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Northbridge #56: Central MA’s Best Communities

Monday, June 25, 2012



Northbridge's rank in our Central MA's Best Communities study is #56.

A town made up of distinct villages: Linwood, Northbridge, Riverdale, Rockdale and Whitinsville, Northbridge is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.  

Originally a mill town, served by the Blackstone and Mumford Rivers, Northbridge was part of the first industrialized areas in the United States.  Today, Northbridge has repurposed its mills into housing and commercial business space, and the town is actively recruiting bio-tech and green energy companies to strengthen its commercial tax base.  

Northbridge's highest rank is for economic condition (#34), but its arts and culture ranking has the town tied for last place.  All other ranks are in the middle third of Central Mass.  


One of the many mills that have been repurposed in Northbridge

Northbridge by the numbers

Established: 1772
Population: 15,707
Median household income: $68,016
Median housing price: $207,500

2012 Best Communities rankings
Overall ranking: 56
Affordability ranking: 44
Education ranking: 48
Economic condition ranking: 33
Safety ranking: 47
Arts & Culture ranking: 65


History in a nutshell:

Northbridge had many connections to American democracy and development. Colonel Samuel Spring was a Revolutionary War Chaplain for the militias of Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr under battles such as the Siege of Boston and the Invasion of Canada. Also President Millard Fillmore's mother was a Northbridge native. Besides those patriotic connections, Northbridge existed as a mill town, focusing on the manufacturing of textiles during the Industrial Revolution. It is home to the Whitin Machine Works. The company began in 1831, and nicknamed the "The Shop," became the largest producer of textile spindles worldwide. Reaming for 133 years, the factory fueled the industrialization of the village.

Famous residents:  

Samuel Spring, Revolutionary War chaplain
Phil Vandersea, Green Bay Packers player
Ezra Benson, Mormon pioneer
Lou Lucier, MLB player
Glenn Adams, MLB player
Steve Spagnuolo, New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator

Notable residents source: Wikipedia 
Additional reporting by Grace Fenton


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