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Fitchburg #68: Central MA’s Best Communities

Monday, June 25, 2012



Fitchburg is the lowest ranking city in Central Mass, coming in at #68

The third largest city in Massachusetts, Fitchburg is home to nearly a dozen villages and neighborhoods. The city is known for its Victorian architecture, which was built when the mills were thriving.  Crocker Field, which was given to the city’s schoolchildren, is listed as on the National Register of Historic Places. The Fitchburg Art Museum, the Top Fun Aviation Museum and a variety of events at Fitchburg State University all contribute to a rich cultural experience.  The city is the terminus of the Fitchburg branch of the MBTA's commuter rail, giving area residents convenient access to Boston.  

In addition to its 5th place rank for arts and culture, Fitchburg scored 4th for its restaurants. The city’s rank was pulled down by a 69th place score for economic conditions and safety. The city was also ranked 70th for educational achievement.

A look at Fitchburg's downtown in earlier days.

Fitchburg by the numbers

Established: 1764
Population: 40,318
Median household income: $47,019
Median housing price: $138,000

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 68
Affordability ranking: 50
Education ranking: 70
Economic condition ranking: 69
Safety ranking: 69
Arts & Culture ranking: 5

History in a nutshell:

One of Fitchburg's leaders, John Fitch, was kidnapped and taken to Canada by Native Americans 18 years after the city's settlement. The family was returned and the incorporation of the city was named in the family’s honor when it was incorporated in 1764. As a nineteenth century industrial city, Fitchburg was powered by the surrounding waterways to produce machinery, tools, clothing and firearms. The mill town prospered during this era.

Famous residents:  

Michael Beasley, NBA player
Carolyn Brown, Author
James "Nixey" Callahan, MLB pitcher
Bruce Gordon, Actor
Erika Lawler, US National Women's Ice Hockey team member
Art Longsjo, Olympian
Hiram Maxim, Inventor of the first self-powered machine gun

Famous residents source: Wikipedia
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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