everything Northborough
Northborough's Historic Markers

The following are some of Northborough's historic markers. Many are hiding in plain sight, and all commemorate the town's history.

goodnow grave site goodenow memorial

Mary Goodnow grave site, access from Pheasant Hills Property on Main Street.


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henry knox plaque henry knox plaque

Plaque commemorating General Henry Knox's travels through Northborough,
located in front of town office.


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goodnow garrison mile marker

Garrison House,
located on 416 Main Street.

33 Mile Marker (from Boston),
located on 143 East Main Street.


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washington first burial ground

George Washington marker,
front of CVS on Main Street.

First Burial Grounds in Northborough,
located between 360 and
380 Brigham Street.


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revere bell revere bell

Paul Revere Bell, located near Unitarian Church front door


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revere bell revere bell

Paul Revere Bell, located near Unitarian Church front door


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BRIEF HISTORY of the TOWN OF NORTHBOROUGH

 

Taken from the Town of Northborough Official Site Courtesy "Northborough Historical Society"

The Town of Northborough, originally part of the Towns of Marlborough -- then Westborough, was incorporated in 1766 and became a full-fledged town with the right of representation at the Great and General Court of Boston in 1775.

The early churches of Massachusetts, called "meeting houses," were the center of all town activity. Built on land given by Capt. James Eager, Northborough's first Meeting House stood about where the First Congregational Unitarian Church is today, on Church Street. Town meetings were held there, as were church services -- at which attendance was compulsory. The only religion tolerated within the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony was that of the Congregational Church, which, at that time, had strong Calvinist tenets. The church "tithing men" were the legally elected officers of the town, while town ministers were the arbiters of both town and family life. Customarily, they had strong influence in the conduct of the schools, which were not nearly as important to the founding fathers as was the church, and had no formal setup until well after everything else in town was established.

Northborough's open town meeting "grass roots" government now operates under its own home rule charter. The governing body of the town are the five elected members of the town's select board and the town meeting membership of registered voters. In the days of unheated meeting houses, town meetings were often adjourned to the warmth of the famous Post Road stage stop, Monroe's Tavern. This tavern was relocated to the corner of Blake and Pierce streets in 1867 and demolished in the early 2000's. The meeting locale of the select board as well as the "official" offices of the town have moved from the first church to the second church vestry to the Old Town House to the "old" Town Hall (which merited a listing from the National Park Service Department as an Historical Architectural Monument, having the longest roof span of any known French Mansard roof style building) to the "new" Town Hall, which is the old Northborough High School -- built in the early 1930s.

Along the old Boston Post Road, commemorative plaques outline historical events including the place where Mary Goodnow, a young Northborough settler, was scalped by Indians in 1707. Scattered along the tributaries of the Assabet River, numerous mills serve as markers of another kind, commemorating the places where textile manufacturing and other early industry boomed, and then, ebbed and died.

Today, in addition to providing the setting for several working farms, Northborough is also host to a burgeoning research and development-oriented industrial park; however, the town serves primarily as a residential area, rural home to Boston and Worcester commuters.

 
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BIBLIOGRAPHY

This bibliography includes published sources, booklets published by the Northborough Historical Society, and other materials on file at the Northborough Historical Society.


 
Published Sources
Allen, Joseph, Sketches of the Town of Northborough. Worcester: 1826.
Ellis, Robert P., et al. To Celebrate Our Town: The First One Hundred Years of the Northborough Historical Society. Northborough: Northborough Historical Society, 2005.
Houghton, William A. Semi-centennial of the Evangelical Congregational Church and Society in Northborough, Dec.19th, 1882. Clinton, Mass.:1883.
Hudson, Charles. History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: from its first settlement in 1657 to 1861; with a brief sketch of the town of Northborough, agenealogy of the families in Marlborough to 1800, and an account of the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of the town. Boston: T.R. Marvin & son, 1862. Pages 293302 pertain to Northborough.
 
 
Images of America: Northborough. Charleston: Arcadia Press, 2000. Images compiled by Ellen Racine, introductions and captions by Robert P. Ellis.
Kent, Josiah Coleman. Northborough History. Newton, Mass.: Garden City Press, 1921.
Massachusetts Historical Commission. Reconnaissance Survey Report: Northborough. Boston: 1980.
Mullgan, William H., Jr. Northborough During the American Revolution. Northborough: Northborough American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, 1975.
Mullgan, William H., Jr. Northborough: A Town and its People, 1638-1975. Northborough: Northborough American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, 1981.
Small, Cora. History of the Northborough Free Library. Westborough, Mass.: Chronotype Printing Company, 1909.
Two Hundredth Anniversary, Town of Northborough, 1766-1966. 1966.
Whitney, Peter. The History of the County of Worcester in the Commonwealth Massachusetts. Worcester, 1793.. Pages 272-280 pertain to Northborough.
Ellis, Robert P. Northborough in the Civil War: Citizen Soldering and Sacrifice. Charleston, S.C.: History Press, Inc. 2007

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Historical Booklets Published by the
Northborough Historical Society
Ellis, Robert P. Northborough Notables: Brief Accounts of Eleven Accomplished Persons. 1997.
Kimball, Alice. Alice Kimball 's Northborough. Compiled by Robert P. Ellis. 1998.
Ellis, Robert P. The Northborough Lyceum: Adult Education in a Nineteenth-Century New England Town. 2001.
Not Quite a Genius: From Nova Scotia to Northborough with Thomas H. Blair. 2003.
"Walking Tour of Downtown Northborough." 1994.
Pease, Charles Stanley. The Indian History of Northborough. 1980 publication of 1907 address.
200th Anniversary, Town of Northborough, 1766-1966. 1966.

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Other Materials on File at the
Northborough Historical Society
Historical articles by Robert P. Ellis, Christine Ellis, and Robert Kennerly contributed to The Hourglass, Northborough Historical Society newsletter, 1996-2007.
Historical articles by Robert P. Ellis contributed to area weekly newspaper, The Record, 2004-2007.
Historical paper s delivered at Northborough Historical Society Meetings.

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Maps
Beers, F. W. Atlas of Worcester County Massachusetts, Map of Northboro (sic) Centre. New York: 1870.
Beers, F. W. Atlas of Worcester County Massachusetts, Map of Northborough & Westborough. New York: 1870.
Northborough Historic Sites Northborough: 1966
Richards Map Co. Atlas of Worcester County. Part of the Town of Northborough . Springfield: 1898.
USGS. Marlboro 7.5 min. quadrangle.
Washington: 1943.
USGS. Marlboro 7.5 min. quadrangle.
Washington: 1953.
USGS. Marlboro 15 min. quadrangle.
Washington: 1898.
USGS. Marlboro 15 min. quadrangle, revision by the Massachusetts Commission on Waterways and Public Lands. Boston: 1917.
USGS. Shrewsbury 7.5 min. quadrangle. Washington: 1943.
USGS. Shrewsbury 7.5 min. quadrangle. Washington: 1953.
Valentine 1830 Map of Northborough. Northborough: Reprinted by the Northborough Historical Society, 1968.
View of Northborough, Massachusetts. 1887.


 
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