building For more than 100 years, we have been dedicated to the study and preservation of the history of our town of Northborough, Massachusetts.

Welcome to the Northborough Historical Society
  • program Contact the NHS if you are interested.

    Details of open positions HERE
    Interested, contact: Paul

  • Our monthly programs feature a wide variety of excellent speakers on topics of historical interest to our town and our community. These events are open to the public and take place at 7:30 p.m. one Friday each month, September through June. Here are photos from our past meetings and events.
  • Our archive is home to an impressive collection of primary source material concerning the history of the people, the land and the structures of Northborough. Our Curator Ellen Racine can be reached at 508.393.2343 or at Info@NorthboroughHistoricalSociety.org. For historical research, contact Kathleen Pierce at Info@NorthboroughHistoricalSociety.org
  • Our museum houses a variety of displays of historical artifacts and treasures of Northborough and is open to the public from 2-4 p.m. Sundays in May, June, September and October, and by special arrangement.
  • Our building, located at 50 Main Street, is a former Baptist Church and houses a fully-restored 1874 pipe organ.
  • Membership in the Society is open to all, and tax-deductible yearly dues help to defray the cost of our offerings. Single membership are $15; Student and Senior Citizen memberships are $10. Families can join for $35, and Lifetime Memberships are $250. Additional donations are also accepted. Members enjoy our monthly newsletter; free admission to our programs; inclusion in members-only events; and a 10% discount on merchandise at our museum shop. Go to our MEMBERSHIP PAGE for forms and mailing information.

historical society The Northborough Historical Society was founded in 1906 through the efforts of Reverend Josiah C. Kent. Rev. Kent invited a group of townspeople to meet at the Unitarian parsonage on November 6, 1906 to consider the desirability of organizing such a society. Nine men and four women responded favorably to Rev. Kent's plea that "the facts of Northborough history should be collected and thus preserved from oblivion."

Read this article written by Northborough Historical Society's Historian Robert Ellis, published in The Record on May 18, 2006, titled "Historical Society Respectful of Northboro's past."

The Northborough of today was in 1660 part of the sprawling frontier town of Marlborough, a chunk of which broke away as Westborough in 1717. Few people then lived in the bounds of present-day Northborough, but by 1744 there were thirty-seven families here, and Westborough recognized the area as its northern "precinct", entitling it to its own meeting house at the site of the present Unitarian Church near the juncture of Church and Whitney Streets.

Northborough in turn gained its independence in 1766. A patriotic town, Northborough supplied its minutemen to the American Revolution. Anti-slavery sentiment grew in the 1830s; in the following decade the town vigorously protested the annexation of Texas with its concomitant threat of the extension of slavery. A Northborough native, John Davis, cast one of only two votes in the United States Senate against the declaration of the Mexican War in 1846. A large contingent of Northborough men volunteered for action in the Civil War, which resulted in the end of slavery.

Meanwhile Northborough grew as a village of farms and mills on the Assabet River and other streams. The nineteenth century saw the development of manufacturing: farm tools, woolen and cotton cloth, ornamental combs, buttons, bricks, shoes and cameras were among the town's products. The railroad came to Northborough in 1856 and street railway lines in the 1890s.

For many years Northborough retained its largely rural character. As late as 1940 only 2,382 people lived here. In the decades after World War II many people who worked in Worcester, Boston and elsewhere found Northborough a congenial place to live. By the mid-1970s, with Route I-290 crossing town in the north as well as Route 20 (the historic Boston Post Road) in the center and Route 9 in the south, over ten thousand people called Northborough home.

chapinvilleThe Northborough Historical Society, founded in 1906, is dedicated to increasing the appreciation of the town's rich and varied history. Our museum in the former Baptist Church at the corner of Main and School Streets (open, free to the public, on Sunday afternoons in spring and fall) boasts a fine collection of objects of Northborough art and history. Our archive, with its thousands of documents and pictures, is available to researchers.

We sponsor monthly programs and various educational outreach activities. Meetings are usually held on the fourth Friday evening of the month. Typical programs have included "A Video Tour of the White Cliffs" (once the summer home of the millionaire firearms manufacturer Daniel Wesson); "Northborough Artists Past and Present", and "New England History and Tradition Through Song". Another benefit of membership is the Hourglass, the monthly newsletter of the Historical Society. For more information about the Society and membership please call 508.393.6298. Whether interested in joining or not, guests are always welcome at the monthly meetings.

PAST PRESIDENTS of the NHS from 1906 to the PRESENT
1906-1909:  Gilman B. Howe
1909-1921:  George A. Brigham
1921-1924:  Dr. Josiah M. Stanley
1924-1925:  Clarence E. Buckley
1925-1932:  Rev. C. J. Staples
1932-1934:  Rev. James S. Clark
1934-1940:  William Haskell
1940-1941:  Rev. Ralph E. Kyper
1941-1952:  Alice Kimball
1952-1955:  Edith Valentine
1955-1956:  Alice Manley Irwin
1956-1958:  Patricia Proctor MacFarland
1958-1960:  David H. Benton
1960-1962:  Walter M. Carlson
1962-1964:  Frederick Wakefield
1964-1966:  Arthur S. Bostock
1966-1968:  Waldo Bemis
1968-1970:  Howard Newcomb
1970-1972:  David MacFarland
1972-1974:  Herbert Yankee
1974-1976:  Donald Cookson
1976-1978:  Genevieve Earle
1978-1979:  Position vacant
1979-1980:  Howard Newcomb
1980-1982:  Robert Kennerly
1982-1984:  Ernest Racine
1984-1986:  Brian Smith
1986-1988:  George Hamilton
1988-1990:  Joanna Gott
1990-1992:  Donna Smith
1992-1993:  George Hamilton
1993-1995:  Ernest Racine
1995-1997:  Jane Fletcher
1997-1999:  Forest Lyford
1999-2001:  Walter Jones
2001-2003:  Paul Derosier
2003-2005:  Arlene Marshall
2005-2007:  Hilary Wilson
2007-2009:  Jane Fletcher
2009-2011:  Jim Halpin
2011-2013:  Kevin Carroll
2013-2015:  Paul Derosier
2015-2017:  Mark Bashour
President: Robert Marchetta
Vice President: Ken Bennet
Secretary: Hilary Wilson
Treasurer: Frank Bissett
Membership Secretary: Norm Corbin
Director: Jane Fletcher
Director: Helen Calverley
Director: Jenifer Bakkala
Director: Ted Rollins
Director: Vacant
Director: Vacant
Museum Trustees Chairman: Cindy Atwood
Property Committee Chairman: Paul Derosier

Northborough Historical Society Bylaws (updated in 2017) PDF format