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Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°04′38″N 71°37′48″W / 42.07722°N 71.63000°W / 42.07722; -71.63000
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Congregational Church and Civil War Memorial
Congregational Church and Civil War Memorial
Flag of Uxbridge
Official seal of Uxbridge
"Cradle of the Industrial Revolution" "Heart of The Blackstone Valley" "A Crossroads Village"
"Weaving a Tapestry of Early America" “President George Washington really did sleep here”
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°04′38″N 71°37′48″W / 42.07722°N 71.63000°W / 42.07722; -71.63000
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Chair, Board of SelectmenBrian Butler
 • Vice Chair-Clerk, Board of SelectmenJeff Shaw
 • SelectmenStephen Mandile, John Wise, Peter Demers
 • Total30.4 sq mi (78.7 km2)
 • Land29.5 sq mi (76.5 km2)
 • Water0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
270 ft (82 m)
 • Total14,162
 • Density480.1/sq mi (185.1/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code508 / 774
FIPS code25-71620
GNIS feature ID0618387

Uxbridge is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States, first colonized in 1662 and incorporated in 1727. It was originally part of the town of Mendon, and named for the Earl of Uxbridge. The town is located 36 mi (58 km) southwest of Boston[1] and 15 mi (24 km) south-southeast of Worcester, at the midpoint of the Blackstone Valley National Historic Park. The historical society notes that Uxbridge is the "Heart of The Blackstone Valley" and is also known as "the Cradle of the Industrial Revolution".[2] Uxbridge was a prominent Textile center in the American Industrial Revolution. Two Quakers served as national leaders in the American anti-slavery movement. Uxbridge "weaves a tapestry of early America".[3]

Indigenous Nipmuc people near "Wacentug" or “Waentug” (river bend), deeded land to 17th-century settlers. Uxbridge reportedly granted rights to America's first colonial woman voter, Lydia Taft, and approved Massachusetts first women jurors. The first hospital for mental illness in America was reportedly established here.[4][5] Deborah Sampson posed as an Uxbridge soldier, and fought in the American Revolution. A 140-year legacy of manufacturing military uniforms and clothing began with 1820 power looms. Uxbridge became famous for woolen cashmeres. "Uxbridge Blue", was the first US Air Force Dress Uniform.[6] BJ's Wholesale Club distribution warehouse is a major employer today.

Uxbridge had a population of 14,162 at the 2020 United States Census.[7]



Colonial era, Revolution, Quakers, and abolition


John Eliot started Nipmuc Praying Indian villages.[8][9][10] Several praying Indian towns included Waentug (or Wacentug) and “Rice City” (later settled as Mendon.) “Great John”, sold Squimshepauk plantation to settlers in September of 1663,[11] "for 24 pound Ster".[11][12][13] Mendon began in 1667, and burned in King Phillips War. Nipmuck joined the native uprising, and many died. Western Mendon became Uxbridge in 1727, and Farnum House held the first town meeting.[14] John Adams’ uncle, Nathan Webb, was the first called minister of the colony's first new Congregational church in the Great Awakening.[15] The American Taft family origins are intertwined with Uxbridge and Mendon. Lydia Taft reportedly voted in the 1756 town meeting, considered as a first for colonial women.[16]

Seth and Joseph Read and Simeon Wheelock joined Committees of Correspondence.[17] Baxter Hall was a Minuteman drummer.[18] Seth Read fought at Bunker Hill. Washington stopped at Reed's tavern, en route to command the Continental Army.[19][20] Samuel Spring was one of the first chaplains of the American Revolution.[21] Deborah Sampson enlisted as "Robert Shurtlieff of Uxbridge".[22] Shays' Rebellion also began here, and Governor John Hancock quelled Uxbridge riots.[23][24] Simeon Wheelock died protecting the Springfield Armory.[25] Seth Reed was instrumental in adding "E pluribus unum" to U.S. coins.[26][27][28] Washington slept here on his Inaugural tour while traveling the Middle Post Road.[29][30]

Jacob Aldrich House; Quaker style house

Quakers including Richard Mowry migrated here from Smithfield, Rhode Island, and built mills, railroads, houses, tools and Conestoga wagon wheels.[25][31][32] Southwick's store housed the Social and Instructive Library. Friends Meetinghouse, next to Moses Farnum's farm, had prominent abolitionists Abby Kelley Foster and Effingham Capron as members.[33][34][35][36] Capron led the 450 member local anti-slavery society. Brister Pierce, formerly a slave in Uxbridge, was a signer of an 1835 petition to Congress demanding abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia.[37] Local influences from the First and Second Great Awakenings can be seen with the early Congregational and Quaker traditions.

