Westborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,272 at the 2010 census, in nearly 6,900 households. Incorporated in 1717, the town is governed now under the New England open town meeting system, headed by a 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.
Before recorded time, the area now known as Westborough was a well-travelled crossroads. As early as 7,000 B.C., prehistoric people in dugout canoes followed the Sudbury and Assabet Rivers to their headwaters in search of quartzite for tools and weapons. During the period from 1200-1600 A.D., seasonal migrations brought Nipmuc Indians to hunt and fish near Cedar Swamp and Lake Hoccomocco. Using Fay Mountain as a landmark, Indians crisscrossed Westborough on well-worn paths: the old Connecticut Path leading west from Massachusetts Bay; the Narragansett Trail leading south, and the trail (along the present Milk Street) leading to Canada.
The early English explorer John Oldham followed these trails through Westborough in 1633, and settlers in search of fertile farmlands followed not long after. By late 1675, a few families had settled near Lake Chauncy, in the "west borough" of Marlborough.
On November 18, 1717, Westborough was incorporated as the hundredth town in Massachusetts, populated by twenty-seven families, including Thomas Rice who had represented Marlborough in the Great and General Court. Soon large farms were carved out, mills built along the Assabet River and Jackstraw Brook, and taverns flourished. Westborough's first minister, Reverend Ebenezer Parkman, shepherded the growing town of colonists through the years toward independence from Great Britain. Forty-six minutemen from Westborough fought under Captain Edmund Brigham in the Revolutionary War.
In 1775, Northborough split off as the "north borough" of Westborough, much as Westborough split off from Marlborough some 58 years before. However, the two towns shared a meetinghouse for some time more.
In 1810 the route from Boston to Worcester was straightened and improved into an official turnpike (the present Route 9), and along its Westborough route, the Wesson Tavern Common, Forbush Tavern and Nathan Fisher's store prospered. The center of commerce shifted downtown in 1824 with the arrival of the steam train through Westborough's center. The railroad brought a new era to the town industry: over the next century, local factories shipped boots and shoes, straw hats, sleighs, textiles, bicycles, and eventually abrasive products, across the nation. Westborough dairies supplied cities with milk and local greenhouses shipped out carnations, while the eight orchards found ready markets for their produce.
Registered Historic Places
Westborough is home to several listings on the National Register of Historic Places: