Northbridge is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,707 at the 2010 census. The Northbridge Town Hall is located at 7 Main Street in Whitinsville. The town is now a part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, of the National Park Service. Northbridge claims to history include: Native American Nipmuc lands, Colonel John Spring, who led the Uxbridge militia training company in the American Revolution, Samuel Spring, Revolutionary War Chaplain, the Residence of Ezra T. Benson 1830-1832, the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore's mother, Phoebe, and home to the Whitin Machine Works from 1831 to 1964
The earliest residents were the Nipmuc, or "Small Pond People". They had a well-developed agriculture, made tools, and had a graphite mine at Sturbridge. Northbridge was first settled by Europeans in 1704 and was officially incorporated on July 14, 1772. The town was once part of Mendon, from 1667 to 1726, and part of Uxbridge, from 1727 to 1772. Colonel John Spring, who had agitated for the new town of Northbridge, and later reversed his position, led a company of men in the Massachusetts Militia in the Revolution. Dozens of local men fought at the Lexington alarm, and at Bunker Hill. Samuel Spring, John's son, became a Revolutionary War Chaplain commissioned in the militia at the Siege of Boston, and who also served in the Invasion of Canada (1775) under Colonel Benedict Arnold. Samuel carried Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr, his Princeton classmate, off of separate battlefields. Colonel Seth Read and his brother, Colonel Joseph Read owned more than half of the land in this town at the time of the American Revolutionary War. They both fought in the Massachusetts Militia, and the Continental Army. The mother of President Millard Fillmore, Phoebe Millard (Fillmore), was born in Northbridge. Ezra Taft Benson, Sr., a famous Mormon pioneer, lived here from 1830 to 1832 on his sisters farm. He married Pamela Andrus, of Northbridge, and also apparently her sister, Adeline Brooks Andrus. He then married six more times and served as a missionary to the Sandwich Islands, and in the Utah Territorial Legislature.
Manufacturing and Mill Villages
This suburban community near Worcester has a rich manufacturing heritage. The Blackstone and Mumford Rivers run through the Town and in the early 19th century numerous industrial developments were erected along the riverbanks, most notably the Whitin Machine Shop in Whitinsville, at its peak the largest manufacturer of textile machines in the world. The textile machine company and industrial village was written up as one of the Harvard studies of history in business. Northbridge stands as a testament to the success of mill villages throughout the 19th and 20th centuries when production was expanding so greatly that immigrant labor from Canada, the Netherlands and Armenia was imported. Now, these mills stand, mostly renovated into housing and various businesses along the Blackstone River. Home of Lookout Rock through which the bike trails pass and which overlooks the meandering River below, this picturesque Valley community's outskirts are filled with horse farms and rural settings. Today most of the mill buildings are no longer used to full capacity, however, they do offer valuable incubator space to small businesses. Further, most of the Town's architecture developed during the 19th century has been preserved and serves as a view into the past.
National Heritage Corridor
Northbridge is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission and is actively working with its neighboring communities to promote the region's special character and sense of history. The Blackstone River Valley was the first industrialized region in the United States. Northbridge has a number of valley sites designated by the National Park service. The Reservoir of the West Hill Dam flood control project and recreation area also lies within the town limits of Northbridge.