborough Road crossing is hardly every used because it just connects the G/U line with the main line (Framingham/Worcester).

Also, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority has started a shuttle through the town connecting residents to different parts of the town and the Grafton Commuter Rail Station. This shuttle is also connected to the shuttle in one of the neighboring towns, Northbridge.


The Grafton Free Public Library opened in 1867.[21] The current building was built in 1927 with money donated by Jerome Wheelock, a local inventor. In the fiscal year 2008, the town of Grafton spent 1.33% ($482,226) of its budget on its public library—some $27 per person.[22]


Grafton is home to six public schools. Students are separated by whether they live in North or South Grafton until middle school. The school mascot is the Grafton Indians.

  • North Grafton Elementary School: grades K–1
  • South Grafton Elementary School: grades K–1
  • Millbury Street Elementary School: grades 2–6
  • North Street Elementary School: grades 2–6
  • Grafton Middle School: grades 7–8
  • Grafton High School: grades 9–12

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Martin Issues Final Determination". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29.
  2. ^ "New England Village/Walking Tours". Blackstone Retrieved 2007-12-11.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 140.
  4. ^ "Profile for Grafton, Massachusetts". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  5. ^ "Heavy Duty Work", Time, 1955-05-16, retrieved 2010-12-28
  6. ^ American Society of Mechanical Engineers (October 20, 1983), Dedication Program, National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, The Wyman-Gordon 50,000 Ton Forging Press (PDF), American Society of Mechanical Engineers, archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2015
  7. ^ Schuleit, Anna. "Grafton State Hospital". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Hassanamesitt Woods Protection Moves Forward (MA)". The Trust for Public Land.
  9. ^ a b "Hassanamesitt Woods". The Trust for Public Land.
  10. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  11. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ Dempsey, James (March 4, 1992). "Many Changes Since Tupper Started Ware". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2011.

External links

Ah, Wilderness! (film)

Ah, Wilderness! is a 1935 American film adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play of the same name starring Wallace Beery. The picture was shot in Grafton, Massachusetts, at the common in the center of town, and was directed by Clarence Brown. Beery plays the drunken uncle later portrayed on Broadway by Jackie Gleason, and the film features Lionel Barrymore, Eric Linden, Cecilia Parker, Spring Byington, and a young Mickey Rooney. Rooney also stars in MGM's musical remake Summer Holiday (1948).

The film was the first advertised in trade papers for Academy Award nominations, depicting a cartoon of MGM's Leo the Lion holding an Oscar and proudly stating "You've given so much, Leo ... Get ready to receive!" Nevertheless, the film failed to receive a single nomination.

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the eight colleges and schools that compose Tufts University and is the only school of veterinary medicine in New England.

The school is named in honor of William “Bill” S. and Joyce M. Cummings, founders of Cummings Foundation, after a $50 million commitment to the school in 2005. Bill graduated from Tufts University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor

Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor (October 18, 1792 – February 11, 1879) was an American Baptist minister known for his anti-slavery views. In his retirement he worked on a famous mathematics problem and took out a patent to prevent lamp explosions.

David Muradian

David K. Muradian, Jr. is a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, sworn in January 2015. A resident of Grafton, Massachusetts, he was elected as a Republican to represent the 9th Worcester district. Muradian was a legislative aide to his predecessor George N. Peterson, Jr.

Farnumsville Historic District

Farnumsville Historic District is a historic district encompassing a historic mill village in Grafton, Massachusetts. It is located on the eastern bank of the Blackstone River, extending along Providence and Main Streets, roughly between Cross and Depot Streets, and radiating along those roads and adjacent streets. This area was one of Grafton's 19th century industrial mill villages, which was centered on the Farnum Mill, which first began operating in the second decade of the 19th century. The main mill building that survives dates to 1844, and the housing stock in the village is in a diversity of styles, built roughly between the 1820s and 1920s.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Gary Usher

Gary Lee Usher (December 14, 1938 – May 25, 1990) was an American rock musician, songwriter, and record producer.

George N. Peterson Jr.

George N. Peterson Jr. (born July 8, 1950), was a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1995 to 2015, representing the 9th Worcester district. He served as the House minority whip and later as the assistant minority leader. He later served as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game.

Grafton Airport (Massachusetts)

Grafton Airport was a private airfield that was operational during the mid-20th century in Grafton, Massachusetts.

Grafton High School (Massachusetts)

Grafton High School is a high school in Grafton, Massachusetts US. It has a population of 750 students in grades 9–12, with an average class size of 21.

The curriculum offers a wide variety of courses in areas of business and computer science, music, video game design, English, family consumer science, health, physical education, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, special education, visual and performing arts, world languages, community service, school service, and independent studies.

Hassanamisco Nipmuc

The Hassanamiscos were living in what is today Grafton, Massachusetts, when in 1647 the Reverend John Elliot came to the village and converted the Hassanamiscos to Christianity.

