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Athol #61: Central MA’s Best Communities

Monday, June 25, 2012



Athol comes in at #61 in GoLocalWorcester's analysis of Best Communities.

Celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, Athol is gathering the community together with monthly pancake breakfasts and a weekend of celebrations in July. The town is also home to the 9 hole Ellinwood Golf Course and Tully River, a local fishing spot, making it a great place to live and play.  This north Central Mass town's largest employer is the L.S. Starrett Company, which was founded in 1881

Athol comes in second for affordability, and ranks in the top 20 for its restaurants. The town ranks 68th for educational achievement and 63rd for safety.

Athol by the numbers

Established: 1762
Population: 11,584
Median household income: $47,099
Median housing price: $77,000

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: #61
Affordability ranking: #2
Education ranking: #68
Economic condition ranking: #60
Safety ranking: #63
Arts & Culture ranking: #21

History in a nutshell:

Athol, meaning "pleasant place" was originally called Pequoiag when it was settled in September of 1735. Its name change came in 1762 when the township was incorporated. Agriculture and hunting dominated the residents' life until industry began to develop in the late 1780s. Grist and saw mills, fueled by water power, remained small, serving only the local community until the Athol Cotton Factory was built in 1811. From then on, Athol became more connected to the surrounding towns, developing its industry through trade and the expansion of railroad lines. In 1881, the native L.S. Starrett Company dubbed Athol the "Tool Town" because of the industry grew to center around this tooling company. 

Famous residents:  

Dave Bargeron, Musician
Jimmy Barrett, Baseball Center Fielder
Philip Bezanson, Composter
Daniel Francis Feehan, Bishop
Gregory Gibson, Author
Lysander Spooder, Abolitionist, writer and anarchist
Charles Starrett, Actor
Charles Sweetser, Author and journalist
Ginery Twichell, Railroad president and congressman

Famous residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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