Northborough, Massachusetts is a town located in Worcester County. It is one of 3 “borough” towns that was carved out of neighboring Marlborough, the others being Westborough and Southborough. It is also bordered by Berlin, Boylston, and Shrewsbury.
The town covers nearly 19 square miles and boasts over 14,000 residents. Northborough was historically an agricultural area, with some mills for manufacturing as was the case in many Massachusetts towns of the time. Today it continues to be home to working farms as well as research and develop firms, but is primarily a residential community.
Northborough enjoys easy access to Route 290, which runs through the town. From here, residents can easily access Worcester to the west and Route 495 to the east. Routes 9 and 20 provide additional access to other local towns and the rest of Massachusetts. Though there is no MBTA stop in the town, there are commuter rail stops in both Westborough and Southborough providing access to Northborough residents.
Northborough was originally part of Marlborough, which was first settled in the 1630s. Marlborough was declared a town in 1660, and was one of seven “Praying Indian” towns in Massachusetts. The land was divided by treaty in 1674, but Native American raids during and following King Philip’s War made settlers distrustful and fearful of the native population.
Northborough was settled as a plantation in 1656, and continued to be a part of Marlborough until 1717 when the land including the town split off to become Westborough. The town itself was formed as a district of Westborough in 1766, and finally was incorporated as its own town in 1775. It later gained land from Marlborough in 1807.
Industry in Northborough has followed a similar pattern to many other parts of Massachusetts. While primarily an agricultural town, saw mills and grist mills popped up along the available waterways. This later gave way to iron and brick manufacturing, followed by cotton and woolen mills. As technology grew, it found a home in Northborough.
Northborough, as a part of Marlborough, was one of many Massachusetts towns subject to raids by the Native Americans throughout the late 1600s and 1700s. Marlborough was attacked in March 1675, and though almost all the settlers were unharmed, the buildings were looted and burned. Troops from nearby Sudbury came to the aid of the town, a favor that was later returned when Sudbury came under attack.
Because of the frequency of such attacks, homes were fortified as garrisons with stockade fences and designated for the protection of multiple families within the area. One such garrison in Northborough is the site of a memorial for Mary Goodnow. While collecting herbs nearby the garrison house, she was overcome with Native American raiders, scalped, and killed. It is thought that her struggle with these attackers allowed another woman to escape and the men to rise to defend the garrison. This memorial is one of many marking the history of Northborough.
Northborough, Massachusetts is a residential town with a proud history of industry and agriculture. Throughout the town you can find historical markers to remember the past, while technological firms and residents carry the town into a bright future.