Early transportation, education, public health and safety


The Tafts built the Middle Post Road's Blackstone River bridge in 1709.[38] "Teamsters" drove horse "team" freight wagons on the Worcester-Providence stage route. The Blackstone Canal brought horse-drawn barges to Providence through Uxbridge for overnight stops.[11][39][40] The "crossroads village" was a junction on the Underground Railroad.[41] The P&W Railroad ended canal traffic in 1848.

A 1732 vote "set up a school for ye town of Uxbridge".[11] A grammar school was followed by 13 one-room district school houses, built for $2000 in 1797. Uxbridge Academy (1818) became a prestigious New England prep school.

Uxbridge voted against the smallpox vaccine.[16] Samuel Willard treated smallpox victims,[42] was a forerunner of modern psychiatry, and ran the first hospital for mental illness in America.[4][5] Vital records recorded many infant deaths,[19] the smallpox death of Selectman Joseph Richardson, "Quincy", "dysentary", and tuberculosis deaths.[19][25] Leonard White recorded a malaria outbreak here in 1896 that led to[43] firsts in the control of malaria as a mosquito-borne infection.[43] Uxbridge led Massachusetts in robberies for a quarter of the year in 1922, and the town voted to hire its first nighttime police patrolman.[44]

Industrial era: 19th century to late 20th century


Bog iron and three iron forges marked the colonial era, with the inception of large-scale industries beginning around 1775.[45] Examples of this development can be seen in the work of Richard Mowry, who built and marketed equipment to manufacture woolen, linen, or cotton cloth,[3][46] and gristmills, sawmills, distilleries, and large industries.[8] Daniel Day built the first woolen mill in 1809.[11][16] By 1855, 560 local workers made 2,500,000 yards (2,300,000 m) of cloth (14,204 miles (22,859 km)).[45][8] Uxbridge reached a peak of over twenty different industrial mills.[8][25] A small silver vein at Scadden, in southwest Uxbridge, led to unsuccessful commercial mining in the 1830s.[47]

Charles Capron House. The Capron family was prominent in the Industrial era at Uxbridge Center where Capron Mill is located.

Innovations included power looms, vertical integration of wool to clothing, cashmere wool-synthetic blends, "wash and wear", yarn spinning techniques, and latch hook kits. Villages included mills, shops, worker housing, and farms. Wm. Arnold's Ironstone cotton mill, later made Kentucky Blue Jeans,[25] and Seth Read's gristmill, later housed Bay State Arms. Hecla and Wheelockville housed American Woolen, Waucantuck Mill, Hilena Lowell's shoe factory, and Draper Corporation. Daniel Day, Jerry Wheelock, and Luke Taft used water-powered mills. Moses Taft's (Central Woolen) operated continuously making Civil War cloth.[25][48]

North Uxbridge housed Clapp's 1810 cotton mill, Chandler Taft's and Richard Sayles' Rivulet Mill, the granite quarry, and Rogerson's village. Crown and Eagle Mill was "a masterpiece of early industrial architecture".[49] Blanchard's granite quarry provided curb stones to New York City, the Statue of Liberty and regional public works projects.[8][25][50] Peter Rawson Taft's grandson, William Howard Taft, visited Samuel Taft House.[51]

John Sr., Effingham and John W. Capron's mill pioneered US satinets and woolen power looms.[8][11][45][52] Charles A. Root, Edward Bachman, and Harold Walter expanded Bachman-Uxbridge, and exhibited leadership in women's fashion.[53] The company manufactured US Army uniforms for the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the nurse corps, and the first Air Force dress uniforms, dubbed "Uxbridge Blue".[25][54] Time magazine covered Uxbridge Worsted's proposed buyout to be the top US woolen company.[6] The largest plant of one of the largest US yarn companies, Bernat Yarn, was located here from the 1960s to the 1980s. A historic company called Information Services operated from Uxbridge, and managed subscription services for The New Republic, among other publications, in the later 20th century.

Late 20th century to present

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park
Uxbridge fire station

State and national parks developed around mills and rivers were restored.[55] The Great Gatsby (1974) and Oliver's Story (1978) were filmed locally including at Stanley Woolen Mill. The Blackstone Valley National Historic Park[56] contains the 1,000-acre (4.0 km2)Blackstone Canal Heritage State Park,[57] 9 miles (14 km) of the Blackstone River Greenway,[58] the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (which has the interesting SNETT stone chamber south of Lee pond),[59] West Hill Dam, a 567-acre wildlife refuge,[60] parcels of the Metacomet Land Trust,[61] and Cormier Woods. 60 Federalist homes[25] were added to 54 national and 375 state-listed historic sites, including Georgian Elmshade (where War Secretary Alphonso Taft had recounted local family history at a famous reunion).[62][63] Capron's wooden mill survived a 2007 fire at the Bernat Mill.[64] Stanley mill is being restored while Waucantuck Mill was mostly razed. In 2013 multiple fires again affected the town, including a historic bank building and a Quaker home from the early 1800s. See National historic sites.

