Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Shrewsbury is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Shrewsbury, unlike surrounding towns like Grafton, Millbury, Westborough, and Northborough, did not become a mill town or farming village; most of its 19th-century growth was due to its proximity to Worcester and visitors to Lake Quinsigamond. The population was 35,608 according to the 2010 US Census, in nearly 12,400 households.

Incorporated in 1727, the town is governed now under the New England representative town meeting system, headed by the Town Manager and five-member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various administrative positions, and calling a town meeting of citizens annually or whenever the need arises.

Town of Shrewsbury
Homestead of General Artemas Ward
Homestead of General Artemas Ward
Official seal of Town of Shrewsbury

Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°17′45″N 71°42′48″W / 42.29583°N 71.71333°WCoordinates: 42°17′45″N 71°42′48″W / 42.29583°N 71.71333°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town
Kevin Mizikar
 • Board of
James Kane
Maurice DePalo
Moira Miller
John Lebeaux
Beth Casavant
 • Total21.7 sq mi (56.1 km2)
 • Land20.7 sq mi (53.7 km2)
 • Water0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
668 ft (204 m)
 • Total35,608
 • Density1,526.3/sq mi (589.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-61800
GNIS feature ID0619489


First Congregational Church, Shrewsbury MA
First Congregational Church

The Town of Shrewsbury, named for Shrewsbury, England, is a suburban community with an uneven and hilly terrain cut by a number of minor streams providing several small water power sites. Grants of land were made in what would eventually be the town beginning in 1664, with the 3,200-acre (13 km2) grant called Haynes Farm as the largest. In 1664 Native American leader, Peter Jethro, and other Nipmuc Indians deeded land around Lake Quinsigamond to settlers in the area.[1] Settlers came primarily from Sudbury and Marlborough, and the first permanent settler was Gersham Wheelock in 1720. As a town, Shrewsbury was first settled in 1722 and officially incorporated in 1727.

Townspeople created an agricultural economy with apple orchards, and by 1750, there were two stores and four taverns as well as several small industries in operation. The rapid fall of prices for agricultural goods, the shortage of hard currency, and the general economic depression following the Revolutionary War produced disastrous conditions for colonists. Shays' Rebellion in 1786 sought to close the courts to prevent debt collections and the foreclosure of mortgages. Shrewsbury became a staging area for the rebellion and the encampment of the more than 400 insurgents, before the march on the Worcester Court House.

A leather industry began in 1786 in Shrewsbury, and town farmers developed large cattle herds to support the manufacture of boots and shoes. This was followed by the establishment of gunsmithing operations in 1797, which produced rifles, shotguns and pistols and eventually cutlery. Luther Goddard began in 1809 by making brass clocks and then established a small watch factory employing a few skilled Swiss and English watchmakers. Lumbering created sawmills, and they in turn drew chair and cabinet makers, plow and wagon builders.

The development of streetcar routes in the 19th century propelled the growth of single-family housing in town. A summer resort population on Lake Quinsigamond became consumers of the market garden produce grown by town farmers. As Shrewsbury's industry was killed by the lack of large waterpower sites and the tardy arrival of the railroad, its role as a suburb of Worcester grew more important. The town's population doubled from 1915 to 1940 as continued streetcar suburb growth brought more modern settlers into the community. Other modern developments included an increased number of lakeside cottages, ethnic clubs and recreational areas on the lake. The economy of modern Shrewsbury has been described as depending on agriculture, the resort industry and the providing of recreation and food for the population of Worcester.[2][3]

Registered Historic Places

Shrewsbury is home to three current and one former Nationally Registered Historic Places:


Shrewsbury is a suburb of Worcester, about 45 minutes from Boston and 10 minutes to downtown Worcester.

The town has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56 km2), of which, 20.7 square miles (54 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (4.25%) is water.[4]



Historical population

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

By the 2010 census, the population had reached 35,608.

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 35,608 people, the racial makeup of the town was 77.3% White, 2.0% African American, 0.08% Native American, 15.3% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population. As of the 2000 Census There were 12,366 households, out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.5% 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 3.09.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.6% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $109,000, and the median income for a family was $124,000 (as of the 2010 census)[17]). Males had a median income of $56,259 versus $37,129 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,570. About 3.3% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Shrewsbury MA Municipal Buildig 2
Town Hall

Town government


Shrewsbury is governed in the traditional New England style. Municipal elections are held on the first Tuesday in May.

