Holliston is a New England town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States in the Greater Boston area. The population was 13,547 at the 2010 census, and in 2016, the population was 14,556.  It is part of the Massachusetts region, located due west of Boston, that is known as the MetroWest. Holliston is the only town in Middlesex County that borders both Norfolk and Worcester counties.
Holliston Town Hall on the east border of the town green
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
|Named for||Thomas Hollis|
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||19.0 sq mi (49.3 km2)|
|• Land||18.7 sq mi (48.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)|
|Elevation||188 ft (57 m)|
|• Density||710/sq mi (270/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618225|
At the time of the earliest European settlements, where Holliston exists now was part of the territory of the Awassamog family of Natick (the first Nipmuc Praying Town), who also held authority over land near Waushakum Pond at Framingham and land near Annamasset at Mendon. In 1701, a large tract of land that included the west half of Holliston, eastern Milford and parts of Hopkinton and Ashland was given to the local Nipmucs in a land exchange with Sherborn. Their ownership of the tract was brief, as settlers purchased tracts of land there until all traces of Nipmuc presence disappeared. The Nipmuc village of Mucksquit (translation – “place of much grass”), located on the shore of Wennakeening (translation – “smile of the great spirit”) was near the site of the Morse family farm, today known as Lake Winthrop. The Morses, Sheffields, Marshalls and Bullards and many others followed Pout Lane (an old Native American foot-path, now partly modern day Rte 16 and Highland St., respectively) out to the new territory and settled along the path, thus forming a cluster of farms that would eventually become Holliston. John Eliot and Daniel Gookin (Christian missionaries) also followed the path in search of converts to Christianity and encouraged the Nipmucs to gather into villages, which made their task of finding them easier. Though not as famous as the Bay Path or the Old Connecticut Path, Pout Lane played a major role in the settlement of Holliston and other points southwest of Boston. Holliston, then part of Sherborn, was first settled by Europeans in 1659 by Massachusetts Bay Puritans. The town of Holliston was incorporated on December 3, 1724, by virtue of approval by the General Court petition requesting that "the western part of Sherborn be a Town." The name was taken in honor of Thomas Hollis of London, a benefactor of Harvard College. The first town meeting was held at the house of Timothy Leland on December 23, 1724, "at which five selectmen and all other required officers were chosen." The town has grown from a community of a few hundred residents setting aside ten pounds per year for public education to a community of over 13,000 with an annual budget of over $40 million including more than $23 million for a nationally recognized school system.
In "Holliston" by Images of America and the Holliston Historical Society, it is written: An article in a local newspaper in 1894 heralded the charms of Holliston as the quintessential New England village, which, the story said, sprang into existence solely due to the talent of its people. Perhaps this is so, for there was no great moment in history to mark the founding of this town. Holliston has become a reflection of the accomplishments of the inhabitants of this place for more than three hundred years, and although the town had to admit to no magnitude of greatness to rival Boston, Lexington, or Concord, Holliston did define itself as a home to heroes of the commonplace. The feature story of 1894 said:
"Many cities have sprung into existence because of their advantageous situations. The prosperity of Holliston is solely due to the genius of its people. A visit to such places stirs the blood, quickens the pulse and produces an enthusiastic desire to have a share in the developing good times. Massachusetts may be Whittier's land, and the region from Marblehead to Amesbury may be full of legendary and spectral armies, and witchdom, and Buddha knows what, but the imaginative and the poetical must submit to the rights of the commonplace. The commonplace is honeycombed with the uncommon heroisms of the patient, everyday existence that make up the life of such plucky towns as Holliston. These are the things the average man is most interested in. Average life is but a portfolio of views of struggles with the commonplaces of everyday existence" (Holliston 1997).
The town was once the largest producer of shoes in the United States. Although many of the shoe factories have been lost by fires and other problems, the largest company, the Goodwill Shoe Company, still has remaining empty factories on Water Street, many of which are now used as artists' studios. Competition from overseas factories is largely to blame for the loss of the industry.