Five bands of the original indigenous Nipmuck people live in the Worcester County region.

In 2017, a new $9.25 million fire station was completed on Main Street next to Town Hall.[65] Voters approved the 14,365 square-foot station in 2015.[66] The station has five bays to accommodate modern fire trucks, a radio and server room for computer and phone servers.[66] The second floor includes a fitness room, kitchen, and showers for staff.[65] The station is located in the historic district, and was built in consultation with the Uxbridge Historic District Commission.[65] The old post office and fire station were demolished to make room for the new station.[66] Context Architecture was the designer.[67]

The Uxbridge High Spartans won the 2023 Division 7 Superbowl at Gillette Stadium with an undefeated record [68] The Uxbridge High Spartans Field Hockey Team clinched its third consecutive state championship in the 2023 Season.[69]



The town is 30.4 square miles (79 km2), of which 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), or 2.74%, is water. It is situated 39.77 miles (64.00 km) southwest of Boston, 16 miles (26 km) southeast of Worcester, and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Providence. Elevations range from 200 feet (61 m) to 577 feet (176 m) above sea level. It borders Douglas, Mendon, Millville, Northbridge, and Sutton, Massachusetts, plus the Rhode Island towns of Burrillville and North Smithfield.



A USDA hardiness zone 5 continental climate prevails with snowfall extremes from November to April. The highest recorded temperature was 104 F, in July 1975, and the lowest, −25 F in January 1957.[70]

Climate data for Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 37
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 13
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.6
Source: Weather.com[70]


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[71][72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80][81]

The 2010 United States Census[82] population was 13,457, representing a growth rate of 20.6%, with 5,056 households, a density rate of 166.31 units per square mile. 95.7% were White, 1.7% Asian, 0.90% Hispanic, 0.3% African American, and 1.4% other. Population density was 442.66 people/ mile2 (170.77/km2). Per capita income was $24,540, and 4.7% fell below the poverty line. There were 9,959 registered voters in 2010.



High tech, services, distribution, life sciences, hospitality, local government, education and tourism offer local jobs. A 618,000 square feet (57,400 m2) distribution center serves Fortune 500 BJ's Wholesale Club's, northern division. Unemployment was 3.9%, lower than the state average .[83]

Arts and culture


Points of interest




Uxbridge has a Board of Selectmen and town meeting government.[96]

Local government granted the first woman in America the right to vote,[16] nixed a smallpox vaccine in 1775,[16] and defied the Massachusetts Secretary of State by approving women jurors.[97] The 2009 Board of Health made Uxbridge the third community in the US to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies, but later reversed this.[98]

State agencies control county elected offices, and Uxbridge has a District Courthouse but no gaol.

State and federal elected officials




Local schools include the Earl D. Taft Early Learning Center (Pre-K–3), Whitin Intermediate School (4–7), Uxbridge High School (8–12), and Our Lady of the Valley Regional.

Uxbridge is also a member of one of the thirteen towns of the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational School District. Uxbridge students in eighth grade have the opportunity to apply to Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, serving grades 9–12.

The New York Times called Uxbridge education reforms a "little revolution" to meet family needs.[99]







The nearest MBTA Commuter Rail stops are Forge Park/495 on the Franklin/Foxboro Line and Grafton and Worcester on the Framingham/Worcester Line, 15 miles away. The Providence and Worcester Railroad freight line passes through Uxbridge.



Highways in Uxbridge include Route 146,[100] Route 16, Route 122, Route 98 and Route 146A.



TF Green State Airport Warwick-Providence, RI, Worcester Regional Airport, and Boston Logan International Airport have commercial flights. Hopedale Airport, 7.2 miles (11.6 km) away, and Worcester Regional Airport have general aviation. A private air strip, Sky Glen Airport on Quaker Highway, is still listed on FAA sites, though the map location shows it within a dense industrial park, and at its peak of operations, it saw very low traffic.[101]



Tri-River Family Health Center (University of Massachusetts Medical School) offers primary care. Milford Regional, Landmark Medical Center, hospices and long term care are nearby or local.

Notable people


See also



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