Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Shrewsbury is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Shrewsbury, unlike surrounding towns like Grafton, Millbury, Westborough, and Northborough, did not become a mill town or farming village; most of its 19th-century growth was due to its proximity to Worcester and visitors to Lake Quinsigamond. The population was 35,644 according to the 2010 US Census, in nearly 12,400 households.

Town of Shrewsbury
Homestead of General Artemas Ward

Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°17′45″N 71°42′48″W
CountryUnited States
  TypeRepresentative town meeting
Kevin Mizikar
  Board of
James Kane
Maurice DePalo
Moira Miller
John Lebeaux
Beth Casavant
  Total21.7 sq mi (56.1 km2)
  Land20.7 sq mi (53.7 km2)
  Water0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
668 ft (204 m)
  Density1,526.3/sq mi (589.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code69-60165
GNIS feature ID0619489

Incorporated in 1727, the town is governed now under the New England representative town meeting system, headed by the Town Manager and five-member elected Board of Selectmen whose duties include licensing, appointing various administrative positions, and calling a town meeting of citizens annually or whenever the need arises.


The Town of Shrewsbury, named for Shrewsbury, England, is a suburban community with an uneven and hilly terrain cut by a number of minor streams providing several small water power sites. Grants of land were made in what would eventually be the town beginning in 1664, with the 3,200-acre (13 km2) grant called Haynes Farm as the largest. In 1664 Native American leader, Peter Jethro, and other Nipmuc Indians deeded land around Lake Quinsigamond to settlers in the area.[1] Settlers came primarily from Sudbury and Marlborough, and the first permanent settler was Gersham Wheelock in 1720. As a town, Shrewsbury was first settled in 1722 and officially incorporated in 1727.

Townspeople created an agricultural economy with apple orchards, and by 1750, there were two stores and four taverns as well as several small industries in operation. The rapid fall of prices for agricultural goods, the shortage of hard currency, and the general economic depression following the Revolutionary War produced disastrous conditions for colonists. Shays' Rebellion in 1786 sought to close the courts to prevent debt collections and the foreclosure of mortgages. Shrewsbury became a staging area for the rebellion and the encampment of the more than 400 insurgents, before the march on the Worcester Court House.

A leather industry began in 1786 in Shrewsbury, and town farmers developed large cattle herds to support the manufacture of boots and shoes. This was followed by the establishment of gunsmithing operations in 1797, which produced rifles, shotguns and pistols and eventually cutlery. Luther Goddard began in 1809 by making brass clocks and then established a small watch factory employing a few skilled Swiss and English watchmakers. Lumbering created sawmills, and they in turn drew chair and cabinet makers, plow and wagon builders.

The development of streetcar routes in the 19th century propelled the growth of single-family housing in town. A summer resort population on Lake Quinsigamond became consumers of the market garden produce grown by town farmers. As Shrewsbury's industry was killed by the lack of large waterpower sites and the tardy arrival of the railroad, its role as a suburb of Worcester grew more important. The town's population doubled from 1915 to 1940 as continued streetcar suburb growth brought more modern settlers into the community. Other modern developments included an increased number of lakeside cottages, ethnic clubs and recreational areas on the lake. The economy of modern Shrewsbury has been described as depending on agriculture, the resort industry and the providing of recreation and food for the population of Worcester.[2][3]

Registered Historic Places

Shrewsbury is home to three current and one former Nationally Registered Historic Places:


Shrewsbury is a suburb of Worcester, about 45 minutes from Boston and 10 minutes to downtown Worcester.

The town has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56 km2), of which, 20.7 square miles (54 km2) of it is land and 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2) of it (4.25%) is water.[4]


Climate data for Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F 64 70 83 90 97 96 96 98 96 86 78 69 98
Average high °F 33 36 44 55 68 76 81 79 71 61 50 38 58
Average low °F 15 17 26 37 48 57 63 61 52 40 32 22 39
Record low °F −26 −15 −6 13 28 34 42 36 28 18 9 −10 −26
Average precipitation inches 4.20 3.48 4.27 4.36 3.94 3.93 3.80 4.26 4.11 4.33 4.46 3.99 49.13
Record high °C 18 21 28 32 36 36 36 37 36 30 26 21 37
Average high °C 1 2 7 13 20 24 27 26 22 16 10 3 14
Average low °C −9 −8 −3 3 9 14 17 16 11 4 0 −6 4
Record low °C −32 −26 −21 −11 −2 1 6 2 −2 −8 −13 −23 −32
Average precipitation mm 107 88 108 111 100 100 97 108 104 110 113 101 1,247


Historical population

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

By the 2010 census, the population had reached 35,608.