Holliston's Mudville neighborhood claims to be the location of the 1888 Ernest Lawrence Thayer poem, "Casey at the Bat", and maintains an ongoing rivalry with Stockton, California, which makes the same claim regarding the poem's setting.
On the north side of Route 16 heading into Milford sits a large rock, some 20 ft (6.1 m) in length, 10 ft (3.0 m) in width, 6 ft (1.8 m) thick, and weighing easily over 5 tons (4.5 metric tons). The rock appears to be balanced precariously on an outcrop of granite ledge. On November 6, 1789, General George Washington led his entourage from Boston to New York via this route. He recalled in his diary the road in Holliston that would eventually be honored with his name, "an indifferent road, diversified by good and bad land, cultivated and in woods, some high barren, others low, wet and piney." Legend has it that, as they came across this "Balancing Rock," they took the opportunity to have some fun and tried their best to tip over the rock. It is said that the General himself, quite amused at the spectacle, added his muscle in an attempt to push the rock off its natural pedestal. Their efforts — and those of many others over the years — were to no avail as Balancing Rock still stands today. The rock is on the property of the Balancing Rock development, a community for "active" adults over the age of 55.
Once populated by factories and farms up until the latter part of the nineteenth century, Holliston has now transformed itself into a bedroom community for Boston and the Route 128 and Route 495 technology belts. Holliston is known for its quaint Town Center with its Fiske's General Store, the Superette, numerous antique shops and boutiques, Carnegie public library, town hall, and white-steepled churches. Numerous white antique colonial, Greek revival, and Victorian homes with well-manicured lawns dot the landscape along Washington Street (Massachusetts Route 16), with Holliston Center and the Town Green wedged in between—a scene reminiscent of the distinctive New England character.
The average work commute for Holliston residents, however, is quite long. On average, people spend 32.25 minutes each day getting to work, which is significantly higher than the national average. Being a small town, Holliston does not have a public transit system that can be used by locals to get to and from work. Residents who want to take public transportation into Boston must drive to one of the commuter rail stations in Ashland, Natick, Framingham, or Franklin.
The town is the setting for the popular FEARnet television series "Holliston"
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49 km2), of which 18.7 square miles (48 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) is water. Water covers 1.73% of the town's total area. The Charles River passes near the southern region of town.
It is located 21.6 mi (34.8 km) west of Boston and is within short driving distance of Interstate 495 and the Massachusetts Turnpike (part of Interstate 90). Massachusetts Route 16 and Massachusetts Route 126 pass through the town.
With a history spanning nearly three centuries, Holliston has many smaller divisions within its borders with names tied to a host of historic and cultural origins. Although the town is only served by one post-office today, several of its historic villages originated from previous post offices as well as train stops on the Boston and Albany Railroad's Milford line. Today the town retains two official historic districts, both of which contain smaller landmark areas of historic significance. There are several additional residential developments and other areas of Holliston which retain their own colloquial names, however at this time the following are the only areas officially recognized as historic by the town and the U.S. Geologic Survey.
Holliston is located in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by:
|* = population estimate.|
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,801 people, 4,795 households, and 3,842 families residing in the town. The population density was 737.8 people per square mile (284.8/km²). There were 4,868 housing units at an average density of 260.2 per square mile (100.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.7% White, 0.9% African American, 0.9% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population. Ancestries of Holliston residents are reported to be Irish (29.4%), Italian (18.3%), English (17.8%), German (9.7%), French (5.6%), and Polish (5.6%).
There were 4,795 households out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.2% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.9% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the town, the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the town was $78,092, and the median income for a family was $84,878. Males had a median income of $48,473 versus $36,405 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,116. As of the census of 2000, about 1.5% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
In 2009, 79% of Holliston residents age 25 and over held bachelor's degrees or higher and 35.8% held graduate or professional degrees.
