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Douglas, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°03′15″N 71°44′24″W / 42.05417°N 71.74000°W / 42.05417; -71.74000
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Douglas, Massachusetts
Second Congregational Church
Second Congregational Church
Flag of Douglas, Massachusetts
Official seal of Douglas, Massachusetts
D-town, The Big D
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°03′15″N 71°44′24″W / 42.05417°N 71.74000°W / 42.05417; -71.74000
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total37.7 sq mi (97.7 km2)
 • Land36.4 sq mi (94.2 km2)
 • Water1.3 sq mi (3.5 km2)
582 ft (177 m)
 • Total768
 • Density20/sq mi (7.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code508 / 774
FIPS code25-17300
GNIS feature ID0619479

Douglas is a town in southern Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,983 at the 2020 census.[1] It includes the Douglas State Forest, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).


Jenckes Store as it appeared in the 1800s

The name of Douglas was first given to the territory of the town in the year 1646. New Sherborn or "New Sherborn Grant" had previously been its designation, since its first occupancy by the English settlers which was as early as 1715. The first English settlers came primarily from Sherborn, although many hailed from Natick as well. New Sherburn was removed from Suffolk County to Worcester County at its formation on April 2, 1731. The name Douglas was given in 1746, when Dr. William Douglass,[2] an eminent physician of Boston, in consideration of the privilege of naming the township offered the inhabitants the sum of $500.00 as a fund for the establishment of free schools together with a tract of 30 acres (12 ha) of land with a dwelling house and barn thereon. It is said that there were subsequent pledges made by Dr. Douglas in the form of a bell for the Center School and 50 sterling pounds for seven years to support the ministry but quite a portion of these pledges were not received by the Town.

Douglas State Forest

Douglas's forests gave rise to a woodcutting industry and the Douglas axe company.[3] A woolen manufacturing company, on the Mumford River in East Douglas, in recent times held by the Schuster family, has been prominent in the history of this community. General Lafayette, of France, stopped here during the Revolutionary War, to change horses, on his way to Boston to join General Washington. Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

From a very early period reaching beyond 1635, bands of Native Americans, principally the Nipmuc tribe, dominated this region of Worcester County. The Blackstone River was once called the Nipmuc River. Most of Douglas is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.[3]

The underlying geology consists of rocks rich in quartz, feldspar, and mica. Boulders are plentifully scattered all over town, and gold and silver ores are said to be found in some localities. Large quantities of building and ornamental stone are quarried from the granite ledges found in the center of town which is shipped to almost every section of New England.[4]

In 1946, as part of the town's tricentennial anniversary celebration and to welcome home for the troops returning from World War II, Winfield A. Schuster arranged an exhibition game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees that was played at the local ballpark known as Soldiers Field on September 26. The game had an estimated attendance of 12,000 and was won by the Yankees, 8-7.[5][6]

Police Chief Patrick Foley of Douglas was elected Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), at the annual convention in Denver, Colorado, in 2009.[7]

In December 2017, Lt. Nick L. Miglionico was sworn in as the new Chief Of Police, replacing longtime Chief Patrick Foley, who retired and took a position as Chief of Police in Williston, Vermont. Chief Miglionico has been with the Douglas Police Department since January 1997.

A common misconception in Douglas is with regard to the New England Trunkline Trail. Many believe that railroad tracks were laid here for commuting from northern Connecticut to northern Massachusetts. In fact, they were used to haul ice from Wallum Lake as interstate commerce. Today, one can hike these trails through Massachusetts and Connecticut. The New England Trunkline was originally planned as a railroad, but the financier died in the sinking of the Titanic.[8]

The E. N. Jenckes Store Museum[edit]

Reenactors of Malma & Helen during Oktoberfest

The E.N. Jenckes store and museum sits on Main Street in the village of East Douglas.[3] Ebenezer Balkcom opened a small store at the corner of Main and Pleasant (now Depot) streets during the 1830s, when East Douglas was becoming the economic center of the town. The store changed hands (sold to Gardner Chase) until he retired and sold the building to Edward L. Jenckes. After Jenckes' death in 1924, his daughters E. Mialma and Helen R. continued to run the store until the store closed in 1964. The store remained closed until 1972, when the property was donated to the Douglas Historical Society, where it was carefully restored to its original general store appearance of 100 years ago.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.7 square miles (98 km2), of which 36.4 square miles (94 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), or 3.57%, is water. It includes the Douglas State Forest and is home to Wallum Lake and Whitins Reservoir.

