Billerica, Massachusetts

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Billerica, Massachusetts
Town
Billerica Public Library
Billerica Public Library
Motto: America's Yankee Doodle Town[1]
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Billerica, Massachusetts is located in USA
Billerica, Massachusetts
Billerica, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°33′30″N 71°16′10″W / 42.55833°N 71.26944°W / 42.55833; -71.26944Coordinates: 42°33′30″N 71°16′10″W / 42.55833°N 71.26944°W / 42.55833; -71.26944
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1652
Incorporated 1655
Government
 • Type Representative town meeting
Area
 • Total 26.4 sq mi (68.3 km2)
 • Land 25.9 sq mi (67.1 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Elevation 250 ft (76 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 40,243
 • Density 1,500/sq mi (590/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01821 (Billerica), 01862 (North Billerica)
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-05805
GNIS feature ID 0618217
Website www.town.billerica.ma.us

Billerica /bɪlˈrɪkə/ is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,243 according to the 2010 census.[2] It borrows its name from the town of Billericay in Essex, England.

History[edit]

In the early 1630s, a Praying Indian village named Shawsheen was at the current site of Billerica.[3]

In 1638, Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop and Lt. Governor Thomas Dudley were granted land along the Concord River in the wilderness which was called Shawshin by the local Native Americans. (Today, Shawshin is commonly spelled Shawsheen; see Shawsheen River.) Most of the settlement was to take place under the supervision of Cambridge; however, financial difficulties in the colony prevented this from taking place, and the issue of settling Shawshin continued to be deferred. Finally, in 1652, roughly a dozen families from Cambridge and Charlestown Village, later Woburn, had begun to occupy Shawshin as well.[4]

Wishing to replace the foreign-sounding Shawshin with a name more familiar, the settlers chose the name Billerica, likely due to the fact that the majority of the families living in the settlement were originally from the town of Billericay in Essex, England. The town was incorporated as Billerica in 1655, on the same day as nearby Chelmsford and Groton. The oldest remaining homestead in the town is the Manning Manse, built in 1696, and later the residence of William Manning (1747–1814), the author of "The Key of Libberty," a critique of Federalist policies. (The unusual spelling of liberty is Manning's own.)[5] Other notable Revolutionary War era residents included Asa Pollard (1735–1775), the first soldier killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and Thomas Ditson (born 1741), who was tarred and feathered by the British in 1775 while on a visit to Boston. The song "Yankee Doodle" supposedly became a term of national pride instead of an insult due to this event.[6] The town now celebrates "Yankee Doodle Weekend" every September.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 26.4 square miles (68 km2), of which 25.9 square miles (67 km2) are land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (1.90%) is water.

Billerica is located 20 miles (32 km) north-northwest of Boston along the Northwest Expressway (Massachusetts) portion of U.S. Route 3, positioning it as the border between the Boston Metro region to the south and the Greater Lowell region to the north. The town is also situated less than 3 miles from the Massachusetts Route 128/Interstate 95 High-Technology belt to the south and less than 2 miles from the Interstate 495 (Massachusetts) outer belt highway to the north.

Billerica has several small neighborhoods that form villages (or sections) of town. Those villages are East Billerica, North Billerica, Nutting Lake, Pinehurst, Rio Vista, River Pines, Riverdale, Riverside, and South Billerica.[7]

Billerica borders the following towns: Chelmsford, Lowell, Tewksbury, Wilmington, Burlington, Bedford, and Carlisle. The border with Lowell is at a point in the middle of the Concord River where Billerica, Chelmsford, Lowell and Tewksbury all meet.

Environment[edit]

The Shawsheen River and Concord River are the two major waterways within the town. Nuttings Lake offers a public beach and other recreational water activities.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,646 —    
1860 1,776 +7.9%
1870 1,833 +3.2%
1880 2,000 +9.1%
1890 2,380 +19.0%
1900 2,775 +16.6%
1910 2,789 +0.5%
1920 3,646 +30.7%
1930 5,880 +61.3%
1940 7,933 +34.9%
1950 11,101 +39.9%
1960 17,867 +60.9%
1970 31,648 +77.1%
1980 36,727 +16.0%
1990 37,609 +2.4%
2000 38,981 +3.6%
2010 40,243 +3.2%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]
Billerica Center

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 38,981 people, 12,919 households, and 10,244 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,505.9 people per square mile (581.3/km²). There were 13,071 housing units at an average density of 504.9 per square mile (194.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.68% White, 1.11% African American, 0.10% Native American, 2.76% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

There were 12,919 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.7% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 34.6% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 103.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.2 males.

As of the 2010 census, the median income for a household in the town was $87,073, and the median income for a family was $95,128. The per capita income for the town was $32,517. About 2.8% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.

