Northbridge, Massachusetts

Northbridge is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,707 at the 2010 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.

Northbridge, Massachusetts
Northbridge Town Hall
Northbridge Town Hall
Official seal of Northbridge, Massachusetts

Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°09′05″N 71°39′00″W / 42.15139°N 71.65000°WCoordinates: 42°09′05″N 71°39′00″W / 42.15139°N 71.65000°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen 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)
 • Total15,707
 • Density913.2/sq mi (353.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
01534, 01588
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-46925
GNIS feature ID0618376


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.[2] 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

Whithin Machine Shop, 1897
Whitin Machine Shop, 1897.
Whitinsville Shop
The former Whitin Machine Works, now known as the Whitinsville shop, located in the village of Whitinsville in the town of Northbridge.[3]

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.

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". 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".

According to The Boston Globe, Northbridge was recently named as one of the most 'Bio-Ready' communities in both Massachusetts and New England, making it a "desired location for existing or entrepreneurial businesses such as biopharmaceutical companies, biomedical companies, biodiesel companies, and so-called 'green businesses' such as solar and wind energy companies".


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


Historical population
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[7] 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.[8] The WRTA has weekday bus service to Grafton station, as well as to Millbury, MA.[9]

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[10]

1899 Northbridge public library Massachusetts
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.

  • K-1 is located at the Northbridge Elementary School located at 30 Cross Street
  • 2-4 is located at the W. Edward Balmer School located at 21 Crescent Street
  • 5-8 is located at the Northbridge Middle School located at 171 Linwood Avenue
  • 9-12 is located at the Northbridge High School located at 427 Linwood Avenue

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.[11][12] 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.[13]


It is a full service community providing a full array of municipal services plus an extensive infrastructure including water and sewer utilities. 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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c "Ezra T. Benson". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  3. ^ Roland, Henry. "Six examples of successful shop management." Engineering Magazine 12. 1897
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "Northbridge". Retrieved 12-11-07. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Plan your visit/valley sites/Douglas, Northbridge, Sutton". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Whitinsville Social Library. Retrieved 2010-11-10
  13. ^ 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: [1]. Retrieved 2013-12-14

External links

Alice Burke

Alice Driscoll Burke was an American politician who was the mayor of Westfield, Massachusetts from 1940 to 1943, 1954 to 1959, and 1962 to 1963. She was the first woman mayor in Massachusetts and New England.

Ezra T. Benson

Ezra Taft Benson (February 22, 1811 – September 3, 1869) (commonly referred to as Ezra T. Benson to distinguish him from his great-grandson of the same name) was an apostle and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Glenn Adams

Glenn Charles Adams (born October 4, 1947) is a former designated hitter and corner outfielder in Major League Baseball. He played for the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, and Toronto Blue Jays in a career spanning eight seasons.Adams attended and played college baseball at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Adams was the first-round pick in the 1968 amateur draft of the Houston Astros (fourth pick overall). After four seasons in the Astros minor league system, Adams reached AAA but was released in January 1972. He missed the 1972 season but signed with the San Francisco Giants after the 1972 season ended. He remained in the minor leagues for two more seasons, and ended up breaking into the major leagues with the Giants in 1975.

Adams played on the bay through the end of the 1976 season, after which he signed with the Minnesota Twins. He spent five seasons with Minnesota, hitting .338 in 1977 and .301 in 1979. After the 1981 season, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He opened the season with the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, before getting called up to the Blue Jays on July 30. He played the rest of the season for Toronto, retiring at the conclusion of the year. During his career, Adams appeared in 373 games as a designated hitter and 145 games as an outfielder.

John R. Driscoll

John Riley "Jack" Driscoll (May 9, 1924 – July 10, 2014) was an American politician and businessman.

Driscoll was born on May 9, 1924, in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, an unincorporated village in Northbridge, Massachusetts. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. In 1948 he received his bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross.Driscoll worked a sales representative for Metropolitan Life Insurance for 31 years.Driscoll was prompted to run for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives after hearing Speaker David M. Bartley comment that House leadership had to overcome the inability of state representatives to make decisions. He first ran in 1974, a year Republicans were not expected to win due to the Watergate scandal, however he was elected by 452 votes.During his tenure in the House, Driscoll rarely sponsored legislation, but instead worked behind the scenes. He forged strong ties within his district through his constituent work and was considered by local Democrats to be unbeatable. In 1992, he chose not to run for reelection.Driscoll died on July 10, 2014 in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Linwood Historic District (Northbridge, Massachusetts)

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 Aveue, Maple Court, and Pine Court. On June 16, 1989, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.The Linwood Mill was built in 1866 by members of the Whitin family, who had purchased land in the area in the late 1840s. The Whitins had a history in the textile industry dating as far back as 1809, and are for whom the Northbridge village of Whitinsville is named. At the time of Linwood's development they owned virtually all of the textile industry in Northbridge. The Linwood property was built to process cotton, and produced cambrics, sateens, and shirting fabric. The original mill was a 3.5 story brick structure, which was expanded c. 1870 with the addition of a steam power plant in order to increase production. From the 1870s, the only other surviving building is a brick storehouse.The mill complex, in addition to industrial facilities, also included worker housing. The district includes the fine Second Empire proprietor's residence, carriage house, and greenhouse, as well as a selection of tenement houses, dormitories, and duplexes built by the Whitins to house the factory workers. The mill complex is the best preserved of those built by the Whitins; the others have either been altered significantly, or been damaged or destroyed by fire.

Lou Lucier

Louis Joseph Lucier (March 23, 1918 – October 18, 2014) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox (1943–44) and Philadelphia Phillies (1944–45). The right-hander stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) and weighed 160 pounds (73 kg). He was born in Northbridge, Massachusetts. From 2012 until his death, Lucier was the oldest living former Red Sox player.Lucier is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. He made his major league debut on April 23, 1943, in relief against the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park, giving up one run and one hit in two innings of work. His first major league start was the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park on May 16, 1943 – he was the winning pitcher in a 4–2 complete game effort. Career totals include 33 games pitched, 9 starts, 3 complete games, a 3–5 record with 16 games finished, 1 save, 43 earned runs allowed in 101​2⁄3 innings, and an ERA of 3.81. Lucier played excellent defense at his position, handling 45 of 46 total chances successfully for a fielding percentage of .978, which was above the league average at the time.

Marcus Spring

Marcus Spring (October 21, 1810 – August 22, 1874) was the creator of the Raritan Bay Union, a utopian community in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

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.

He was born in 1767 in the South Northbridge section of Uxbridge, Massachusetts in Worcester County (which became the separate town of Northbridge in 1772). He began his career as an apprentice in Colonel James Fletcher's forge in South Northbridge. In 1793, he married Fletcher's daughter, Elizabeth (Betsey) Fletcher and they would have six children, including five sons.

Whitin and four of his sons would become very influential in the development of the textile industry in the Northbridge, Massachusetts area during the 19th Century, establishing or acquiring several mills throughout the Blackstone Valley area, including ones at Uxbridge, Linwood, Riverdale and Rockdale. It was the Whitin Machine Works however, which would have the greatest impact on the area and the textile industry.In 1835, the village of South Northbridge became known as Whitinsville in his honor.

Phil Vandersea

Phillip John Vandersea (born February 25, 1943) is a former American football player.

He was born in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. After graduating from high school in Northbridge, Massachusetts, Vandersea played football for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, weighing in at 245 pounds and standing 6'3" tall. Vandersea played linebacker and defensive end.

He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 16th round (220th overall) of the 1965 NFL Draft and played for the 1965 NFL Champion Packers in 1966, and also the 1968 and 1969 seasons. While playing for the Packers, Phil wore jersey number 37. He spent the 1967 season with the New Orleans Saints. He played in 46 career games in the NFL.

Robert B. Cutler

Robert Bradley Cutler (November 8, 1913 – September 1, 2010) was an American rower who competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He was also a conspiracy theorist who founded The Conspiracy Museum in Dallas.

Rockdale Common Housing District

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.

Royal C. Taft

Royal Chapin Taft, Sr. (February 14, 1823 – June 4, 1912) was a US politician and businessman, whose most distinguished post was that as the 39th Governor of Rhode Island, an office he held from 1888–1889. He was a member of the Taft political family; as descendant of Robert Taft, Sr., he was distant cousin of President of the United States William Howard Taft.

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.

Steven Dorian

Steven Dorian (born November 15, 1977) is an American singer best known as a tenor in the a cappella group Rockapella from 2010 to 2016.

Thomson M. Whitin

Thomson McLintock Whitin (January 12, 1923 – December 9, 2013) was an American management scientist, and Emeritus Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at Wesleyan University, known for his work on inventory control and inventory management.

United States Post Office–Whitinsville Main

The US Post Office—Whitinsville Main is an historic post office building located at 58 Church Street in the village of Whitinsville in the town of Northbridge, Massachusetts. It is a single-story Colonial Revival masonry building, built of brick and cast stone and capped by a hip roof. It was built in 1938, and is distinguished for the massive pilasters that flank the central entrance, and for its cupola.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, and was included in the Whitinsville Historic District in 1983.

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.

The WMW became one of the largest textile machinery companies in the world. Known as The "Shop" to locals, would operate well into the 20th century, long after many of the New England mills had moved South. By 1948, The company was operating at peak capacity, employing 5,615 men and women. The Shop was the center of life in the village of Whitinsville, Massachusetts for over 135 years, until 1976.

Whitinsville, Massachusetts

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 6,704 at the 2010 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.

Whitinsville has been designated as a mill village of national historic significance to America's earliest industrialization, and is one of only four villages selected by the John H. Chaffee Blackstone River Valley National Historic Corridor Commission to receive this designation. Hopedale is the only other Massachusetts mill village to achieve this designation by the corridor commission.

Whitinsville Historic District

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 (which still stands) erected by Paul Whitin. The Whitin family came to dominate the textile trade in Northbridge, with numerous mill complexes. In addition to mill buildings and mill worker housing, the district includes the 1938 post office building.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The district has been included as part of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.

Places adjacent to Northbridge, Massachusetts
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.