The Hassanamisco Nipmuc, from whom the four and a half acre Hassanamesit Reservation in Grafton, Massachusetts takes its name, are a group of Nipmuc Indians native to Central Massachusetts, Northeastern Connecticut, and parts of Rhode Island. "Native American Indian Fairs" have been held annually at Hassanamisco Reservation location since 1924.

The Hassanamisco Nipmuc, also known in past centuries as the Hassanamesit Nipmuc or more recently as the Grafton Nipmuc, are along with the Webster/Dudley Band of Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck, and the part of the group that identifies itself as the Nipmuc Nation.While the Nipmuc are recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in 2004 the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided that this group does not meet four of the seven mandatory requirements for Federal acknowledgment as a "nation".

Hick Carpenter

Warren William "Hick" Carpenter (August 16, 1855 – April 18, 1937) was an American Major League Baseball third baseman from Grafton, Massachusetts. He travelled around the National League with several clubs before getting the starting third base job with the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association. He played his entire career at third base, even though he was left-handed, unorthodox even during that era. When the Red Stockings switched over to the National League, Carpenter left Major League Baseball, but did make a one-game comeback with the St. Louis Browns three years later.

Hugh Bradley (baseball)

Hugh Bradley, born on May 23, 1885 in Grafton, Massachusetts, played first base in Major League Baseball from 1910 to 1915. On April 26, 1912 he hit the first ever home run at Fenway Park. As a backup first baseman for the 1912 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, Bradley got off to a hot start to the season and had a chance to supplant manager Jake Stahl as the regular at the position, but his hitting fell off dramatically as the season went on. Bradley died on January 26, 1949 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

John Adams Whipple

John Adams Whipple (September 10, 1822 – April 10, 1891) was an American inventor and early photographer. He was the first in the United States to manufacture the chemicals used for daguerreotypes; he pioneered astronomical and night photography; he was a prize-winner for his extraordinary early photographs of the moon; and he was the first to produce images of stars other than the sun (the star Vega and the Mizar-Alcor stellar sextuple system, which was thought to be a double star until 2009.

Joseph L. Heywood

Joseph L. Heywood (August 1, 1815 – October 16, 1910) was a local leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 19th century, and the founder of Nephi, Utah.

Heywood was born in Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. In 1839 he moved to Quincy, Illinois where he was a merchant. It was here that he first met the Mormons, and later joined The LDS Church on a visit to Nauvoo. Heywood was baptized by Orson Hyde. While still in Nauvoo Heywood was called as a bishop.

In 1846 when the Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo, Heywood was appointed a trustee to sell property of the LDS Church along with Almon Babbitt and John S. Fullmer.

Later in Utah Heywood served as the first bishop of the 17th Ward in Salt Lake City. Heywood was the first US Marshall for the territory of Utah.

In addition to supervising the settlement of Nephi, Utah he accompanied Orson Hyde in setting up the first LDS settlement in the Carson Valley of Nevada. From 1861 Heywood lived primarily in Panguitch. He served as an LDS patriarch in that area. Heywood's house in Salt Lake City, which was on the block where the Conference Center is today, was still identified with him after his move to southern Utah, and it was John Morgan's first residence on coming to Utah.

Marc Orrell

Marc John Orrell (born November 7, 1982) is an American guitarist and musician, known for being a former member of the Boston Celtic Punk band the Dropkick Murphys. He joined the band in 2000, he was 17 years old, while they were recording Sing Loud, Sing Proud and remained with the group until January 2008, when he left to pursue a different musical style.Orrell has played with the bands The Eleventh Hour, Gimme Danger, Far From Finished, The Black Pacific, and most recently, Wild Roses.

Obi Melifonwu

Henry-William Obiajulu Melifonwu (born April 5, 1994) is an American football safety for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Connecticut. He was originally selected in the 2017 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Steve Spagnuolo

Stephen Christopher Spagnuolo (; born December 21, 1959) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He rejoined Andy Reid's staff after being a defensive assistant with him from 1999-2006. Spagnuolo went on to win a Super Bowl with the New York Giants as defensive coordinator. Following two seasons in New York, He was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams for 3 seasons, was an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens, had a one season stint with the New Orleans Saints, and then back with the Giants as defensive coordinator in 2015. He was named interim head coach after the firing of former head coach Ben McAdoo on December 4, 2017.

Spagnuolo has also worked as a college football assistant coach for the University of Connecticut, the University of Maine, Lafayette College, Rutgers University, Bowling Green University, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He also spent time in the original World League of American Football and its successor, NFL Europe.

Willard House and Clock Museum

The Willard House and Clock Museum is a museum located in North Grafton, Massachusetts, United States.

Wyman-Gordon Grafton Plant

Wyman-Gordon Grafton Plant, formerly known as Air Force Plant 63, is a plant of Wyman-Gordon located in North Grafton, Massachusetts. It was purchased by Wyman-Gordon in 1982 from the United States Air Force, although the company had been operating as a contractor for the plant since its establishment. The plant is also home to the one of two of the nation's largest forging presses.

Adjacent cities and towns
Municipalities and communities of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Ghost town
Indian reservations
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.