Billerica was a contender for CNN Money's "Best Places to Live" in 2009 but did not make the top 100 list for the nation.[19]

Education[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Billerica Public Schools operate primary and secondary schools. The Billerica public school system consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.[20] In addition, the town is home to a regional technical high school. Shawsheen Valley Technical Highschool.[21]

The current[when?] superintendent of public schools is Tim Piwowar.[citation needed]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Ditson Elementary School (Cook Street; Pinehurst)
  • Frederick J. Dutile Elementary School (Treble Cove Road; River Pines)
  • S. G. Hajjar Elementary School (Rogers & Call Streets; North Billerica)
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary School (Kimbrough Road & Carline Drive; East Billerica)
  • Parker Elementary School (River Street; Billerica Village)
  • Eugene C. Vining Elementary School (Lexington Road; Nuttings Lake)

Middle schools[edit]

High school[edit]

Vocational school[edit]

Shawsheen Tech serves Billerica and four of its neighboring towns: Bedford, Burlington, Tewksbury, and Wilmington.

Parochial and private schools[edit]

There are currently no parochial or private schools in the town of Billerica. However, there are several in neighboring towns including:

Catholic schools[edit]

Sports and recreation[edit]

In celebrating Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary, the magazine named Billerica one of the nation's top fifty towns for sports and recreation[22] and the "Sportstown for the Bay State."[23]

  • The Country Club of Billerica, established in 1971, features an 18 hole golf course open to the public.[24]
  • Rangeway Golf on Nashua Road features a driving range and a miniature golf course.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica includes a swimming pool, baseball and softball fields, a football field, tennis courts, and basketball courts.
  • The Trampoline Park on 700 Boston Road, Grand Opening is March 2014, features jumping activities such as 3D Dodgeball, Basketball Dunking Lanes, Kid Zone, Foam Pits, Gymnastics "tumble tracks", rock climbing wall, battle beam which is suspended over a foam pits, and also has a large main court. Altitude Billerica is the first trampoline park in Massachusetts to include a rock climbing wall and a battle beam.

Transportation[edit]

MBTA Commuter Rail provides service from Boston's North Station with the North Billerica station on its Lowell Line. The southern portions of the town are also geographically close to the Wilmington (MBTA station) and the Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn. The Lowell Regional Transit Authority provides bus service in parts of Billerica. Route #3 (South Lowell) services the North Billerica MBTA station and the North Billerica Business Center. Route #13 (Billerica Via Edson) services Boston Road (Route 3A) from North Billerica to Pinehurst. Stops along the way include: The North Billerica MBTA Station, Pollard Street, High Street, Billerica Center and Town Hall, the Billerica Mall, and Towne Plaza, and a shopping center located in Riverdale. Route #14 (Burlington Mall/Lahey Clinic) services Route 3A until Billerica Center where it continues onto Concord Road and the Middlesex Turnpike.

The Middlesex Canal, which flowed through Billerica between 1795 and 1852, was used to transport goods between Lowell and Boston. Because of this key transportation corridor, Billerica earned the moniker "Gateway to Lowell."[citation needed]

In the 1840s, the Boston and Lowell Railroad's main line was built and passed through the town's villages of North Billerica and East Billerica. Stations were built in both locations and North Billerica Station is still an active Commuter Rail Station. Trains stopped taking passengers at East Billerica in 1965 and the station was remodeled and is now a private home.

Economy[edit]

Pan Am Railways headquarters
  • E Ink Corporation, a privately held manufacturer of electrophoretic displays (EPDs) that powers tablets such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, is in the process[when?] of moving its corporate headquarters from Cambridge, MA to a 140,000 square foot facility in Billerica, MA[25]
  • Raytheon Company, a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics, has two large offices in Billerica, MA.[26]
  • EMD Serono, Inc, the US biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group, is undergoing a $75-million expansion of their Billerica facility, naming it the EMD Serono Research & Development Institute.[27]
  • GE Measurement & Control Solutions, a $5 billion energy technology unit of the General Electric Co. recently moved its headquarters to Billerica, MA[28]
  • Cabot Corporation, a $3.3 billion specialty chemicals and performance materials company, has its primary Research and Development facility in Billerica, MA.[29]
  • Avaya Inc, a privately held $8 billion global provider of business communications and collaboration systems, has its New England headquarters in Billerica, MA.[29]
  • L3 Communications, is a $15 billion American company that supplies command and control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C3ISR) systems and products, avionics, ocean products, training devices and services, instrumentation, space, and navigation products. They have a Billerica office on Concord Road.[30]
  • Pan Am Railways, New England's largest railroad, is headquartered in the North Billerica area of Billerica.[31][32]
  • Merck KGaA, a German drug and chemicals company unrelated to Merck & Co., in March 2010 "said it plans to move the headquarters of its US chemicals business to Billerica after its acquisition of life sciences toolmaker Millipore Corp."[33]
  • Pharmalucence, a biotech company which makes drugs for disease diagnosis, "plans to build a 70,000-square-foot plant and corporate headquarters in Billerica."[34]
  • American Science & Engineering, based in Billerica, "said it received a $6.7 million order for its X-ray detection technology that will be used by the US government for counterterrorism missions."[35]
  • Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc., the Billerica based medical imaging company, "sealed a new purchasing deal with Ottawa-based MDS Nordion for a rare imaging isotope, molybdenum-99."[36]
  • SeahorseBioscience, a labware products manufacturer, is also headquartered in the North Billerica area of Billerica.[37]

Government[edit]

Billerica is governed through a representative town meeting. In this system, the town government is made up of a legislative branch and an executive branch.

The town meeting is the legislative branch of the town and comprises approximately 240 meeting members who are elected from the town's 11 precincts and who vote democratically on town business at a bi-weekly town meeting that has two sessions a year. The first session begins in May and runs until business is concluded and the following session begins in October and similarly runs until business is concluded. The town charter states that "All powers of the town shall be vested in the representative town meeting, except as otherwise provided by law or by the charter." The town meeting also elects a moderator to regulate proceedings, decide questions of order and make public declarations of all votes. All town meeting members serve without compesation.

In addition to the town meeting, the town elects a board of five selectmen to serve as the executive head of the town. These selectmen deal with enforcing town laws, granting town licenses and the setting of town policy and are explicitly forbidden from becoming involved with day-to-day administration. To carry out that day-to-day administration the board of selectmen appoints a town manager. Alongside the board of selectmen the town elects the following: a school committee which appoints the superindendent and sets public school regulations, a town clerk to keep all town records and serve as custodian of the town seal, and a planning board which studies and prepares plans cocerning the resources, possibilities and needs of the town.

The town charter also explicitly spells out the formation of a Department of Public Works to manage all utility services in the town.


Billerica is a part of Massachusetts' 6th congressional district.[38]

The Middlesex House of Correction is located off Treble Cove Road. This jail is under the jurisdiction of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office.[39]

Notable residents[edit]

Historic places[edit]

Sister city[edit]

Billerica is a sister city of Billericay, England, United Kingdom United Kingdom.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Meagher, Kathy. "Yankee Doodle: The Man". Billerica Public Library. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Billerica town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Hobson, Archie. Cambridge Gazeteer of the United States and Canada. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) p. 62
  4. ^ Hazen, Henry. History of Billerica. (Boston: A. Williams and Co., 1883) p. 3-15
  5. ^ The Key of Libberty; Shewing the Causes Why a Free Government Has Always Failed, and a Remedy Against It...; With Notes and a Foreword By Samuel Eliot Morison; by William Manning (1922)
  6. ^ The Billerica Colonial Minute Men; The Thomas Ditson story; retrieved on July 10, 2008
  7. ^ Street Atlas of Metro Boston Arrow Publishing Company, 1998.
  8. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  9. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  19. ^ "Best Places to Live 2009". CNN. 
  20. ^ "Billerica Public Schools". Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  21. ^ "Shawsheen Valley Technical High School". Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  22. ^ Community Overview
  23. ^ "Billerica honored as Sports Illustrated Sportstown for Bay State". CNN. 
  24. ^ Country Club of Billerica, MA – Massachusetts Golf Course
  25. ^ "E Ink expansion ready to go in 2013". 
  26. ^ Raytheon operations come to industrial park – Billerica, MA – Billerica Minuteman
  27. ^ "EMD Serono plans to increase Billerica work force as it ups its US headcount – Boston.com". [dead link]
  28. ^ Hot Seat interview with Brian Palmer, chief executive of GE Measurement and Control – Business – The Boston Globe
  29. ^ a b Research & Development – Cabot Corporation
  30. ^ L-3 Communications
  31. ^ Bellerica town, Massachusetts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  32. ^ "Table of Contents Page." Pan Am Railways. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  33. ^ Weisman, Robert (2010-07-09). "Merck will close lab in Kendall Sq". The Boston Globe. 
  34. ^ Laidler, John (2010-07-01). "Biotech firm moving its base to Billerica". The Boston Globe. 
  35. ^ "$6.7m bomb screening deal lifts AS&E". The Boston Globe. 2010-06-29. [dead link]
  36. ^ Lantheus inks purchasing deal with MDS Nordion for rare isotope | MassDevice – Medical Device Industry News
  37. ^ "Company Overview of Seahorse Bioscience, Inc.". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2011 Congressional Districts". Retrieved 9/8/2014. 
  39. ^ [1][dead link]
  40. ^ Gary Disarcina Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com
  41. ^ Tom Glavine Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com
  42. ^ Dean Jenkins NHL Statistics | Hockey-Reference.com
  43. ^ Paul Miller NHL Statistics | Hockey-Reference.com
  44. ^ Birthplace and Home of Asa Pollard – Billerica, MA – Massachusetts Historical Markers on Waymarking.com
  45. ^ [2][dead link]
  46. ^ "First Man Slain At Bunker Hill". Boston Daily Globe. 1904-06-19. 
  47. ^ The Dispatch - Google News Archive Search

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]