Rutland is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,973 at the 2010 census. Rutland is the geographic center of Massachusetts; a tree, the Central Tree, located on Central Tree Road, marks the general spot.
The town of Rutland is a residential mountain town. Rutland's original lands of about were purchased from natives in Natick's Indian Praying Town in 1686. Frontier hostilities delayed settlement, and the land was not divided into lots until 1714 when 45 lots of each were finally distributed. Settlers in Rutland came from older eastern towns, like Boston, Lexington, Concord and Sudbury.
Rutland was incorporated in 1713, and was named after the English county.
First settled in 1719, the town suffered repeated Indian attacks during Dummer's War, with the last death from Indian warfare recorded in 1724. During Dummer's War, on August 13, 1723, Gray Lock raided Northfield, Massachusetts, and four warriors killed two citizens near Northfield. The next day they attacked Joseph Stevens and his four sons in Rutland. Stevens escaped, two boys were killed, and the other two sons were captured.
There were about 1,000 people in the town in 1765 when a disastrous epidemic of dysentery killed 60 children.
The early economy included agriculture and grazing. The first gristmill was built on Mill Brook in 1719, and the town was one of the earliest in the county to establish a subscription library, before 1796. Three small villages grew up around the water-powered mills of the town by 1830, and there was small-scale production of chairs, carriages, and woodenware. A tannery was opened in the 1840s to supply local boot and shoemakers, and palm leaf hats were produced in quantity. The town's fresh air and still-rural environment drew increasing numbers of visitors, and Rutland became a minor recreational and health resort in the 1880s. In 1883, Muschapogue House hotel was built. This development was followed by the building in 1898 of the Massachusetts Hospital for Consumptive and Tubercular Patients, a state prison camp and hospital, as well as the opening of a handful of small private TB sanitoria.