Holliston retains its original open town meeting form of government, in which registered voters act as the town's legislature. The town's day-to-day affairs are overseen by an elected Board of Selectmen with a Town Administrator.
|Clerk of Courts:||Michael A. Sullivan|
|District Attorney:||Marian T. Ryan|
|Register of Deeds:||Maria C. Curtatone|
|Register of Probate:||Tara E. DeCristofaro|
|County Sheriff:||Peter J. Koutoujian|
|State Representative(s):||Carolyn Dykema (D)|
|State Senator(s):||Karen E. Spilka (D)|
|Governor's Councilor(s):||Robert L. Jubinville (D)|
|U.S. Representative(s):||Katherine Clark (D-5th District)|
|U.S. Senators:||Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)|
The Town of Holliston has a public school system which serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district include two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Public schools include: Sam Placentino Elementary School, Fred W. Miller Elementary School, Robert H. Adams Middle School, and Holliston High School.
The Holliston public school system also maintains a Montessori and French Immersion program that students can enroll in upon entering kindergarten.
Within Holliston there are five registered Superfund sites. Three of these sites are still monitored by CERCLIS (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System).
|Name of site||Location||Status|
|Adams Street Property||519 Adams Street||Archived|
|Wood Engineering||29 Everett Road||Archived|
|Axton Cross Corp||1 Cross Street||Non-NPL (National Priorities List)|
|Bird Property (Prentice Street Property)||708 Prentice Street||Non-NPL|
|Photofabrication Engineering Inc.||229 Lowland Street||Non-NPL|
An archived status indicates that the site has been cleaned, requires no further investigation, and poses little to no threat. A Non-NPL status indicates the sites are not considered to be the most hazardous by the EPA and are therefore not included in the NPL, but the clean-up of the site has not been completed. Non-NPL sites are still monitored by CERCLIS and are considered open or active sites. An NPL status indicates that the EPA considers the site to pose serious health and environmental risks. NPL sites are considered to be the most hazardous sites in the nation.
Established in 1967, “the site was an Industrial Chemical Distributor for the textile, paper, rubber, metals and plastics industries.” In the early 1990s the company filed for bankruptcy and the facility closed. The site is 8.6 acres of developed and undeveloped land which consist of two buildings. The buildings are being considered for demolition.
According to the Mass DEP Axton Cross is considered to be a Disposal Site. The chemicals recorded by the Mass DEP were oil and other unknown hazardous materials. According to locals, “Axton-Cross polluted the property it owned and the land surrounding it and the wildlife with toxic chemicals.” According to the EPA’s last inspection (08/08/1995), the water was not impaired, but the Ozone is considered to be a Non-Attainment Area. No further data was recorded.
In 1966 a gravel mining permit for the property was granted to a Charles Bird. Mining of the land continued into the late 1970s. Through the late 1960s to early 1980’s the mined areas were filled with building debris and commercial solid waste. The property was also used for tire stockpiling. The site is approximately 53 acres. The land is being considered for the construction of residential housing.
Since then the Mass DEP and EPA have ordered remedial activities which included the removal of: potential contaminants, solid waste, construction debris, tires, and over 70 tons of impacted soils. The groundwater plume from the site contains low levels of a chemical called TCE. Due to the low and naturally declining levels (due to the removal of the source) the Mass DEP to conclude that no further water clean-up is required. Other chemicals recorded by the Mass DEP were VOCs. According to the EPA’s inspection the Ozone is considered to be a Non-Attainment Area. No further data was recorded.
Founded in 1968, Photofabrication Engineering, Inc. (PEI) manufactures precision metal parts for computers and semiconductors. The company moved from Holliston to Milford, MA in 1984. The newer facility has helped PEI become an environmentally cleaner manufacturer.
Chemicals recorded by the Mass DEP were chlorinated solvents, metals, and wastewater discharge. The Mass DEP considers the site to be in phase IV of V. In this phase a cleanup plan is implemented.  According to the EPA’s inspection, the water was not impaired, but the Ozone is considered to be a Non-Attainment Area. No further data was recorded.
Refer also to Town of Holliston, Parks and Recreation for information on use.
Annual events include Memorial Day Parade and Veterans Lunch, Celebrate Holliston Day, Lions Carnival and Triathlon, Baseball Parade, A Taste of Holliston, Downtown Holiday Stroll, Summer Concerts at Goodwill Park, Historical Society Fairs, Council on Aging Fall Fair and an abundance of other fairs and festivals during the year.
Albert Perry Rockwood (June 5, 1805 – November 25, 1879) was an early Latter Day Saint leader and member of the First Seven Presidents of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Andrew Natsios
Andrew S. Natsios (born September 22, 1949) is an American public servant of Greek origin who has served in a number of Massachusetts and high level federal government positions. Most notably, he has served as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, and Vice President of World Vision International. Currently, Natsios teaches as Executive Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.Ann Cummings
Ann Cummings (born July 20, 1946) is a Vermont businesswoman and Democratic politician. She has served as mayor of Montpelier and a State Senator.Bob Bicknell
Bob Bicknell (born November 13, 1969) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the wide receivers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals football team of the National Football League (NFL), a position he has held since January 2018. Bicknell is the son of former Boston College head coach Jack Bicknell and the younger brother of Jack Bicknell, Jr., the current assistant offensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins.Braggville, Massachusetts
Braggville is a former postal village located in Massachusetts, now within the towns of Holliston in Middlesex County, Medway in Norfolk County and Milford in Worcester County. Though people had settled the land long before the incorporation of the town of Holliston, Braggville's unofficial history began on March 8, 1785 when Alexander Bragg purchased farmland there. The village itself however, would be named for his nephew, Colonel Arial Bragg, Holliston's first shoe and boot maker as well as the agrarian community's first wholesale manufacturer. After a century of economic prowess, the village fell into decline following the First World War.Carolyn Dykema
Carolyn (Coyne) Dykema (born December 26, 1967, Charlottesville, Virginia) is the Massachusetts State Representative from the Eighth Middlesex District. For 2012 and subsequent elections, the Eighth Middlesex is made up of Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, and precinct 2 of Westborough. Holliston and Hopkinton are in Middlesex County, the district's namesake, while Southborough and Westborough are in Worcester County.
When Rep. Dykema was first elected, the Eighth Middlesex comprised the towns of Holliston and Hopkinton and precincts in Medway (Norfolk County), Southborough, and Westborough.
Dykema grew up in Wellesley and now lives in Holliston. She and her husband have three children.Chris Grier
Chris Grier is an American football executive who is the general manager of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). Before being promoted to general manager, Grier held various scouting roles with increasing responsibility with the Dolphins. He also has past experience in the personnel department of the New England Patriots.Holliston High School
Holliston High School is the public secondary school serving Holliston, Massachusetts. As of 2018, the school enrolled 809 students. The current principal is Nicole Bottomley. Holliston has some of the brightest students and faculty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MCAS, ACT, and SAT scores of Holliston High School students are consistently well above both state and national averages.Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Marie Messina (born August 25, 1970) is an American country music artist. She has charted six number one singles on the Billboard country music charts. She has been honored by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She was the first female country artist to score three multiple-week Number One songs from the same album. To date, she has two Platinum and three Gold-certified albums by the RIAA.
Messina debuted in 1996 with the single Heads Carolina, Tails California. Her album was certified Gold by the RIAA. Her second album, I'm Alright, produced five Top 10 Country hits between 1998 and 1999, and sold over a million copies in America. Since her debut, six of her singles have peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Country singles chart and five of her albums have received a certification by the RIAA or the CRIA. She has sold over 5 million records worldwide.Ken Stone (fighter)
Kenneth Alan Stone (born October 8, 1982) is an American mixed martial artist. A professional MMA competitor since 2007, Stone had fought mostly in regional promotions on the east coast, before signing with Zuffa.Liberating Technologies
Liberating Technologies is a prosthetics supplier and research company based in Holliston, Massachusetts. It specializes in upper limb powered prosthetic devices. It is known for the Boston Digital Arm, the first microcontroller-equipped hand prosthesis. In 2015, it was acquired by College Park Industries,, a prosthetics manufacturer.Mark Sweeney
Mark Patrick Sweeney (born October 26, 1969) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball. He is best known for his skill as a pinch hitter, where he ranks second in career pinch hits with 175 and first in career pinch hit runs batted in with 102.Massachusetts Route 126
Route 126 is a north–south state highway in Massachusetts.Metcalf, Holliston, Massachusetts
Metcalf (rarely, Metcalfs) is an unincorporated village and former railway stop located in the town of Holliston in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The village does not have its own post office, and was formerly a stop for the Boston and Albany Railroad. Today it is characterized its historic pump house and several historic structures abutting the crossroads of Washington St. and Summer St.. Historically the village also had a schoolhouse and several small farms, but remains a residential community today with some light industry, and the local Fatima Shrine.Mike Grier
Michael James Grier (born January 5, 1975) is an American retired professional ice hockey winger who played for four teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) - the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, and Buffalo Sabres. Primarily a checking forward, he played 1,060 NHL games over 14 NHL seasons. Grier was the first African-American player in the history of the NHL to be exclusively trained in the country. He currently works as the assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils. He also coached at Saint Sebastian's School, where he played his high school hockey. He also coached his sons Boston Jr. Terriers 03 AAA Team.Ron LaPointe
Ronald Arthur LaPointe (born February 28, 1957 in Framingham, Massachusetts) is a former professional American football player. He played tight end in the National Football League for two seasons; one each with the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders. He played collegiately at Penn State University.
LaPointe was a multi-sport athlete at Holliston High School, in Holliston, Massachusetts, where he played American football, basketball, and baseball. In an era with few restrictions on player contact from college recruiters, LaPointe was reportedly pursued by more than 50 colleges, including such football powerhouses as Tennessee, Ohio State, Penn State, Boston College, Oklahoma State, and Syracuse.Tim Ashe
Timothy R. Ashe (born December 10, 1976) is an American politician who has served as a Democrat/Progressive in the Vermont State Senate from Chittenden County since 2009 and as President pro tempore of the Vermont Senate since 2017.WHHB
WHHB (99.9 FM) is a high school radio station broadcasting a Variety format. Licensed to Holliston, Massachusetts, United States, the station serves the MetroWest area of Greater Boston. The station is owned by Holliston High School. Music from various genres is played during the shows, such as metal, rock, hip-hop, classic rock, and oldies. Some shows also include pithy, hard-hitting running commentary on local, national, and international topics.
Founded in 1971 by William P Curboy, Donald LeFebvre, John McColgan, John Pacitto, and John Shannahan. WHHB is one of a dying breed of completely student-operated, educational radio stations in the US. It currently operates only during weekdays with various 2-hour time slots run by different students. There are also half-hour morning slots usually contained by one to two shows, and during its Spring '06 season, approximately 106 students applied for shows, causing weekend slots to appear for that season. Since then such measures have been unnecessary as there have not such a large number of students. Although there has been speculation for adding automated programming after hours, the Barnstable station WQRC can be heard usually after the station is off air. WHHB's range is not a perfect circle since the transmitting antenna shares the same tower as other radio equipment. It has been reached by listeners as far as downtown Framingham, Southboro and even Wellesley.Willard Richards
Willard Richards (June 24, 1804 – March 11, 1854) was a physician and midwife/nurse trainer and an early leader in the Latter Day Saint movement. He served as Second Counselor to church president Brigham Young in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death.
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
|Cities and towns|
|Cities and towns|
|Cities and towns|