Legislative Branch: Representative Town Meeting: 240 elected members.

Executive Branch: Five-member Board of Selectmen with three-year staggered terms, an appointed Town Manager, and other elected and appointed positions.

  • Christopher Mehne (2015)
Board of Selectmen
  • Maurice M. DePalo (2020)
  • Beth Casavant (2020)
  • James F. Kane (2018)
  • John I. Lebeaux (2019)
  • Moira Miller (2019)
School Committee
  • Erin H. Canzano (2019)
  • Sandra Fryc (2020)
  • Dale Magee (2019)
  • Jason Palitsch (2020)
  • Jon Wensky (2018)
Library Board of Trustees
  • Jack Avis (2018)
  • Joan T. Barry (2017)
  • Beth Casavant (2016)
  • Nancy Gilbert (2016)
  • Laurie Lindberg Hogan (2018)
  • Clare O'Connor (2018)
  • Kevin M. McKenna (2017)
  • Frank Stille (2017)
  • Frances Whitney (2016)
Appointed officials (selected)

Source: "Town Officials". Town of Shrewsbury. Archived from the original on 2012-05-13.

Various other boards, committees, and commissions round out the variety of services provided to residents, including water, health, fire, ambulance, police, education, recreation, etc.

County, state, and federal government

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): Hannah Kane (R-11th Worcester district)
State Senator(s): Michael O. Moore (D–2nd Worcester district)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James McGovern (DMassachusetts's 2nd congressional district)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)


Shrewsbury High School 01
Shrewsbury High School
Ryken Center, St Johns High School, Shrewsbury MA
St. John's High School

Shrewsbury Public Schools is the public school district in the town. Schools in the district include Shrewsbury High School, two middle schools, four elementary schools, one early childhood school for kindergarten and grade one, and one preschool.[18] Non-public schools in town include Shrewsbury Montessori, a private school offering programs for pre-K through grade 6;[19] St. Mary's School, a Catholic parochial school for pre-K through grade 8;[20] and Saint John’s High School, a private Xaverian Brothers sponsored high school.


1899 Shrewsbury public library Massachusetts
Shrewsbury Public Library, 1899

The Shrewsbury Public Library was established in 1872.[21][22] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Shrewsbury spent 1.4% ($1,164,563) of its budget on its public library — about $34 per town resident.[23] Following the 1978 library expansion project, another expansion was needed. In 2004 and 2010, officials completed research showing inadequate space, poorly maintained roofs and heating/cooling systems, lack of handicap accessibility, and a growing demand for library services. In 2010, a project was proposed that would create a new 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m2) facility for a total of approximately $19 million.[24] The main library closed to enable construction of the new building and opened in temporary accommodation at 214 Lake Street on 26 October 2014. As of June 15, 2016, construction on the expansion project was substantially complete and work on punch list items was ongoing.[25]

The new library celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 21, 2016.[26]

Notable people

Notable businesses


Shrewsbury Common U.S. flag display for Memorial Day
Flag flying over the town common
  1. ^ Barry, William, A History of Framingham, Massachusetts (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1847), 19-20
  2. ^ Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
  3. ^ Narrative supplied by community and based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
  4. ^ According to the United States Census Bureau
  5. ^ "".
  6. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  7. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ Shrewsbury town United States Census Bureau
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Tillinghast, C.B. (1891). The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2010-11-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Retrieved November 10, 2010
  23. ^ July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009, Retrieved August 4, 2010
  24. ^ Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  25. ^ Minutes, Board of Library Trustees meeting, June 15, 2016
  26. ^ Staff, Ken McGagh Daily News. "Shrewsbury Public Library officially opens with ribbon cutting ceremony". Shrewsbury Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-02-08.

External links

Artemas Ward

Artemas Ward (November 26, 1727 – October 28, 1800) was an American major general in the American Revolutionary War and a Congressman from Massachusetts. He was considered an effective political leader, President John Adams describing him as "universally esteemed, beloved and confided in by his army and his country."

Artemas Ward Jr.

Artemas Ward Jr. (January 9, 1762 – October 7, 1847), like his father, Artemas Ward, was a United States Representative from Massachusetts. He served in the Thirteenth Congress and Fourteenth Congress (1813–1817). He was a member of the Federalist Party.

Ebenezer Brigham

Ebenezer Brigham (April 28, 1789 – September 14, 1861) was a 19th-century American pioneer, businessman and politician. He was one of the first Americans to explore southwestern Wisconsin and the first permanent settler in present-day Dane County, Wisconsin. A militia officer during the Black Hawk War, he served as commander of Fort Blue Mounds (or Mound Fort) and was active in both the Wisconsin territorial council, and the Wisconsin State Assembly during the 1840s and 1850s.

General Artemas Ward House

The General Artemas Ward House is a historic house at 786 Main Street in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Commonly known as the "Artemas Ward House", it was the lifelong home of Artemas Ward, American Major General in the American Revolutionary War and a Congressman from Massachusetts. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The house was built by Ward's father, Nahum, in 1727 to house tenants on his farm; Artemas Ward moved into the house in 1763. Its location is along the original Boston Post Road, and an original mile marker of that road is still visible across Main Street on the Dean Park side.

The building was enlarged by the General in 1785, raising the roof and nearly doubling its size, to accommodate the family of his son Thomas Walter Ward alongside his own household. It was enlarged again in 1820 by Thomas Walter Ward, adding a two-story ell to the rear. The main structure was occupied by Ward family members until 1909. From 1909 until 1954 descendants of the general lived in a second structure situated behind the colonial home. The property was donated by the family to Harvard University in 1925.The home is now operated by Harvard as a museum and is open to the public for limited hours during the summer months. The property also includes a four-story barn, the largest structure of its kind in New England. The barn was created by joining together two separate barn structures in 1848.

Gregory Mcdonald

Gregory Mcdonald (February 15, 1937 – September 7, 2008) was an American mystery writer whose most famous character is investigative reporter Irwin Maurice "Fletch" Fletcher.

Two of the Fletch books earned Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America: Fletch was named Best First Novel in 1975, and Confess, Fletch won for Best Paperback Original in 1977. This is the only time a novel and its sequel won back-to-back Edgars. Mcdonald would go on to write seven more Fletch novels, including the prequels Fletch Won and Fletch Too. The original book became a 1985 movie of the same name starring Chevy Chase.

Jack Barry (baseball)

John Joseph "Jack" Barry (April 26, 1887 – April 23, 1961) was an American shortstop, second baseman, and manager in Major League Baseball, and later a college baseball coach. From 1908 through 1919, Barry played for the Philadelphia Athletics (1908–15) and Boston Red Sox (1915–19).

Jesse Lauriston Livermore

Jesse Lauriston Livermore (July 26, 1877 – November 28, 1940) was an American investor.

Karyn Polito

Karyn Polito (born November 11, 1966) is an American attorney, businesswoman, and politician currently serving as the 72nd Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A Republican, Polito was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing the Eleventh Worcester District from 2001 to 2011. Polito was first elected Lieutenant Governor in 2014 as the running mate of Charlie Baker. She and Baker were re-elected to their respective posts in 2018.

Kenneth S. Apfel

Kenneth S. "Ken" Apfel (born October 12, 1948) was the 13th Commissioner of Social Security in the United States, filling a four-year term of office that ran from 1997 through 2001.

Lake Quinsigamond

Lake Quinsigamond (also Long Pond) is a body of water situated between the city of Worcester and the town of Shrewsbury in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. It is 4 miles (6 km) long, between 50 and 85 feet (15 and 26 m) deep, and has a surface area of approximately 772 acres (3.1 km²). Lake Quinsigamond hosts 8 islands with the majority owned by private citizens. Two islands are connected to land via bridge. The largest island, Drake Island, is still state owned. Water from the lake empties into the Quinsigamond River in the Blackstone Valley.

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia (; born June 20, 1978) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer and writer. He is a frequent contributor to This American Life and The Moth, and has released several comedy albums and television specials. His feature-length directorial debut Sleepwalk with Me (2012), based on his one-man show of the same name and in which he also starred, won awards at the Sundance and Nantucket film festivals. He also wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy-drama Don't Think Twice (2016). His 2010 book Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Birbiglia has appeared in films such as Your Sister's Sister (2011), Cedar Rapids (2011), and Trainwreck (2015), played a recurring role in Orange Is the New Black, and has guest starred in episodes of Girls, Inside Amy Schumer, and Broad City.

