Transportation culture and recreation miscellaneous

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Worcester County




The Town of Winchendon is an industrial and residential highland community on the upper Millers River. The town is in northern Worcester County on the border of New Hampshire. It was a six-mile square grant allocated in 1735 to 60 veterans and descendants of veterans of the Colonial army's expedition to Canada. The first permanent settlement in town was not until 1752, colonization was slowed by frontier warfare. Originally Winchendon was heavily agricultural but in the early 19th century there was industrial development along the Millers River. Textile manufacturing with spinning machinery was set up in 1816 on the river and the town became so large a producer of shingles that it inherited the nickname of "shingletown". Cotton and wool fabric was manufactured and significant amounts of woodworking were done. The railroad from Ashburnham to Keene, New Hampshire went through Winchendon, providing easy transportation of goods and bringing in immigrants, primarily from Ireland, to work the mill jobs. A family library was begun in town in 1835, a scientific library was started in 1851, and an agricultural library was established in 1865. The entire group of libraries was turned over to the community in 1867. The early decades of the 19th century showed tremendous growth in the town, accelerated by the railroad connections and the development and production of a continuing stream of innovative machinery to cut and shape wood, such as the cylinder saw. By 1875, almost a half million dollars of clothespins, tubs, pails, chairs and barrels was being produced in Winchendon, which had also become a center for the production of woodworking machinery. The creation of the rotary-head cylinder planer, which contributed to the advancement of all woodworking processes, is one of the proud achievements, which took place in Winchendon. In 1852, a flood washed away every bridge and dam on the Millers, River in Winchendon, destroying businesses of all kinds, but by 1855 the town had recovered sufficiently so that 1.6 million yards of cotton sheeting was produced in its mills. Agricultural production included mixed grains, hay and cattle raising. French Canadians joined the Irish immigrants moving into town to take mill jobs and help the B.D. Whitney Machine Company to become a pioneer in the field of direct motor-driven woodworking machinery. In 1911, the firm built the first single planer operated by direct motor drive. Other industries in town in the early 20th century included tanneries, the textile firms and a substantial dairying industry (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)



North central Massachusetts, bordered by Royalston on the west; Fitzwilliam and

Rindge, New Hampshire, on the north; Ashburnham on the east; and Gardner and

Templeton on the south. Winchendon is 16 miles west of Fitchburg, 40 miles east

of Greenfield, 63 miles northwest of Boston, and 199 miles from New York City.

Total Area: 44.07 sq. miles

Land Area: 43.29 sq. miles

Population: 8,805

Density: 203 per sq. mile

(National Climatic Data Center)

(Tully Lake Station)

Normal temperature in January.....18.8°F

Normal temperature in July........69.3°F

Normal annual precipitation.......43.1"

U.S.G.S. Topographical Plates

Winchendon, Ashburnham, Templeton

Regional Planning Agency


Metropolitan Statistical Area
(1993 Definition)



Municipal Offices

Main Number: (978) 297-2766

Telephone Numbers for Public Information

Form of Government

Board of Selectmen

Town Manager

Open Town Meeting

Year Incorporated

As a town: 1764

Registered Voters (Secretary of State 1994)
Number %

Total Registered 4,266

Democrats 998 23.4 %

Republicans 489 11.5 %

Other parties 0 0.0 %

Unenrolled Voters 2,779 65.1 %

Senators and Representatives by City and Town



Home Sales (Banker & Tradesman)-

Town Stats - Free market Statistics

Subsidized Housing Units (DHCD 1998)

DHCD Subsidized Housing Inventory

Subsidized Housing Units: The number of housing units which count toward the municipality's 10% goal for low- and moderate-income housing. It includes both subsidized affordable units and market rate units in certain eligible subsidized developments.

Public Housing Units (DHCD 1999)
Conventional State: 118

Conventional Federal: 126

Rental Assistance (DHCD 1999)

State (MRVP: 5

Federal (Section 8): 35



The principal highway of northern Worcester County, where Winchendon is

located, is State Route 2 which runs across northern Massachusetts. State

Route 140 and Interstate 190 connect the region to Worcester. The

Springfield Terminal Railway line parallels Route 2 and provides access to

the network of intermodal facilities serving central and eastern


Major Highways

Principal highways are State Route 140 and U.S. Route 202.


Freight rail service is available from the Springfield Terminal Railway.

Contact number: (978) 663-1073.


Winchendon is a member of the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority

(MRTA) but does not receive services. Vermont Transit Lines provides

service from points in Vermont, and New Hampshire via Winchendon to

Gardner, Fitchburg, Ft. Devens, Concord, Newton and Boston.


The Fitchburg Municipal Airport, a General Aviation (GA) facility, is

accessible via Route 12. It has 2 asphalt runways 4,511' and 3,502' long.

Instrument approaches available: Non-precision.


Board of Library Commissioners On-line Library Catalog

(American Association of Museums)

Winchendon Historical Society

50 Pleasant Street

(617) 297-0300

Telephone Numbers for Public Information

Recreational Facilities(Recreational sites and activities)

Department of Environmental Management Recreation Section


(Dept. of Public Health 1992)



Long Term Care

Open Arms Nursing Home



Rest Homes

Pleasant View Rest Home


Telephone Numbers for Public Utilities


The Department of Housing and Community Development would like to thank the many government agencies noted as having provided information for the community profiles. In addition to these agencies, the Regional Transit Authorities assisted with the transportation component of the profiles. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of many city and town officials, which enabled us to include information obtainable only at the local level. DHCD would also like to thank the following individuals for providing special help: Leslie A. Kirwan, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Local Services, Department of Revenue; Richard Shibley, Deputy Secretary of State; Bob Beattie of the Department of Public Health; Charles W. Clifford from the Martha's Vineyard Commission; Dennis Coffey of the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction; Donna Fletcher and Christian Jacqz of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs; James Griffin from the MBTA; Karen Loh from Banker & Tradesman; Todd Maio from the Department of Welfare; Geoffrey Morton from the Election Division of the Secretary of State's Office; Stephen R. Muench of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission; Rol Murrow of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Mary Ann Neary and Emmanuelle Fletcher, reference librarians at the State House Library; Jeff Nellhaus from the Department of Education; and George Sanborn, reference librarian at the State Transportation Library.

NOTE: The COMMUNITY PROFILE draws information from a diversity of sources. The main source of information is listed under each section. In some instances comments submitted by the municipality were incorporated to correct and/or enhance the information obtained from the main source. However, no changes were made to those data bases which must be consistent throughout the state. DHCD has made efforts to ensure the accuracy of all data in the COMMUNITY PROFILES, but cannot take responsibility for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained in this document.

Department of Housing and Community Development

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