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Hardwick #33: Central MA’s Best Communities

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Hardwick, and its villages: Gilbertville, Wheelwright and Old Furnace, has a long history of farming and manufacturing.  Manufacturing first came to Hardwick with saw and grist mills in the early 1800s.  Hardwick still maintains its agricultural roots to this day.  The Hardwick Community Fair is the oldest in the United States. Running since 1762, the fair continues to this day, carrying the tradition of competition and education for home and farm products.

Students from Hardwick attend Hardwick Elementary School and the Quabbin Regional Middle/High School.

Hardwick ranks 6th for arts and culture, but many of its other rankings are in the bottom third of Central Mass.  The town ranks 65th for restaurants, 53rd for affordability and 50th for economic condition.

Photo courtesy of Richard B. Johnson

Hardwick by the numbers

Established: 1739
Population: 2,990
Median household income: $57,866
Median housing price: $203,000

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 33
Affordability ranking: 53
Education ranking: 26
Economic condition ranking: 50
Safety ranking: 32
Arts & Culture ranking: 6
Restaurant ranking: 65

History in a nutshell:

Hardwick, settled in 1737 and incorporated two years later, was home to agriculture, textile and paper mills. Beginning in 1762, the United States' oldest annual fair--the Hardwick Fair. The town was predominately agrarian and experience industrial growth from the 1800s until the 1930s. From then on the town returned back to its agricultural roots.

Famous residents:  

Jack McCarthy, MLB player 

Notable residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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