Nahum Parker

Nahum Parker (March 4, 1760 – November 12, 1839) was a United States Senator from New Hampshire.

Parker was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary War he served in the Continental Army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He settled in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire in 1786, was a member of the board of selectmen from 1790 to 1794 and clerk and town treasurer from 1792 to 1815.

Parker was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1794 to 1804 and in 1806-1807; in 1804 and 1805 he was a member of the Governor's council. He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the U.S. Senate and served from March 4, 1807, to June 1, 1810, when he resigned.

From 1807 to 1813, Parker was a justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Cheshire and Sullivan Counties. He was associate justice of the western circuit from 1813 to 1816 and a judge of the court of sessions of Cheshire County in 1821 and of the court of common pleas of Hillsborough County in 1822. He was a member of the New Hampshire Senate and its president in 1828.

Parker died in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire in 1839, aged 79, and was interred in the Town Cemetery.

Pete Perreault

Pete Perreault (March 1, 1939 – December 8, 2001) was an American football guard who played nine seasons of professional football. He played for the American Football League's New York Jets from 1963 through 1967, for the AFL's Cincinnati Bengals in 1968, then returned to the Jets in 1969. He also played for the National Football League's Jets in 1970 and the Minnesota Vikings in 1971.

Peter W. Perrault was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He attended Shrewsbury High School, Cheshire Academy and Boston University. He was inducted into the Shrewsbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, and is remembered in the Peter Perreault Student/Athlete Of The Year Scholarship Award, presented each year since 2003.

Peter I. Blute

Peter I. Blute (born January 28, 1956) is a former American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He served two terms, between January 3, 1993 and January 3, 1997, representing the Third District of Massachusetts. Blute and colleague Peter G. Torkildsen remain the last Republicans elected to serve in the United States House delegation from Massachusetts.

Shrewsbury High School (Massachusetts)

Shrewsbury High School is a public high school located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, USA. It is the only public high school in the Shrewsbury Public Schools district.

It is a large school offering a wide variety of electives and extracurricular activities.

Shrewsbury High School placed 27th in the list of 21,035 high schools that U.S News reviewed in 2013.

The current principal is Todd Bazydlo. Shrewsbury High School is part of Shrewsbury Public Schools, the current superintendent of which is Dr. Joseph Sawyer.

Shrewsbury Historic District (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts)

The Shrewsbury Historic District encompasses the historic early center of the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. It consists of the town common, laid out in 1721 at what are now Main and Prospect Streets, and buildings adjacent or nearby. The district was declared locally in 1972, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

St. John's High School (Massachusetts)

Saint John's High School is a private Catholic boys' high school located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. The school was founded and is currently sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.

White City (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts)

White City was an amusement park located in Shrewsbury, a suburb of Worcester, Massachusetts. It bordered Lake Quinsigamond and ran from 1905 to 1960.

Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research

The Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (WFBR) was a non-profit biomedical research institute based in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

Places adjacent to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Climate data for Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F 64 70 83 90 97 96 96 98 96 86 78 69 98
Average high °F 33 36 44 55 68 76 81 79 71 61 50 38 58
Average low °F 15 17 26 37 48 57 63 61 52 40 32 22 39
Record low °F −26 −15 −6 13 28 34 42 36 28 18 9 −10 −26
Average precipitation inches 4.20 3.48 4.27 4.36 3.94 3.93 3.80 4.26 4.11 4.33 4.46 3.99 49.13
Record high °C 18 21 28 32 36 36 36 37 36 30 26 21 37
Average high °C 1 2 7 13 20 24 27 26 22 16 10 3 14
Average low °C −9 −8 −3 3 9 14 17 16 11 4 0 −6 4
Record low °C −32 −26 −21 −11 −2 1 6 2 −2 −8 −13 −23 −32
Average precipitation mm 107 88 108 111 100 100 97 108 104 110 113 101 1,247
Municipalities and communities of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
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