Welcome to the Northborough 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.
The 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
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
Museum Trustees Chairman: Cindy Atwood
Property Committee Chairman: Paul Derosier