Early in its 250 year history Northborough presented a varied environment. The town's rich soils supported family farms while its location on the Assabet River encouraged water powered manufacturing.
Positioned on the main thoroughfares from Boston to points west, it supported transportation of agricultural products, manufactured goods, and even military armaments. The growing population's needs were met by local shopkeepers, doctors, and bankers.
Primarily viewed as a residential community, Northborough today is enhanced by a vibrant mix of commercial establishments. Excellent fruit and vegetable farms, though fewer in number, are highly visible. The saw and textile mills, comb and button factories have been replaced with businesses that address modern needs. With a surging population, shops have been replaced by stores of growing size and number.
The major roads that cross the town enable active warehouse and shipping operations that carry freight along the same basic routes that were once used by oxen. While much has changed in fairly dramatic fashion, one can still see threads of the past as we enter our 2016 Sestercentennial.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Ellen Racine, Curator of the Northborough Historical Society for the past nineteen years, is a long-time resident of Northborough. Her past research projects, using original source materials relating to local nineteenth century businesses and everyday life, have resulted in many of the society's educational programs and reference files. She has a background in Graphic Arts and is a graduate of the New England School of Art and Design in Boston. Her interests include painting, photography, museum displays and an appreciation of the society's pipe organ. She is co-author with Robert P. Ellis of Images of America Northborough (2000).