The principal elevations are Bald Hill, 711 feet (217 m), Wallum Pond Hill, 778 feet (237 m), Mount Ashworth, 713 feet (218 m), and Mount Daniel, 735 feet (224 m). There are numerous ponds in Douglas: Wallum Pond in the southwestern section, covering approximately 150 acres (61 ha); Badluck Pond in the western part of town, covering about 110 acres (45 ha); the largest pond is Whitin Reservoir, also in the western part of town, covering about 400 acres (160 ha); and Manchaug Pond in the northern part, about 93 acres (38 ha).


Douglas High School

Douglas has four public schools for children grades preschool through twelfth grade to attend.[10] Douglas Primary School enrolls 230 students (2016–2017) in grades preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade.[10] Douglas Elementary School enrolls 404 students (2016–2017) in second grade through fifth grade.[10] Douglas Middle School enrolls 360 students (2016–2017) in sixth through eighth grade.[11] Douglas High School enrolls 394 students (2016–2017) in ninth through twelfth grade.[10]

Douglas is also a member of the thirteen towns that make up Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School[12] which provides educational opportunities for students grades 9–12 seeking experience and education in a specific career field.

Douglas High School athletics compete as part of the Dual Valley Conference league with Blackstone-Millville Regional High School, Hopedale High School, Nipmuc Regional High School, Sutton High School, and Whitinsville Christian High School.[13]



Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
Old Town Common

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 7,045 people, 2,476 households, and 1,936 families residing in the town. The population density was 193.7 inhabitants per square mile (74.8/km2). There were 2,588 housing units at an average density of 71.2 per square mile (27.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.48% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population. From 2000 to 2010 there was a population increase of 20.24%.

There were 2,476 households, out of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 29.6% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 36.4% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $60,529, and the median income for a family was $67,210. Males had a median income of $45,893 versus $31,287 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,036. About 2.3% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.


The town has an open town meeting form of government. The government broadcasts many of its meetings on the Apple TV platform[26] as well as internet and local cable TV. State, Federal and county level elected state officials are shown in the infobox.

State government
State Representative(s): Joseph D. McKenna (R)
State Senator(s): Ryan Fattman (R)
Governor's Councilor(s): Paul DePalo (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Jim McGovern (D-2nd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Douglas town, Worcester County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 108.
  3. ^ a b c "Plan your visit/valley sites/Douglas, Northbridge, Sutton". National Park Service. Retrieved December 26, 2007.
  4. ^ Emerson, William A. (1879). History of the Town of Douglas, (Massachusetts), From the Earliest Period to the Close of 1878. Boston, F.W. Bird. p. 20. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Baseball Memories; Blackstone Valley heritage commemorated. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  6. ^ "Red Sox and Yankees in Douglas". hope1842.com. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  7. ^ "2011 IACP Award Winners". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "Mr Charles Melville Hays". Encyclopedia Titanica. January 19, 1997. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  9. ^ "The E. N. Jenckes Store Museum". Douglas Historical Society. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d "Enrollment Data (2013-14) - Douglas (00770000)". profiles.doe.mass.edu. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  11. ^ "About Us". ms.douglasps.net. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  12. ^ "School / About BVT". www.valleytech.k12.ma.us. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Dual Valley Conference
  14. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  15. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  19. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  20. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). 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.
  21. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). 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.
  23. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  24. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2023". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 19, 2024.
  25. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  26. ^ Town of Douglas Apple TV App

External links[edit]