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 35,608 people, the racial makeup of the town was 77.3% White, 2.0% African American, 0.08% Native American, 15.3% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.

As of the 2000 Census there were 12,366 households, out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. Of all households 25.3% were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54, and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.6% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $109,000, and the median income for a family was $124,000 (as of the 2010 census[17]). Males had a median income of $56,259 versus $37,129 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,570. About 3.3% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Town government

Shrewsbury is governed in the traditional New England style. Municipal elections are held on the first Tuesday in May.

Legislative Branch: Representative Town Meeting: 240 elected members.

Executive Branch: Five-member Board of Selectmen with three-year staggered terms, an appointed Town Manager, and other elected and appointed positions.

  • Christopher Mehne
Board of Selectmen
  • Maurice M. DePalo - Chairman (2020)
  • Beth Casavant (2020)
  • John I. Lebeaux (2019)
  • James F Kane (2020)
  • John R. Samia (2020)
  • Valerie B. Clemney - Admin Asst
School Committee
  • Sandra Fryc - Chair
  • Lynsey Heffernan
  • B. Dale Magee M.D.
  • Jason Palitsch
  • Jon Wensky
Commission on Disabilities
  • Diane L. Burns, Chair - Term expires June 30, 2021
  • Leonora Ryan - Term expires June 30, 2021
  • Anna Connors - Term Expires June 30, 2021
  • Margaret Mulcahey - Term Expires June 30, 2022
  • Beth Shea Bryant - Term Expires June 30, 2020
  • Deborah Deldotto - Term Expires June 30, 2020
Appointed officials (selected)


Various other boards, committees, and commissions round out the variety of services provided to residents, including water, health, fire, ambulance, police, education, recreation, etc.

County, state, and federal government

County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): Hannah Kane (R—11th Worcester district)
State Senator(s): Michael O. Moore (D—2nd Worcester district)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James McGovern (DMassachusetts's 2nd congressional district)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)


Shrewsbury Public Schools is the public school district in the town. Schools in the district include Shrewsbury High School, two middle schools, four elementary schools, one early childhood school for kindergarten and grade one, and one preschool. These schools are Beal Early Childhood Center (preschool to 1rst grade), Floral Street School (grades 1-4), Spring Street School (grades 1-4), Walter J. Paton Elementary School (grades 2-4), Calvin Coolidge Elementary School (grades 1-4), Sherwood Middle School (grades 5-6), Oak Middle School (grades 7-8), and the Shrewsbury High School.

Non-public schools in town include Shrewsbury Montessori, a private school offering programs for pre-K through grade 6;[19] St. Mary's School, a Catholic parochial school for pre-K through grade 8;[20] and Saint John’s High School, a private Xaverian Brothers sponsored high school. [21]


The Shrewsbury Public Library was established in 1872.[22][23] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Shrewsbury spent 1.4% ($1,164,563) of its budget on its public library — about $34 per town resident.[24] Following the 1978 library expansion project, another expansion was needed. In 2004 and 2010, officials completed research showing inadequate space, poorly maintained roofs and heating/cooling systems, lack of handicap accessibility, and a growing demand for library services. In 2010, a project was proposed that would create a new 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m2) facility for a total of approximately $19 million.[25] The main library closed to enable construction of the new building and opened in temporary accommodation at 214 Lake Street on 26 October 2014. As of June 15, 2016, construction on the expansion project was substantially complete and work on punch list items was ongoing.[26]

The new library celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 21, 2016.[27]

Notable people

Notable businesses


  1. Barry, William, A History of Framingham, Massachusetts (Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1847), 19-20
  2. Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
  3. Narrative supplied by community and based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
  4. According to the United States Census Bureau
  5. "".
  6. "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  7. "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. "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.
  9. "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.
  10. "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.
  11. "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.
  12. "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.
  13. "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.
  14. "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.
  15. "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. Shrewsbury town United States Census Bureau
  18. "Town Officials". Town of Shrewsbury. Archived from the original on 2012-05-13.
  22. Tillinghast, C.B. (1891). The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2010-11-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved November 10, 2010
  24. July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009, Retrieved August 4, 2010
  25. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  26. Minutes, Board of Library Trustees meeting, June 15, 2016
  27. Staff, Ken McGagh Daily News. "Shrewsbury Public Library officially opens with ribbon cutting ceremony". Shrewsbury Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  29. Burtons Grill
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